I received an ARC via Netgalley and enjoyed this book so much.
A summer escape she’ll never forget . . .
Lucia has worked hard as a lawyer in Wales, aiming for a big promotion she hopes will shortly come her way. Finally taking a well-earned break at her grandparents’ house in southern Italy, the sunshine, lemon trees and her nonna’s mouth-watering cooking make her instantly feel at home.
But she’s shocked to learn that her grandfather is retiring from the beloved family pizzeria and will need to sell. Lucia can’t bear the thought of the place changing hands – especially when she discovers her not-quite-ex-husband Giacomo wants to take it over!
Then bad news from home forces Lucia to re-evaluate what she wants from life. Is this her chance to carry on the family tradition and finally follow her dreams?
I enjoyed this book from the very first page and spent many nights staying up too late reading it. The location comes alive and as always the descriptions of food and wine are perfect and make you long to share in the whole pizzeria experience (especially as I’ve eaten out once in almost a year and a half!).
The main characters in this book have their flaws – Lucia is very single-minded and can’t see what’s truly going on around her and her ex, Giacomo, shuts up and retreats when faced with problems instead of stating how he feels. At times this would irritate me, but I think that’s because it was obvious they were meant to be together and I just wanted that happy ever after moment for them to come asap.
The cast of characters were like good friends, especially Nonna and Nonno, and I shall miss reading about them.
This book is the perfect way to escape for a few hours, who can resist a romantic retreat to Italy?
You can pick up your copy now for just 99p ebook onAmazon
I have loved all of Jo Thomas’ books so far. Here are some more of my reviews if you need any persuading to give this author a try.
I received an ARC of The River Between Us via Netgalley. It is due for publication next month – 10th June 2021.
Following the breakdown of her marriage, Theo has bought a tumbledown cottage on the banks of the river Tamar which divides Cornwall and Devon. The peace and tranquillity of Boatman’s Cottage, nestled by the water, is just what she needs to heal.
Yet soon after her arrival, Theo discovers a stash of hidden letters tied with a ribbon, untouched for more than a century. The letters – sent from the battlefields of France during WW1 – tell of a young servant from the nearby manor house, Abbotswood, and his love for a woman he was destined to lose.
As she begins to bring Boatman’s Cottage and its gardens back to life, Theo pieces together a story of star-crossed lovers played out against the river, while finding her own new path to happiness.
The River Between Us beautifully explores the mystery and secrets of a long-forgotten love affair, and will be loved by fans of Kate Morton.
I’ve read a few of Liz Fenwick’s books and enjoy her style of storytelling. I really liked how The River Between Us is split between modern day and goes back to a historical love affair set around the time of WW1. Reading the book it often felt as much a mystery as a romance. Both timelines are captured beautifully on the page. I found myself drawn to the modern day heroine, Theo, and the characters from the past. It was so interesting to unravel the story and see how people and events have some bearing on Theo’s life.
At times it did feel strange that the love element was firmly in the past. However, Theo has plenty going on in her life including a horrible ex and a mystery love affair in her own distant past.
This was a very enjoyable read. I recommend this book to those who’ve enjoyed Liz Fenwick’s unique storytelling style of mixing past and present, and those who love to unravel a mystery or two alongside their romance.
I’m running a twitter opinion poll this week all about the location of novels and if they have an impact on whether you buy / read a book or not.
I’m interested because The Mermaid Hotel Romance Series is set in the fictional seaside town of Lowenporth in England. I’m using a particular county for inspiration, but so far I have avoided mentioning it in the books. It seems like a cliché to use the same locations as so many other novels, but I don’t want to put off readers who expect to know where stories are set. I also wonder if I could be missing out on a market of readers who are drawn to read anything set in a particular county.
This is where you can help me by sharing your opinion in the poll, commenting on this post and sharing this to get as much exposure as possible. Or even email me if you don’t use other forms of social media.
I’d love your help and to know your thoughts. And who knows, maybe your opinion will influence my whole book series.
Thanks for reading and voting.
Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance
Today’s Book Spotlight is for ‘A Distant Summer’ by Deborah Martin – contemporary fiction / women’s fiction.
Published 22 February 2021.
Note from the author
“Writing the book gave me a chance to think back about my childhood growing in Midwest USA. We all have those moments of wondering ‘what would have happened if….’ and that was the starting point for my story. I wanted to look at how reliving those memories can affect us and I also wanted to explore the idea that our perception of our past lives may not be as accurate as we think.”
