New review of The Lost Sentinel #fantasy #bookreview

I haven’t done this for a while, so I thought I’d share this great new review that’s been posted by The Voracious Reader. She read The Lost Sentinel as part of the judging panel for BBNYA 2021.

The Lost Sentinel reached the final and came 12th overall meaning I get to display this cool badge.

‘What an epic fantasy! There’s danger, magic, persecution, and hope.’ Check out I’m a Voracious Reader for the full review.

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

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#BookReview The Cornish Hideaway by Jennifer Bibby #romance #netgalley #newrelease

I’m so pleased I tried out this new author – Jennifer Bibby is right up there with my fav romance authors!

Blurb

A beautiful village. An artist who’s lost her spark. And a community who help her find it again.

All Freya has ever wanted to do is paint. So when she fails her Master’s Degree in Art, on the same day that her boyfriend decides he needs a ‘more serious’ partner, to Freya it feels like the end of the world.
 
Luckily, she has a saviour in the shape of best friend Lola, who invites her to the sleepy Cornish village of Polcarrow, to work in her café. With nothing keeping her in London, Freya jumps at the chance of a summer by the sea.
 
Freya needs time to focus on herself. But then dark and mysterious biker Angelo blows into town on a stormy afternoon, with his own artistic dreams and a secretive past, and Freya’s plans of a romance-free summer fly straight out of the window…

Heart-warming, heartfelt and romantic, The Cornish Hideaway is a novel of community, friendship and learning to love again, for fans of Jenny Colgan, Cathy Bramley and Heidi Swain. 

My Review

I was lucky enough to have been given an ARC of The Cornish Hideaway via Netgalley.

I was originally attracted to the storyline – a struggling artist running off to Cornwall for the summer to re-evaluate her life while she works at her friend’s cafe. What better way to get over a failed degree and the ending of a long term relationship? We all need a saviour in our lives like Freya’s friend Lola who is kind-hearted and an excellent baker!

I flew through the book, reading it in just a few days because I fell in love with Polcarrow and the locals. It seems the perfect place for Freya to make some life affirming decisions that doesn’t include men. That is until Angelo turns up, signalling a change in the suddenly stormy air and hopefully something more for Freya!

Both Freya and Angelo have their troubles, but it’s clear they are the antidote to each other’s problems, if only they can put those troubles behind them.

Some real highlights for me are the painting of the mural at the church and Angelo helping an old fisherman, Alf, restore his fishing boat for the summer fair.

The story of Freya rediscovering her passion for painting and love, gripped me and I was sad to finish reading.

I feel as though Polcarrow could be the setting of many future stories – I certainly hope so.

Thanks to Netgalley for my ARC copy. The book is out today – 22nd March 2022.

See more info on Goodreads and Amazon UK.

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

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#Bookreview A Match Made in Devon by Cathy Bramley #Romance #5star

Wonderful book. Nina is one of the nicest characters I’ve ever read about.

Blurb

Sometimes you have to play a part to realise who you really are…

Nina has always dreamed of being a star. Unfortunately her agent thinks she’s more girl-next-door than leading lady and her acting career isn’t going quite as planned. Then, after a series of very public blunders and to escape a gathering storm of paparazzi, Nina is forced to flee from London.

Her plan is to lay low with a friend in Devon, in beautiful Brightside Cove. But soon Nina learns that more drama can be found in a small village than on a hectic television set.

And when a gorgeous man (and his adorable dog) catch her eye, it’s not long before London and showbiz start to lose their appeal. Will Nina choose to return to the bright lights or has she met her match in Brightside Cove?

My Quick Review

This book does not fit with the traditional romance format i.e. Nina doesn’t meet ‘the one’ right at the beginning of the story and take forever to get with him. In fact, she has to wait quite a while for her man, but there are plenty of other opportunities for love and plenty of ‘matches made in Devon’ to satisfy any romance reader!

