She’s meant to be catching flights, not catching feelings…
Molly and Andrew are just trying to get home to Ireland for the holidays, when a freak snowstorm grounds their flight.
Nothing romantic has ever happened between them: they’re friends and that’s all. But once a year, for the last ten years, Molly has spent seven hours and fifteen minutes sitting next to Andrew on the last flight before Christmas from Chicago to Dublin, drinking terrible airplane wine and catching up on each other’s lives. In spite of all the ways the two friends are different, it’s the holiday tradition neither of them has ever wanted to give up.
Molly isn’t that bothered by Christmas, but—in yet another way they’re total opposites—Andrew is a full-on fanatic for the festive season and she knows how much getting back to Ireland means to him. So, instead of doing the sane thing and just celebrating the holidays together in America, she does the stupid thing. The irrational thing. She vows to get him home. And in time for his mam’s famous Christmas dinner.
The clock is ticking. But Molly always has a plan. And—as long as the highly-specific combination of taxis, planes, boats, and trains all run on time—it can’t possibly go wrong.
What she doesn’t know is that, as the snow falls over the city and over the heads of two friends who are sure they’re not meant to be together, the universe might just have a plan of its own…
A totally gorgeous and escapist friends-to-lovers festive romance with a swoon-worthy hero. Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Mhairi McFarlane, and Christina Lauren.
For ten years, Molly and Andrew have been sitting next to each other on flights home from Chicago to Ireland during the Christmas season. They have an enjoyable 7 hours of laughing, joking, and chatting about their lives as they head to their separate celebrations. It becomes a tradition of its own. However, this year the weather has caused almost all the flights to be canceled. But Andrew is a huge fan of Christmas, and Molly vows to get him home.
This is a fun, witty, and charming story of two friends who fall in love on a whacky adventure from airport to airport over ten years. The characters are engaging and the dialogue is clever. The story flashes back and forth from the present to each of their previous Christmas flights, and we watch their relationship develop. Does this transport me to the Christmas season? It does. From packed airports to Christmas sweaters to many Christmas-tinged side trips on the way to their destination, we follow the couple on a romantic holiday jaunt. This book also truly lives up to its genre of romantic comedy, and I chuckled my way through. The cast of characters is fun and varied, from family members to cabbies to airport employees and more. Holiday romance is a sweet, funny Christmas vacation that you will definitely want to take.
I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Catherine Walsh was born and raised in Ireland. She has a degree in Popular Literature and the only prize she ever won for writing was at the age of 14 in school (but she still cherishes it.)
She lived in London for a few years where she worked in Publishing and the non-profit sector before returning to Dublin where she now lives between the mountains and the sea. When not writing she is trying and failing to not kill her houseplants.
An Autumn Kiss is the seventh book in the Timeless Victorian Collection, a bestselling anthology series from Mirror Press. The book features three novellas from acclaimed historical romance authors whose stories reveal if one kiss will change the lives of the three heroines. “The Plucky Miss Ruth,” by Laura Rollins
Miss Ruth Hughes is certain she’s caught in a time loop—every day she wakes to find it exactly as the one before. A thrilling prospect to be sure. If the many books she reads on time travel has taught her anything, it is that to break free she must complete an all-important task. For Ruth the task is straightforward: reunite a couple, once desperately in love but forced apart by society. Unfortunately, things are not always as easy as they first appear. Struggling, Ruth opens up to the handsome Lord Lambert and he readily agrees to help. With autumn on the brink of turning into winter, time is running out for Ruth to help the ones who need her most. And, with a bit of luck, perhaps she can even find a little time for her own happily ever after. “Mr. Dowling’s Remedy,” by Annette Lyon
Crandall Dowling’s aspirations of becoming a physician collapse when he develops symptoms that land him in an asylum. He’s been at Sherville Retreat long enough for autumn leaves to appear when Beverly Stanton arrives. She’s held under the dubious diagnosis of “hysteria” but seems perfectly sane, unlike Crandall, though his verbal and physical tics don’t seem to scare or even bother her. Beverly and Crandall develop a friendship fueled by an undeniable attraction that under other circumstances could become more. But in an asylum, one cannot plan a future, let alone one of love or marriage. Then tragedy strikes, testing staff and patients beyond anyone’s training. When the dust settles, Beverly’s diagnosis may be reversed, but if she leaves, what will become of her? What of Crandall? And what of their autumn-born love? “A Railway Through the Roses,” by Lisa H. Catmull
Mr. Adrian Everard has tried everything to keep his father’s factory open, but a single solution remains. Marry an heiress before Christmas to fund the desperately needed railway. The local landowner, Lady Anne Baxter, will not agree to sell her garden—or her heart. Indeed, his childhood friend is determined to sabotage all his efforts to find a wife. As the deadline for Adrian to choose a bride draws close, one thing becomes painfully obvious. Saving the factory will mean losing the woman he loves forever.