‘…an evocative account of a woman’s life, from girlhood with all it’s anxieties, hopes and dreams to her adult life and it’s daily challenges. The past discovered through letters is a good device and seamlessly takes us from present day to that ‘distant summer’. Highlighted political and world events act as a back drop to the times. All contribute to an easy but satisfying read.’ Amazon Reviewer
‘A brilliant read. Written so well that you could easily picture the people and the lives they lived…’ Amazon Reviewer
The discovery of letters from a pen pal 50 years ago pushes Elizabeth to review a past which was mostly forgotten. Against the backdrop of the tumultuous year of social unrest and politics in 1968, she was a teenager at risk of being in love with someone she had never met. Her family was in danger from the encroachment of the Vietnam war and its own internal battles. It’s a quiet farming area of Indiana where nothing seems to happen, but an accident causes a rift through the family and Elizabeth’s uncle is expunged from its history by the strict Methodist patriarch, Grandpa Ernest. Now settled in suburban Virginia with her husband and about to become a grandmother, Elizabeth is helping to clear out the family home after her father’s death. Looking back, she is taken over by a restlessness to know whether a life with the boy from the letters would have been a better path than the one she took. She yearns to discover what happened to him and to locate another childhood friend. In her quest to find them, she catches glimpses of an alternative narrative to that distant summer.
The book has just gone live on Reedsy Discovery. Check out this great review of A Distant Summer and don’t forget to upvote it.
‘This is a riveting contemporary fiction that draws you in from the first page through the last.‘– Gail Kaufman Reedsy Reviewer
About the author
Deborah Martin has drawn the setting for her debut novel, A Distant Summer, from her origins in MidWest America. Her recollections of life in a farming community feed into the characters of the story.
She’s an example of how life can take unexpected directions as she surprised herself in living most of her adult life in the UK after moving there to marry an Englishman.
Wanting to write a novel since her teens, she has taken a wandering path through a variety of jobs and hobbies before accomplishing that goal, but now hopes the next book will not take as long.
I was surprised how much I loved this story, though seeing as it’s a Lilac Mills book I should have known it would be good!
George can’t throw anything away. But he’s in danger of throwing away this opportunity to be loved…
George Nightingale is a hoarder with a house full of junk. For years he’s kept it a secret, rarely leaving his house and keeping social interactions to a minimum, but his carefully balanced system is now under threat…
Nessa Millbrook can’t wait to get settled into her new home in quaint, rural Applewell. Everyone in the village is so friendly – except her neighbour, George, who wants nothing to do with her. But Nessa isn’t one to back down from a challenge and she’s determined to win George over.
The years have taught George to shield his heart and trust no one. Yet Nessa keeps reaching out to him – does he have the courage to take a chance, and reach back?
I really enjoyed Waste Not, Want Not in Applewell. It’s refreshing to read a story where the main characters are older and proves love and lust is not just for the young. I wasn’t sure how well a book whose hero is a reclusive hoarder would work, but I was happily surprised by the story and my depth of feelings towards these two lonely people.
Both George and Nessa are well-rounded and believable main characters and their kept me turning the pages. There were plenty of emotional and heart-warming moments and the ending was perfect.
The supporting cast of Applewell village are a friendly bunch and, as this is the first book in the Applewell Village Series, I’m looking forward to many more stories set there. Lilac Mills is right up there as one of my favourite romance authors.
A special mention for Sylvia the cat – she always managed to bring a smile to my face. I do love it when a character has a furry friend.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this advance review copy.
The book is available for pre-order now on Amazon etc. Publication date 6th May 2021.
Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance
I received this book prior to publication via Netgalley and am grateful to have been given the chance to read this immersive summer read. Publication date is set as 13th May 2021.
A warm, sun-baked terrace.
The rustle of verdant green vines.
The sun slowly dipping behind the Umbrian mountains.
And the chink of wine glasses as the first cork of the evening is popped…
Welcome to Italy. A place that holds the answer to Zia-Lucia Costa Chalmers’ many questions. Not least, how she ended up with such a mouthful of a name.
When Zia discovers that her mother wasn’t who she thought she was, she realises the time has come to search out the Italian family she’s never known.
However, as she delves into the secrets of her past, she doesn’t bargain on having to think about her future too. But with local vineyard owner, Piero, living next door, Zia knows she has a serious distraction who may prove difficult to ignore…
This summer, join Zia as she sets out to uncover her past. But can she find the future she’s always dreamed of along the way?
As soon as I started reading about Zia, I got lost in her story and was desperate to unravel the mystery of her past. I gladly followed her journey from Brighton to Italy and rejoiced when she met the delectable Italian, Piero. They were made to be together but scheming ex’s and shady family dealings threaten any future happiness before it can begin.
I loved the setting, the Italian family Zia is desperate to connect with and the sense of place you get in this book. On a grim, grey days in the UK, there is no better place to be than the Umbrian Mountains ‘Under the Italian Sun’.
An immersive romance, with plenty of emotional impact and scorching moments that have little to do with the weather!
This novella is a gripping introduction to the ‘In The End’ trilogy, a non-stop action zombie thriller.
Sixteen-year-old Jordan dreams of excitement, hoping something would happen to make his tiny Cornish village more interesting. During his school holidays, left by himself with nothing but pixelated zombies on the Xbox for company, he wishes for a life where the adventures are real.
Then one morning, he gets more than he planned for when, unexpectedly, a mysterious affliction descends, sending his brother and the rest of the village into a murderous rage. Despite his panic, Jordan finds temporary sanctuary, shutting himself in a cupboard to await rescue. Soon the sirens come, but quickly fall silent and no one arrives, leaving him no option but to fight against his fear or face dying by the hands of the infected villagers.