Friendship, family and community are important in this book and the theme of following your dreams show up a lot. There are lots of interesting storylines, some heart-breaking, and lots of quirky characters to follow.

I loved the mermaid school idea and running a holiday cottage business.

This is just a lovely, lovely book to read. Nina is such a sweet, lovely character that you want her to find her happy ever after from the start.

Cathy Bramley is an author I plan to read a lot more of – lucky for me there are plenty of books to choose from.

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

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#Bookreview Revenge de los Muertos – Fifth Sun book 1 by @TalisJones #urbanfantasy #fantasy

I won a copy in a competition and I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to read book 1 in this new urban fantasy series – Fifth Sun.

Blurb

Selah’s biggest dilemma was trying to decide what to study in college. That is, until she stumbled across a clue to the grandparents she’d never met and hopped on a plane to Mexico where she would discover an entire hidden world of magic and monsters. Her best friend was a bruja, the Chupacabra was more than a myth, and she’d inadvertently caught the attention of the terrifying Blood King with golden eyes. What started as a two-week vacation quickly devolved into an adventure she might never return from.

Día de los Muertos had almost arrived and the monsters were on the hunt.

My Review

Urban fantasy is not something I read very often, but I’m glad I read Revenge De Los Muertos. It is an excellent introduction into the Fifth Sun series and I really enjoyed it.

This is a story filled with magic, covens and secrets. We get to see a slice of Mexican culture and it’s nice to have the odd Spanish phrase included. I did not know all the words, but it was easy enough to interpret the meaning. Plus there is a handy guide at the back of the book if you are interested in understanding the words and how to pronounce them.

The main character, Selah, starts the books very trusting and naïve. Almost too naïve. But we get a hint that things are not as they seem, and our patience is eventually rewarded (though I can’t say more – you just have to read it to find out!).

My favourite character was easily Rafi, a sexy protector with many hidden depths, and it was great to have alternating chapters from his viewpoint. There are lots of supporting characters too that bring the world of magic alive.

There is plenty of mystery and hints of a slow-burn romance to come, all elements I love in books. The events at the end had me rushing through the pages. It was dramatic and eye-opening for the reader and the characters alike.

I have to say I’ve been left feeling a little nervous for what’s to come in book 2. But that makes the anticipation even better. I know it will be action packed and I look forward to watching the characters continue to grow.

Book 2 is already out and I’ve seen that book 3 is only a few months away. It’s exciting to have such a quick release and I look forward to the next books. Check out the author on Amazon and Goodreads to find out more.

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

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#Bookreview The Christmas Holiday by Sophie Claire #romance #greatread @SClaireWriter

I won this book in a twitter competition held by Whispering Stories along with some lovely goodies. I’m very grateful as this turned out to be one of my favourite reads of 2021.

Blurb

Can a trip away lead you home?

After a bad break-up, eternal optimist Evie Miller has moved to the small village of Willowbrook to finally pursue her dream of opening a craft shop. Unfortunately, with money worries and an ex-boyfriend determined to track her down, her fresh start isn’t going entirely to plan.

Jake Hartwood is also looking to escape his past. Haunted by the loss of his wife, he’s determined not to get close to anyone again – and the last thing he wants is to be celebrating this December.

Hoping to avoid the festivities, Evie and Jake arrange to escape Christmas together as friends in Provence. But will the magic of the season change things between them?

And what happens if one of them starts to feel something more?

My Review

I really loved this book and I’m so happy to have discovered a new author by winning this prize. I read The Christmas Holiday in a few days because I just couldn’t put it down.

As well as being an addictive, entertaining read, the book also has an emotional storyline. Grief is a central issue creating a barrier between the two protagonists.

I loved Evie and her story of opening her own craft shop in what sounds like a wonderful little village, Willowbrook. She has lots of insecurities and money troubles, but she’s determined to follow her dream and make the business a success even if others don’t believe in her.

I also loved Jake’s storyline and felt for his difficult situation. He is a brooding, handsome, hurting lead man with a heart in need of healing. His dog won my heart from the start of the story too.