ABOUT THE SERIES
Since 2015, Mirror Press has been presenting the Timeless Romance Collection, a curated anthology of novellas and short stories featuring bestselling authors from the contemporary and historical romance genres. The collection has hit the USA TODAY bestselling list and charted at #1 at Amazon.com. Learn more about the series and other anthologies published by Mirror Press at their website.
5 STARS – “…a fun collection and each of them have something unique from most of the romances I’ve read. Very enjoyable reading.”— Maria Thomas, Goodreads
“This anthology is truly wonderful. Each story is very distinct from the others, and each is also very compelling. It will keep you reading and wanting more with each page and chapter.”— Shauna Jones, Goodreads
5 STARS “absolutely adored this collection of short stories! I would recommend this collection to anyone who needs an escape for a couple of hours.”— Jzcotter03, Goodreads
This entertaining audiobook shares three Victorian novellas, all with the theme of “an autumn kiss.” Despite a shared theme, they are all very different and entertaining in their own way.
The Plucky Miss Ruth is a light romance with a twist–Ruth is caught in a time loop. Every day is the same, and she must find a way to break the pattern. This romance does not have a lot of twists and turns, but sometimes that is not needed, as the characters are engaging and the romance is sweet. This is great for a light autumn read.
Mr. Dowling’s Remedy by Annette Lyon has an intriguing plot. Beverly Stanton has been committed to an asylum by her stepfather, who had her diagnosed with “hysteria” to get her out of the way. Crandall Dowling has been at Sterling for six months, since he began to exhibit symptoms of what we now know as Tourette’s Syndrome. They strike up a friendship, which they are immediately told is forbidden, for the doctors feel that Crandall is possessed. This was my favorite of the collection, as it examines the inhumane treatment and abuse that patients received at asylums in that era, and the way the “hysteria” diagnosis was used to manipulate women and take their property. It is also the story I would choose to be expanded into a full book.
In A Railway to the Roses by Lisa Catmull, Adrian Everhard needs to fund a railway to keep his father’s factory open, but marriage to a wealthy woman seems to be the only way. His father arranges a house party for Adrian to meet eligible women. Lady Anne Baxter is Adrian’s childhood friend. She is outraged that a railway has been proposed which will run right through her beloved garden, and she refuses to marry any “fortune hunters.” At the same time, she is determined to undermine Adrian’s attempts to marry for money. This is a sweet “friends to romance” story. The characters are engaging and well-written, and I enjoyed the romance and history entwined in the story.
The narration by Kim Bretton is very well done. She takes on three different stories and a plethora of characters and situations with ease.
The cover is absolutely beautiful, and the fall color in the dress is stunning.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from the publishers via Austenprose Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
Laura Rollins has always loved a heart-melting happily ever after. It didn’t matter if the story took place in Regency England, or in a cobbler’s shop, if there was a sweet romance, she would read it.
Life has given her many of her own adventures. Currently she lives in the Rocky Mountains with her best friend, who is also her husband, and their four beautiful children. She still loves to read books and more books; her favorite types of music are classical, Broadway, and country; she loves hiking in the mountains near her home; and she’s been known to debate with her oldest son about whether Infinity is better categorized as a number or an idea.
Annette Lyon is a USA Today bestselling author, a 9-time recipient of Utah’s Best in State medal for fiction (three times for novel-length works and five times for short fiction), and a Whitney Award winner for BAND OF SISTERS. She’s the author of over a dozen novels, at least that many novellas, a cookbook, a popular grammar guide, and over a hundred magazine articles.
She’s a founder and regular contributor of the Timeless Romance Anthologies line of sweet romance stories, which she served as editor for its first three years. She’s also one of the four co-authors of The Newport Ladies Book Club series. She graduated cum laude from BYU with a degree in English.
I write clean and wholesome romances in the Victorian era and sweet contemporary romances. My books have been nominated for Swoony, RONE, and Whitney awards.
I taught Middle School English and History for seven years before pursuing screenwriting and writing. I currently live between a canyon and a lake in Utah with my husband, two cats, and two rambunctious children.
A Bow Street Runner and a debutante in London Society use their skills to find the killer of a wealthy businessman, but the killer’s secrets aren’t the only ones they will uncover.
Caught in the explosion of the Hammersmith Mill in London, Bow Street runner Daniel Swann rushes to help any survivors only to find the mill’s owner dead of an apparent gunshot–but no sign of the killer.
Even though the owner’s daughter, Agatha Montgomery, mourns his death, she may be the only one. It seems there are more than a few people with motive for murder. But Daniel can’t take this investigation slow and steady. Instead, he must dig through all the suspects as quickly as he can because the clock is ticking until his mysterious patronage–and his job as a runner–comes to an abrupt and painful end. It seems to Daniel that, like his earthly father, his heavenly Father has abandoned him. Lady Juliette Thorndike is Agatha’s bosom friend and has the inside knowledge of the wealthy London ton to be invaluable to Daniel. She should be in a perfect position to help with the case. But when her trusted instructor in the art of spy craft orders her to stay out of the investigation, Lady Juliette obeys. That is, until circumstances intervene, and she drops right into the middle of the deadly pursuit.
When a dreadful accident ends in another death on the mill floor, Daniel discovers a connection to his murder case–and to his own secret past. Now he and Juliette are in a race to find the killer before his time runs out.
“An artfully told story that will have you wondering at the outcome until the final pages are read.” —Ruth Logan Herne, USA Today best-selling author
“…a fully satisfying mystery. I can’t wait to read the next one!” —Jocelyn Green, Christy Award–winning author of Drawn by the Current
“I am sure fans of the first book in this series will revel in the deepening relationship between Daniel Swann and Juliette Thorndike.” —Alissa Baxter, author of The Viscount’s Lady Novelist
“Millstone of Doubt captivated me from the first sentence and kept me guessing the entire novel…Erica Vetsch is the master of all things Regency.” —Lorri Dudley, author of The Duke’s Refuge
“5 Stars. Millstone of Doubt is a compelling Regency mystery with plenty of romance. Michelle Griep fans (or any Regency fan in general) will love this novel.”— Jennifer Purcell, ChristianBooks.com
Daniel opened his eyes, his head throbbing. His body felt pulped, as if he’d been trampled by a herd of Highland cattle. Something bit into his cheek as he lay sprawled on the cobbles, and he tasted the coppery tang of blood.
Sprawled on the cobbles? Why was he on the ground? Had he fallen?
His thoughts scattered and fragmented, refusing to organize.
He blinked hard, wincing against the throbbing inside his skull.
Had someone hit him?
Drawing in his arms and planting his palms on the rough stones, he pushed himself away from the ground, pausing on hands and knees to ease the dizziness swirling behind his eyes. To his left, a horse lay on its side, kicking and struggling, tangled in the harness like a fly in a web. The animal’s mouth was open, but no sound came out—or at least no sound that could be heard above the ringing in Daniel’s head. He straightened to his knees and pressed his palms to his temples.
What happened? He tried to draw a deep breath, but dust and smoke choked him, and he gagged, coughing, doing an agony to his head. He staggered to his feet. Rocks and rubble littered the small courtyard.
A man stumbled by, eyes wide, face streaked with blood and dirt.
His head and shoulders were covered with white powder.
Daniel turned a slow circle, unsure of where he was, until his eyes lit on the carriage with the Earl of Thorndike’s crest on the black door.
The mill. The trip to find Mr. Montgomery . . .
Lady Juliette! What had become of her? He swung wildly, looking one direction and then another, but he couldn’t see her anywhere. She had been emerging from the carriage when whatever had happened
. . . happened.
The carriage had slid several yards, dragging the horses backward and to the ground. One would never trot again, and the other continued to thrash. The driver was nowhere to be seen, but the tiger, a youngster of thirteen or fourteen summers, bent at the head of the struggling horse, trying to calm him. As Daniel moved toward the vehicle, the door opened and the viscount’s head and shoulders emerged. His hat was gone, and his cape wrapped around his shoulders as if trying to strangle him.
His eyes were wild. He mouthed something to Daniel, beckoning him before disappearing within once more. Or had he spoken aloud? Daniel’s ears still rang so loudly he heard nothing else. It was as if someone had locked him in a glass room with a banshee. He could see the world around him, but nothing else penetrated his shrieking prison. He glanced toward the end of the street. Yellow flames licked through the gaping doorway of the mill. Every window was an empty eye socket, no glass to be seen. Rock dust filled the air, and men ran past him from the center of the town toward the burning building,
buffeting him in their haste.
Daniel reached the carriage and peered inside. The maid and Miss Montgomery bent over Lady Juliette, who lay on the floor. She must have been knocked back when the mill . . .
That must have been what happened. A mill explosion.
He’d heard of such things, but he’d never been close enough to one to become collateral damage.
Coatsworth sagged into the corner of the coach once more, his limbs lax, staring. Miss Montgomery’s carefully arranged hair now lay in auburn tangles on her neck and cheeks, but she gave all her attention to Lady Juliette.
“Is she injured?” Daniel asked, startled to find he couldn’t even hear his own voice. When Miss Montgomery gave him no heed, he had to assume her ears were ringing as well. He touched her sleeve.
At that moment Lady Juliette jerked, her body stiffening as she came to herself. Her legs stirred, and Daniel realized that far more of her shapely limbs showed than was proper. And something poked beneath her petticoat, affixed to her leg just above the knee. Was that a pistol in a holster? He had no notion what a woman’s underpinnings looked like, but he was certain weaponry wasn’t standard issue. He reached in and tugged her hem down.
The maid blinked, and her mobcap tumbled off her head. She had a red mark on her cheek that would soon blossom into a bruise. They must have been tossed about like pebbles in a jar when the blast hit.
Though Miss Montgomery tried to prevent her, Lady Juliette sat upright. Her pelisse tangled about her arms, and she eased aside the cloth, as if she wasn’t quite sure of her movements.
“Lady Juliette, are you injured?” Daniel asked. He couldn’t gauge how loudly he was talking, but it must have been quite loud, for with a pop, his ears began to work, and the last word all but echoed in the confined space.
With the inrush of sound, he began to understand the chaos going on around them. The horse’s screams, shouting, the crackle of fire, boots on cobbles . . . somewhere a woman or child sobbing.
Lady Juliette pushed her hair out of her eyes and edged toward the door.
He reached for her waist to draw her out of the carriage. She put her hands on his shoulders, and he easily lifted her and set her feet on the ground. Keeping hold of her, he bent to look into her eyes. Was she steady enough to stand alone?
Her hands gripped his shoulders, and his spanned her waist. As she inhaled, he felt the movement of her ribs. Heat rushed into his ears, and his heart tripped. He had never held a woman in such a way. He wanted to draw her close, to put his arms properly around her and protect her, to usher her to safety away from the pandemonium going on around them.
Brazen thoughts for a mere officer of the court to think about the daughter of an earl.
“Thank you.” Her voice sounded quavery, but she stepped back. He let her go, staying close lest she succumb to faintness. With shaking fingers, she loosened her bonnet strings and retrieved her bonnet from where it trailed down her back. Looking around her at the tumult, she let the now-battered straw millinery fall to the street.
“Are you injured?” he asked again. He could see no damage, but he must make certain.
“I do not believe so. Merely shaken.” She gulped in a breath and coughed. Dust sifted from the air, landing on her dark hair and the shoulders of her pelisse. “What happened?” She looked up at him properly for the first time, and her face went pale as milk. She blinked and swayed, and he gripped her again.
“Blood.” The word strangled its way out of her throat. She wavered so much he feared she would collapse, but as he bent to pick her up and place her back in the carriage, she planted her palms on his chest and pushed. “You’re bleeding.” She stared at his mouth, gripping the doorframe of the carriage.
He touched the corner of his lips, and his fingers came away red. He must have cut himself when he fell. Using his cuff, he swiped at the blood. Lady Juliette could not stand the sight of blood, as he remembered from her encounter with ruffians in a London alley mere weeks ago.
“Little harm has been done. I am well, I assure you.” He’d suffered worse wounds shaving.
Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling author and ACFW Carol Award winner and has been a Romantic Times top pick for her previous books. She loves Jesus, history, romance, and watching sports. This transplanted Kansan now makes her home in Rochester, Minnesota.