Once out of hiding, the joy at seeing soldiers with guns soon falls away when he realizes they’re not there to save him but to eliminate the risk of the disease spreading. With a huge new wall erected around the village where he’d grown up, can Jordan conquer his fear that the soldiers are hunting down everyone, not just those that are infected? Can he summon the courage to fend off those who had been his family and friends, those who have lost all sense of being human? Can he get out to the safety of the big wide world before the same fate falls his way?
I really enjoyed this novella. Having read book 1 – In the End, I knew to expect a gripping, action-packed read and I wasn’t disappointed.
Jordan is a resourceful kid, he has to be if he wants to survive. Although he was a bit slow on what was going on, it is entirely realistic – a zombie outbreak would not be the first thought to cross my mind either. I found myself caring for Jordan and willing him to make it to safety along with his young neighbour, Tommy, that he has to help get out of the village before the soldiers catch up with them.
I was surprised by the ending and it made me want to read book 1 again. At least I have books 2 and 3 to carry on with.
The complete trilogy is available now.
I’ve read book one ‘In The End’ and somehow forgotten to review it on my blog. So, firstly here’s the blurb.
When humanity faces an undead nightmare, one man’s party turns into a race to survive.
Logan has always taken things a little too seriously. So when his New Year’s Eve attempt to unwind descends into chaos, he’s the first to realize it’s no joke. After Logan and his friends miss the evacuation transport, he’s given a choice: lead the group to safety or watch all of his friends come back from the dead…
When Logan discovers the military and government have no interest in saving them, making it to sanctuary alive may be their only hope. And after he learns his party of survivors might hold the key to a cure, the fate of humanity rests on his shoulders. But saving his species could mean sacrificing himself…
Can Logan stave off the end of the world or will one wrong decision doom humankind?
In The End is a fast-paced post-apocalyptic zombie thriller. If you like nightmarish settings, reluctant heroes, and action-packed adventures, then you’ll love GJ Stevens’ spine-chilling novel.
Here’s my review as posted on Amazon and goodreads
This is the first zombie book I’ve read and I’m so glad I took a chance on a different genre. I loved the fast pace and short chapters which kept me turning the pages. For the poor characters thrust into this nightmarish situation there is no let up. Even when you think they’re safe to lie down and rest, just for a moment, another shocking twist is waiting around the corner. Be warned, it ends with a cliff hanger and I can’t wait to see what happens next!
I’m looking forward to continuing with the trilogy very soon.
As a newsletter subscriber, I was excited to be able to download a free copy of GJ Stevens new novella Capital Action. More on how you can get your free copy later, first let’s focus on the book.
After two years of clandestine operations, Agent Carrie Harris doesn’t know why she’s been attached to the Metropolitan Police. Could it be, as her superiors say, to hone her skills at breaking down doors and catching bad guys? Or is it to become accustomed to working as a team when she’s been so used to operating alone?
Putting her uncertainties behind her, Carrie leans into her new role, taking pleasure as part of a special task force targeting organised criminals, until during an early morning raid, her colleagues lay dead and dying around her.
After saving those still clinging to life, she can’t do as she’s told and sit around while others hunt down those who gave the order to murder her colleagues. Determined not to let their deaths be in vain, can she rally against those up high who want her to have nothing to do with the investigation? Can she make the right choices to bring justice for her friends when everything, even the people she should trust, seem to conspire against her?
This novella was entertaining from start to finish. It’s a complete story that can be read as a standalone, or at any stage you are reading the agent Carrie Harris series. I think it’s a great introduction to her story, although having read book one (Operation Dawn Wolf) I enjoyed seeing what Carrie is getting up to after finishing her training.
I love books (and films) where they show you a glimpse of the present day and set up the main character in an impossible situation. Then you’re taken back in time to see how it all transpired. Stevens make great use of this and had me turning the pages to find out the who, what and why.
Capital Action is fast-paced and intriguing, with a twist or two along the way that has you wondering who is to blame for the messed up operation that cost so many lives. You can always rely on agent Harris to sniff out the baddie though, and deal some well deserved justice.
A great quick read, perfect for those who love spy thrillers.
If you want to receive this book for free, all you need to do is sign up for GJ Steven’s newsletter. See more details on his website here.
I plan to read at least 20 books in 2021. I’ve already finished off one book from last year, so that’s 19 to go. A review of Sue Moorcroft’s Christmas Wishes will follow soon. Here’s a spoiler though – it’s a 5 star read!
Here is my reading plan so far. There are 550 books on my TBR, so I still have plenty of others to choose from. I am a mood reader, so it will be interesting to see if I stick to this list.
Raven Storm – book 3. I’ve just started this and I’m really enjoying getting back into the Fire Walker series by Emma Miles.
Some of my next fantasy reads will hopefully be…
I like to read a paperback and kindle book at the same time, so the paperback I’m currently reading is another Jo Thomas – A Winter Beneath the Stars. 50 pages in, so far so good.
These are a few more that I want to read very soon.
I still have some non-fiction books I want to read too.
That will do for now…
What are your reading plans for 2021?
Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy