A Bookshop Christmas by Rachel Burton #bookreview #romance #netgalley

Thanks to Netgalley I managed to bag an ARC of A Bookshop Christmas by Rachel Burton ahead of the publication date of 2nd September 2021. I didn’t manage to finish reading in time post on publication day, but here is my review – hopefully it’s better late than never.

Blurb

A snowstorm. A stranger. A spark. And it’s Christmas!
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… 

See it on Goodreads

My Mini Review

A bookshop is the perfect setting for a magical Christmas story.

This heart-warming romance shows that life can eventually carry on after loss. Rachel Burton has taken a very difficult subject, the death of a spose at a young age, and treats it with sensitivity. She shows how it takes time to recover, and can often be overwhelming, but with the right person happiness is possible. This isn’t a sad or maudlin story, but one of hope.

I immediately connected to Megan the main character, and Zander has all the marks of a broody hero with a soft side to him. The challenges they face are believable and entertaining, and I was rooting for their budding relationship to develop despite all the set backs and misunderstandings.

The cast of characters were all well drawn and likeable and I especially liked the book group’s weekly meeting at the book shop and their extravagant plans for the Christmas party. Special shout out to Zander’s dog as featured on the cover.

I do love a bit of Christmas magic, though you can enjoy this story at any time of year.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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My TBR for the rest of 2021 #amreading #tbr #fantasy #romance

Over the last few days I’ve been sharing mini book reviews of the books I’ve read this year. Having already completed my 20 book Goodreads challenge, I want to keep up the reading momentum.

I still have quite a few books I want to read this year and, although I’m a mood reader, I try to stick to a sort of plan when it comes to thinking about what to read next.

So this is my checklist of books to complete by the end of 2021. I love seeing them all set out with their beautiful covers on display rather than just my scribbled list!

I still have a few ARC’s from Netgalley

Fantasy books

Thunderhead is my only audiobook on the list this year.

Romance

Writing How To books

I know this is an ambitious list of 12 books considering there are only 4 months left in 2021, but who knows if I will achieve it. It’s good to try!

What are your reading plans for the rest of the year? Are you on target and do you plan, or just pick whatever you fancy?

If you missed it, here’s the link to my Goodreads challenge post showcasing the books I’ve read so far in 2021.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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#Bookreview The Tanglewood Tea Shop by Lilac Mills #romance #chicklit

A fun and heartwarming read.

Blurb

What happens after your dreams come true?

Patisserie-Chef Stevie is stuck in a rut. Her beloved Great Aunt Peggy has passed away and she’s lost both her job and the love of her life. Then she gets the call from the solicitor’s office about Peggy’s will, and everything changes.

When Stevie sees a quirky tea shop up for sale in the beautiful village of Tanglewood, she decides to take Peggy’s advice and turn her life around.

But the village isn’t as idyllic as it may at first have seemed, and when the gorgeous but grouchy local stable-owner, Nick, shows up he seems like just another fly in the pastry batter…

This laugh-out-loud romantic comedy is perfect for fans of Daisy James and Holly Martin.

My Mini Review

This is the first book by Lilac Mills that I’ve read and I was so glad I did. She weaves a heart-warming and fun story with plenty of characters I found myself caring deeply for, especially the hero and heroine – Nick and Stevie.

I loved the descriptions of the location and of course the food in the tea shop. I also want to give special mentions to the cat, Peggy, who decided to move in with Stevie and the old lady Betty who took Stevie under her wing and had an interesting storyline all of her own.

After reading this I was excited to see more books set in Tanglewood. Naturally, I snapped them up and can’t wait to read them too. Hopefully Stevie and Nick will make the odd appearance in these books as I’d love to catch up with their story.

Last time I checked all three books were only 99p. So now would be a great time to pick them up on Amazon.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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#Bookreview Raven Storm by @EmmaMilesShadow #fantasy #indieaugust #tuesdaybookblog

Raven Storm is book 3 in the Fire Walker series, a series I have loved since the first book Raven Tower.

Blurb

Fear walks with those in power.

Divided, the land of Chem hangs in the balance. In the west the Ravens seek to bring safety to women, and an end to slavery. In the east the remaining covens cling to their power, refusing to give up their way of life to foreign invaders. Across both lands the priests whisper and plot, their gods a shadowy threat hanging over them all.
To protect their young family, Kesta and Jorrun have made their home in the Raven Tower of Elden. Unable to abandon their responsibility or friends, they remain embroiled in the fight to the north. Whilst peace and friendship blossom between the Fulmers, Borrows and Elden, the arrival of strangers turns the court of Taurmaline upside down.

The history of the Fire-walkers is about to catch up with them, and the Fire-spirit’s truth will be revealed.

Check it on Goodreads.

My Mini Review (as previously shared on Goodreads)

I’m so happy I discovered this wonderful fantasy series. The cast of characters continues to grow and I find myself caring about them all. The world building is executed with great skill and I loved the magical battles. The enemies Kesta and Jorrun face are even more deadly than in the previous books and kept me turning the pages desperate to find out what happened next. As always it was full of surprises, I cannot wait to see what happens in book Four!

My Review of Book One – The Raven Tower and Book Two The Raven Coven

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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#Bookreview The Sword of Kaigen by @M_L_Wang #fantasy #indieaugust

An amazing fantasy story that has many familiar tropes from the genre but with new twists you won’t see coming.

Blurb

On a mountainside at the edge of the Kaigenese Empire live the most powerful warriors in the world, superhumans capable of raising the sea and wielding blades of ice. For hundreds of years, the fighters of the Kusanagi Peninsula have held the Empire’s enemies at bay, earning their frozen spit of land the name ‘The Sword of Kaigen.’

Born into Kusanagi’s legendary Matsuda family, fourteen-year-old Mamoru has always known his purpose: to master his family’s fighting techniques and defend his homeland. But when an outsider arrives and pulls back the curtain on Kaigen’s alleged age of peace, Mamoru realizes that he might not have much time to become the fighter he was bred to be. Worse, the empire he was bred to defend may stand on a foundation of lies.

Misaki told herself that she left the passions of her youth behind when she married into the Matsuda house. Determined to be a good housewife and mother, she hid away her sword, along with everything from her days as a fighter in a faraway country. But with her growing son asking questions about the outside world, the threat of an impending invasion looming across the sea, and her frigid husband grating on her nerves, Misaki finds the fighter in her clawing its way back to the surface.

When the winds of war reach their peninsula, will the Matsuda family have the strength to defend their empire? Or will they tear each other apart before the true enemies even reach their shores?

A rich elemental magic system and deep world-building make this martial fantasy perfect for fans of R.F. Kuang, Brandon Sanderson, Leigh Bardugo, and Lian Hearn.

My Mini Review

I loved this book. It may have taken me quite a few pages to really get into the story, but once I was in, there was no going back. The story is relentless. It tore my heart out but I couldn’t stop reading.

I loved the different feel this book had. The mix of fantasy in an Asian inspired world with modern day technology was so well done. The action was intense, the emotions it inspired were heart-wrenching, and the world building and magic systems were both immersive and awe-inspiring! I might even go so far as to say this book is a masterpiece in the fantasy genre.

Although a standalone, I feel the author has left the world open for more stories and I really hope they pick up this world again.

Check it out on Amazon for only 99p at the moment! Worth every penny.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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A Home in the Sun by Sue Moorcroft #romance #bookreview #Netgalley

I received a copy of A Home in the Sun through Netgalley and I have to say you can’t go wrong with a Sue Moorcroft book!

Blurb

A gorgeous summer read about new beginnings from the Sunday Times bestseller.

Home is where the heart is…but what if your heart is broken?

When Judith loses her partner, she loses her life in Malta too – including the beautiful view from her sun-warmed balcony of the sparkling blue waters of Sliema Creek.

Back in England, Judith finds a spare room in her sister’s house where she grew up – but with it comes a whole host of family dramas.

Nursing a broken heart, Judith knows she must find happiness again – and rebuild her life on her own terms. Could an island in the sun be the answer she is looking for?

My mini review

I was quickly hooked by this wonderful romance and loved the characters.
A Home in the Sun was a down to earth, emotional read, but in no way depressing. I enjoyed every moment of the world Sue Moorcroft created. She is one of my go to authors if I want an absorbing story that touches the heartstrings and won’t let you go until you’ve read the last page.
A top romance author and a top romance book!

Check it out on Amazon

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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I’ve completed my Goodreads challenge! #amreading #booklist #bookreview

So I didn’t set myself a huge target this year, but I didn’t expect to have completed it by August either. That makes me very happy.

Some people might read 20 books in a few months but I’m still pleased with this figure and hope to read quite a few more books by the end of the year.

Netgalley has been responsible for quite a few of my recent reads and I have 4 more accepted requests lined up that I will post about later.

Here is my list and links to reviews or a brief summary of my feelings for the books.

Netgalley Reads

The Hotel at Honeymoon Station – Tilly Tennant. An enjoyable and gentle romance. My 4 star Review

Chasing the Italian Dream – Jo Thomas. Brilliant summer read, I still miss the characters. My 4.5 star review

The River Between Us – Liz Fenwick. Enjoyable dual timeline though maybe not Liz Fenwick’s best work. My 4 star Review

Waste Not. Want Not – Lilac Mills. A surprising and enjoyable romance. My 5 star Review

Under the Italian Sun – Sue Moorcroft. I loved this hot romance right from the first page (not just hot because of the weather!) My 5 star review.