Colby Mills once felt destined for a musical career, until tragedy grounded his aspirations. Now the head of a small family farm in North Carolina, he spontaneously takes a gig playing at a bar in St. Pete Beach, Florida, seeking a rare break from his duties at home.
But when he meets Morgan Lee, his world is turned upside-down, making him wonder if the responsibilities he has shouldered need to dictate his life forever. The daughter of affluent Chicago doctors, Morgan has graduated from a prestigious college music program with the ambition to move to Nashville and become a star. Romantically and musically, she and Colby complete each other in a way that neither has ever known.
While they are falling headlong in love, Beverly is on a heart-pounding journey of another kind. Fleeing an abusive husband with her six-year-old son, she is trying to piece together a life for them in a small town far off the beaten track. With money running out and danger seemingly around every corner, she makes a desperate decision that will rewrite everything she knows to be true.
In the course of a single unforgettable week, two young people will navigate the exhilarating heights and heartbreak of first love. Hundreds of miles away, Beverly will put her love for her young son to the test. And fate will draw all three people together in a web of life-altering connections . . . forcing each to wonder whether the dream of a better life can ever survive the weight of the past.
I’m really torn on this one. I enjoyed the love story, and I don’t always enjoy love stories. It was written really well, as all of Sparks’ books are. However, it employs a plot device that I absolutely hate and which I personally feel is a copout. Thus I cannot give it more than three stars.
I cannot go into the plot device too much without providing spoilers, but this particular device just ends up making me mad. This has great characters and a great story, but I ultimately felt cheated by that particular tactic. Others may not have a problem with it at all.
If you want to see more about my issue with this book, here is my Goodreads review. On Goodreads, spoilers can be hidden. So, if you wish to go to the review and unhide the spoilers, you will see what I’m talking about.
I received a copy of this book from Random House via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nicholas Sparks is one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. All of his books have been New York Times bestsellers, with over 105 million copies sold worldwide, in more than 50 languages, including over 75 million copies in the United States alone.
Can love blossom after life changes in an instant?
One July morning in Manhattan, handsome athlete and entrepreneur Phoenix Walker accompanies his love, half-Asian beauty Orchid, to the airport.
Neither believes today is goodbye.
But after she leaves, disaster strikes. Phoenix wakes in the hospital, broken, forever changed. He longs for Orchid but remembers the tragedy in her past that makes her panic over images of trauma.
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 leaving her without explaining why?
BOOK DESCRIPTION: Orchid Blooming
Kind and generous, twenty-seven-year-old Orchid Paige will never forget that day. Living as best she can after witnessing her parents’ fatal accident, the beauty industry marketer yearns to win a promotion to China to connect to her mom’s ancestry. But with competition fierce, she despairs she’ll never make the grade… until she meets an encouraging man who makes her feel safe despite her usual distrust.
After Orchid convinces the handsome entrepreneur to let her gain experience at his nonprofit project, she’s determined to keep their relationship professional and ignore their powerful attraction. But when working on his military ad campaign for veterans triggers her own unresolved PTSD, she fears her confident mentor may be too good to be true even if she could trust him with her heart.
Can she conquer her vulnerabilities before she loses her chance at forever?
Orchid Blooming is the captivating first book in the Goodbye, Orchid contemporary fiction series. If you like complex characters overcoming trauma, heart-warming stories, and compassionate connections, then you’ll adore award-winning author Carol Van Den Hende’s emotionally satisfying page-turner.
AWARDS FOR THIS SERIES
ORCHIDBLOOMING HONORS –
■ 2022 International Book Award Finalist: Women’s Fiction and Multicultural Fiction
■ 2022 Beach Book Festival General Fiction Honorable Mention
■ 2022 New York Book Festival General Fiction Honorable Mention
■ 2022 July International Impact Award Multicultural Fiction
■ 2022 Summer Outstanding Creator Awards Grand Prize Honorable Mention; 2nd Place Women’s Fiction, Multicultural, Romance, and Drama; 3rd Place Literary & Contemporary Fiction; Honorable Mention Best Couple
■ 2022 Hollywood Book Festival Honorable Mention General Fiction
Goodbye Orchid Honors-
■2020 American Fiction Award WINNER urban fiction
■2020 Pinnacle Achievement Award WINNER multicultural fiction
■2020 Outstanding Fiction IAN Book Award for Best New Novel 50-80K words
■2020 Royal Dragonfly Award WINNER Cover Design and Special Needs/Disability Awareness
■2020 New York Book Festival General Fiction Honorable Mention
■2020 Best Book Award Finalist: Best New Fiction and Fiction: General
2021 Chanticleer International Book Chatelaine Award 1st Place Winner
■The Write Review Top 2020 Favorite
■In D’Tale Magazine Crowned Heart 5-stars
■Audiobook Reviewer 2020 New Author of the Year
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carol Van Den Hende is an award-winning author who pens stories of resilience and hope. Her novels “Orchid Blooming” and “Goodbye, Orchid” have been awarded more than 20 times, winning the 2020 American Fiction Award for urban fiction, 2020 Pinnacle Achievement Award for multicultural fiction, IAN Outstanding Fiction for Best New Novel, Best Book Finalist, Royal Dragonfly Award, Audiobook Reviewer Author of the Year. Plus, “Goodbye, Orchid” has been named one of the most anticipated fall reads by Buzzfeed, Parade, and Travel+Leisure, one of The Write Review’s Top Books of 2020 and has been featured in Glamour, Bookstr, Frolic, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, DIYMFA, WABC Radio among others. The Pulpwood Queens selected Goodbye Orchid as a 2022 Bonus Book-of-the-Month.
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.
QUESTION FOR THE READERS: The main themes of these contemporary romances are: Orchid Blooming: Dealing with PTSD and Goodbye Orchid: Sacrificing your happiness for the one you love. Have you enjoyed books with these themes in the past?
This is another book that I reviewed for The Historical Novel Society, although I added the second to last paragraph for this blog after publication.
Grace Wentworth’s parents, James and Sarah, share a bond so close that nobody can truly fathom it, not even their daughter. Grace also senses they are keeping a secret that involves her in some way. And then there are her vivid dreams of the past. When Grace goes to visit her grandmother’s farm in Idaho, the mysteries begin to reveal themselves. This is the fifth book in The Loving Husband series. It can be read as a standalone.
This is a fascinating mashup of history, time travel, and the paranormal that will keep you guessing. It starts in present-day California and Idaho and then goes back in time to the Oregon Trail in 1850. There is a strong cast of characters that surrounds Grace in every time and place. The history of the Oregon Trail is well-researched, and the danger, monotony, and sadness of the trail are well portrayed. Magical friends in both timelines help Grace in her search to understand the truth. Secrets are revealed, and the veil between the real and magical worlds becomes thinner than ever. This is a unique and compelling mix of history and the supernatural that will captivate and sometimes surprise the reader.
As always the method of time travel is important, and this book uses an object fairly well. The rules of time travel in this book seem to be governed by love, the paranormal, and “souls connecting across time.” That’s not my favorite trope, but it’s common in time travel romance. My rating is 3.8 stars.
I received a free copy of this book from Copperfield Press via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Meredith Allard is the author of the beloved bestselling paranormal historical Loving Husband Trilogy. Her sweet Victorian romance, When It Rained at Hembry Castle, was named a best historical novel by IndieReader. Her other books include Christmas at Hembry Castle; Down Salem Way, the prequel to the Loving Husband Trilogy set around the Salem Witch Trials; Victory Garden, a novel of the American women’s suffrage movement; Woman of Stones, a novella of Biblical Jerusalem; That You Are Here, a contemporary sweet romance; The Window Dresser and Other Stories; and Painting the Past: A Guide for Writing Historical Fiction. When she isn’t writing she’s teaching writing, and she has taught writing to students ages five to 75. She loves books, cats, and coffee, though not always in that order. Her latest release is The Duchess of Idaho, a time-travel romance set on the Oregon Trail. She lives in the hills of Southern Nevada near Las Vegas. Visit Meredith’s website here.
A snowstorm. A stranger. A spark. It should be the perfect start to the perfect love story.
But real life is far messier and more complicated than in the pages of the books in Megan Taylor’s family bookshop – the last few years have left this young widow in no doubt of that. Moving back home to York should have been a fresh start, but all it did was allow her to retreat from the world.
When prize-winning author Xander Stone rams his supermarket trolley into her ankles and then trashes her taste in books, Megan is abruptly awoken from her self-imposed hibernation. It’s time to start living again, and she’s going to start by putting this arrogant, superior – admittedly sexy – stranger in his place.