Writing Resourses

200 boosts for Indie Authors – Rayne Hall. A great book of tips to work through to improve your books and author career. Better for those starting out I think. 4 star

Save the cat! Writes a Novel – Jessica Brody. Very interesting way of looking at writing which I hope to try out on a new WIP very soon. 4.5 star.

Romance your brand – Zoe York. Helpful guide that makes you rethink how you should be writing a series. 4 stars

Romance books

An Island Christmas – Jenny Colgan. Enjoyable and emotional read.

Summer Kisses at Mermaid Point – Sarah Bennett. Enjoyable and heartwarming. Looking forward to revisiting soon.

The Tanglewood Teashop – Lilac Mills. Loved it so much I bought the next books straight away. Can’t wait to dive in again.

Perfect Timing – Jill Mansell. Perfect feel-good read. 5 stars.

Unpredictable Consequences of Love – Jill Mansell. Loved this book and thought about the characters long after I finished it. My review

Winter Beneath The Stars – Jo Thomas. Despite a shaky start for me I ended up loving the characters and the location was wonderful. See my review.

Christmas Wishes – Sue Moorcroft. A heart-warming Christmas read I absolutely fell in love with. My big fat 5 star review.

(I started Christmas Wishes at the end of 2020 and finished it in early 2021. I considered it one of my fav reads of 2020 but it could also be a contender for the best of 2021 reads too!)

Fantasy

Raven Storm (book 3) – Emma Miles. My only fantasy read so far this year (shocking)!

I loved this third book just as much as the first 2. Emma Miles is such an accomplished fantasy writer and I love the world and characters she has created in this series. I must review this book and get on with reading book 4 which came out a few months ago. My Review of the series so far (books 1 and 2)

Other Reads

Beginning of The End – GJ Stevens. Gripping with non-stop action and a surprising twist end. My 5 star review.

Capital Action – GJ Stevens. Entertaining thriller of a read. My 5 star review.

Wolf Hollow – Lauren Wolk. Very emotional, evocative and immersive 5 star mid-grade read.

The Circling Sky – Neil Ansell. This cover is beautiful and I love the title which reminds me of the Pink Floyd song ‘Learning to Fly’. I love the New Forest and this book helped to transport me back there. I’m grateful a fellow reviewer sent me her ARC copy once she’d finished reading it – thanks Hannah at Echoes in an Empty Room. This is a relaxing 4 star read.

My only DNF

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte. I just couldn’t get on with this classic. I got half way through but I just didn’t care enough to keep reading. More of a frustrating read than entertaining for me.

The whole reason I decided to read this was because a character in my new romance series is an English Literature Professor and he said Wuthering Heights is one of his favourite reads. Having attempted to read in myself, I’m going to have to have a chat with him as to why he chose it!

What are your views on this classic or classics in general? I just can’t seem to get on with them.

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It has been great to escape into books this year and I have enjoyed being forced to start reviewing again mainly due to my Netgalley reads. There are some books here I would still like to review, especially by indie authors as I know how important it is to get those precious reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

I’ll be back soon with a list of the books I want to read during the rest of the year including the books I still have outstanding on Netgalley.

What are your reading plans and how close are you to completing your 2021 Goodreads Challenge?

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P.S.

Talking of reviewing books, my Goodreads, Amazon and Audible book pages seem to have hit a bit of a slump. If you have read any of my books would you consider helping me out by posting a quick review? I love to read your thoughts and even a short review will really make my day. Thanks very much.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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Time to ‘Stock Your Summer TBR’ with 99p books in multi-genre #booksale #BBNYA2021

Many of the authors who have reached the second round in this year’s BBNYA contest, which includes The Lost Sentinel, are reducing their books to just 99p for a week long sale.

Check out this list of cool multi-genre books you can add to your collection. CLick the link if you want to find out more about BBNYA (Book Bloggers Novel of the Year 2021).

During the sale I decided to discount my entire back catalogue so now could be the perfect time to add to your collection.

I hope you find some great summer reads amongst these brilliant indie authors.

Thanks to E.G. Radcliff for organising the sales page. Don’t forget to take a look and pick up some bargain books.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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Book Review Chasing the Italian Dream by Jo Thomas #romance #netgalley

I received an ARC via Netgalley and enjoyed this book so much.

Blurb

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?

My Review

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 on Amazon

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.

The Olive Branch

Late Summer in the vineyard

Escape to the French Farmhouse

Double review – Finding Love at The Christmas Market and Winter Beneath the Stars

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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#Bookreview The River Between Us by Liz Fenwick #romance #netgalley

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.

My Review

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.

Add to your goodreads shelf

Pre-order on Amazon

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

You can follow me on

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