Just as she is beginning to enjoy life again, the worst happens and Megan begins to wonder if she should have stayed hidden away. Because it turns out that falling in love again is about more than just meeting under the mistletoe…
Three years after her husband’s death, Megan is still trying to move forward. On top of that, her bookshop is struggling and she’s not sure it’s going to make it. When famous novelist Xander Stone agrees to do a book signing at her shop, she is thrilled. But his rudeness and condescending manner do not bode well for the event. Angered by Xander’s scorn towards romance novels, Megan invites him to her book club and begins to see a different side of Xander Stone.
This is a sometimes light romance that, interestingly enough, pokes fun at some romance tropes while simultaneously introducing many of those tropes into the actual book. There are several nods to Jane Austen and some poignant discussions of the financial plight of bookstores right now. I’m not sure this transports me completely to the Christmas season, as I think most of the book could have taken place at any time of the year and I didn’t completely feel the holiday spirit.
I have some problems with Xander, the most important of which is that he has a pattern throughout the book of suddenly becoming rude and extremely verbally abusive out of the blue, with no warning. It happens more than once, and the explanation for it is not good enough. I also don’t like the name Xander as a shortened form of Alexander. It sounds like a little boy’s name. But considering his behavior and penchant for temper tantrums, maybe it’s fitting.
The other characters are likable and the narrator, Laura Brydon, does a good job differentiating between all the characters and bringing their personalities alive. This takes my rating from two stars to three.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from Saga Egmont Audio. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
NOTE: The first cover is the cover of the audiobook. The second cover is the cover of the Kindle edition. I prefer the audiobook cover. What do you think?
ANOTHER NOTE: I’m annoyed that a book with an abusive main character has 1500 ratings on Amazon and over a 4-star average while much better books struggle for an audience.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel Burton has been making up stories for as long as she can remember and always dreamed of being a writer until life somehow got in the way. After reading for a degree in Classics and another in English Literature she accidentally fell into a career in law, but eventually managed to write her first book on her lunch breaks. She loves words, Shakespeare, tea, The Beatles, dresses with pockets and very tall romantic heroes (not necessarily in that order) and lives with her husband and two cats in Yorkshire. A Bookshop Christmas was a finalist in the RNA Romantic Novel Awards 2022.
We all remember that one magical summer that changed our lives.
For Joe, it’s 1999. School is over, and with zero idea of what he’s meant to do for the rest of his life, he’s reluctantly accepted a job at the local summer camp. Anything to drown out the sharp grief of missing his dad and move on from what school calls his ‘anger problems’. But getting screamed at by hyperactive ten-year-olds is almost enough to make him quit on day one.
Then he sees Amy Ashworth for the very first time, her black hair shining in the sun – and learns that nothing hits harder than first love.
She’s the only person he knows who reads for fun, or who’s seen Titanic fourteen times. But there’s another side to Amy. Soon, she’s the only person he’s ever been to a wild house party with, or kissed under the twinkling stars. It’s the happiest Joe has ever been… until the terrible day when what’s left of his family fractures into a million pieces.
Caught up in Amy’s whirlwind, Joe can’t bring himself to tell the truth about his life. Would his dad have wanted him to fight for the girl he loves, or protect his family, no matter what?
Only one thing is certain: this is the summer Joe will grow up. But when he looks back decades later, will he be ashamed of his choices? And will Amy still be by his side?
Heart-warming, hilarious, nostalgic, and bittersweet, Truly, Madly, Amy explores first loves, last chances, and the summers that shape us. Perfect for fans of David Nicholls, Mike Gayle, and anyone who remembers the carefree days of being just sixteen, when the world was full of possibility.
This is a coming-of-age story about a life-changing summer, when Joe, still reeling from the death of his father, meets Amy at camp and she opens his eyes to new possibilities. It’s also about the whammy of first love. Joe’s struggles to handle his anger and the stress of his family life while also wanting to change his behavior and future are so well written. The relationship between Joe and Amy and the way she opens him up to new possibilities is touching. The fact that they read Little Women together is endearing.
Does Joe give in to his old patterns or reach for something new? Can you become a new person in six weeks? What is growing up all about? This book will explore all of that through a nostalgic trip to the late 1990’s and an unforgettable first love. Do you love coming-of-age romances? Check this one out.
I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kerry Wilkinson is from the English county of Somerset but has spent far too long living in the north. It’s there that he’s picked up possibly made-up regional words like ‘barm’ and ‘ginnel’. He pretends to know what they mean.
He’s also been busy since turning thirty: his Jessica Daniel crime series has sold more than a million copies in the UK; he has written a fantasy-adventure trilogy for young adults; a second crime series featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter and the standalone thriller, Down Among The Dead Men.
Ivy Green is returning home after five years, but only because Hollywood has decided to film her Christmas screenplay in her hometown, and in the middle of summer! Also coming along for the ride is her boyfriend and future live-in Drew, who is the producer. What Ivy doesn’t count on is that her ex-boyfriend Nick, who she killed off in the screenplay, will be involved in the movie too. Not only are some of the scenes being filmed in Nick’s vineyard, but the lead actress seems to have a crush on him.
This sounded like a fun listen–Christmas in the Summer–but there are some things that did not work for me. The main character is 30 years old, but the dialogue and the narrator make her sound as if she’s in high school. The sex scenes are cringeworthy and could have been left out. The point of view sometimes changing to some of the lesser characters was off-putting. The romance between Nick’s mother and the movie set caterer is cute, but when Nick wishes it was just a one-night stand instead of love, that puzzled me. No son wants that for his mother. I felt the whole thing went on a bit long, with the same things happening over and over.
The characterization of the movie as a “career-maker” and a blockbuster did not match the description of the movie itself, which sounded more like a tv movie or Hallmark movie. I did think the ending was stronger than the rest of the book. The narration was acceptable overall. As I mentioned before I felt like Ivy’s voice was more high school than adult. The narration of the rest of the characters was fine. Overall, it’s an average rom-com with a decent ending and a lot of awkward and unnecessary moments in between. The “Christmas in Summer” theme was well conveyed.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from Dreamscape Media via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Juliet Giglio is an associate professor of screenwriting at SUNY Oswego. Keith Giglio is a professor of screenwriting at Syracuse University. Their produced films include most recently Christmas in Tune, Dear Christmas, A Very Nutty Christmas, and Christmas Reservations. Their other credits include Disney’s Tarzan, Pizza My Heart, Return to Halloweentown, Joshua, and A Cinderella Story.
In 1945 Molly Hazleton is heartbroken when her fiancé doesn’t return from the war after being reported “missing in action.” So when Aunt Daphne comes to visit with news of having bought a 17th century manor house at auction in Scotland, Molly welcomes the opportunity to start afresh and help her aunt turn Aberdoch Manor into a hotel.
With a strange sense of déjà vu, Molly struggles to understand her connection with the property having never stepped foot inside of it or even Scotland for that matter. Ross McDaniel, the newly appointed gardener, knows more than he is letting on. And when he shows Molly an ancient yew tree named by the locals as the Ghost Tree, after touching it, Molly discovers a remarkable ability to vividly see and experience her own past life – a life of extreme danger and hardship on the road with the Jacobite in 1745, hunted by the Red Coats for crimes she hasn’t committed. She is also in love with a brave, Scot warrior, leader of the McDaniel clan who soon becomes her husband.
Stirring up forgotten memories and an uncontrollable yearning to be back with those she once loved, Molly is hopelessly torn between very different worlds, two hundred years apart!
This is a really intriguing historical romance set in 1745 during the Jacobite rebellion and in 1945 after World War II. The back and forth between Ella’s life during the Jacobite Uprising and Molly’s life after World War II is well done. The connection between the lives of Ella and Molly is very well done, and the use of a yew tree is brilliant.
I tend to look at this as more of a “past life” romance than a “time travel” romance, which is a good thing, as I have high expectations of time travel novels–my favorite genre–and time travel romances usually don’t hold my interest. However, I was completely captivated by this book. I loved the use of the yew tree to draw Molly into her past life, and I loved all the historical references from the Jacobite uprising in 1745 and post-war Britain in 1945. It was a pleasure to read. Outcast is a well-researched, cleverly plotted, and gorgeously written dual timeline historical romance. I look forward to a sequel.
I received a free copy of this book via Zooloo’s Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Claire Voet is an English author, born in Gosport across the shores of Portsmouth Harbour. Claire started writing in 2010 and has since then written a number of books, including The Ghost of Bluebell Cottage, The Other Daddy A World Away, Captain Hawkes, short story A Helping Hand, Echoes In The Mist and the Outcast series.
Claire demonstrates her love for history and also the supernatural in many of her spellbinding stories.
As a commercial participator for the BBC Children in Need Appeal, Claire donates money from her book sales once a year.