I became invested in the two main characters straight away and read with increasing speed, desperate to follow Evie and Jake’s journey. It was a satisfying read, one that has stayed with me even two weeks after finishing it.

It’s a book I want to shout about, recommend to everyone and it is one I will read again! I can’t wait to discover more of Sophie Claire’s books.

Goodreads

Here’s a look at those goodies I received from Whispering Stories. Only the Pud in a mug and Christmas cake to go!

If you want to see my other favourite reads of 2021, check out this post Favourite reads of 2021

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

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#Bookreview Under the Mistletoe by @SueMoorcroft #romance

I was lucky enough to get a copy of this book through Netgalley. It was one of my last reads of 2021 and was perfect for Christmas.

Blurb

When Laurel returns to the village of Middledip, she’s looking for a quiet life. Adjusting to her recent divorce, she’s ready to spend some time getting back on her feet amidst the glorious snow-dusted countryside.

Yet, life in Middledip is far from straightforward. Coming to the aid of her sister, Rea, as she navigates her own troubles, Laurel barely has a moment to think about where her own life is going.

However, time stands still when she sees her old flame, Grady Cassidy – and it’s soon as if they’ve never been apart. But through her happiness, Laurel remembers why she left the village all those years ago, as she recalls a dark night and Grady’s once-wayward brother, Mac…

Can Laurel learn to forgive and forget? Or will her chances of Christmas under the mistletoe with Grady remain a dream?

My Review

I enjoyed returning to Middledip, especially at Christmas. It’s clear that childhood sweethearts, Laurel and Grady, would make a great couple when they meet years later but events from the past that forced Laurel to flee her home keep getting between them. Can their love conquer the past?

I felt that at times the past event focused too much in the plot, but I still rooted for Laurel and Grady to overcome it and have the happy ever after they deserved.

Art was a theme that featured heavily in the story as Laurel is a successful artist and Middledip’s art scene is buzzing with the arts and craft club preparing for the Chirstmas fair. Family relationships also play a big part in the story. I really enjoyed all the scene’s with Laurel’s niece and I have to mention the horse that helps Laurel’s sister Rea’s recovery.

This was a perfect seasonal read. You can’t go wrong when you pick up a Sue Moorcroft book!

Goodreads

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

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#Bookreview Mageborn – The Hollow King book 1 by Jessica Thorne @JessThorneBooks #Fantasy

An excellent fantasy. Mageborn is one of those books you start and know you are going to love from the first page. And look at this gorgeous cover…

Blurb

A dark and addictive fantasy read for fans of Graceling and Sarah J. Maas. The life of an orphan soldier becomes entwined with that of the mysterious heir to the throne, whose very presence draws out the secret magic living inside her: a magic that breaks every law she is duty-bound to uphold…

The room is small and dark. Row upon row of jars line the shelves, each one sealed with blood-red wax. The seal’s mark is a twisted circle of briar with gleaming, gold-tipped thorns. And in each jar a flicker of forbidden magic dances… beautiful, but deadly.

Sold to the Crown in the aftermath of the Last Great War, Grace Marchant has never known her parents. Now, she trains as an elite soldier tracking down mageborn – those born with an ancient and long-outlawed magic – and destroying them if they don’t surrender their power to the Crown.

The mageborn who submit are collared, then handed over to the King’s cousin and heir: the elusive Bastien Larelwynn, Lord of Thorns, locked away in his shadowy workshop deep inside the castle. What becomes of them is hard to say – the Lord of Thorns keeps his secrets close.

Grace has always fought the voice inside her that questions whether the law is truly just – but when her closest friend is next on Bastien’s list, Grace’s loyalties are tested to the limit. Confronting Bastien – searching his strangely compelling obsidian-black eyes for answers – Grace is shocked to feel herself begin to change, to show the first signs of the wild magic she so fears.

Only the Lord of Thorns has the power to save her and the rest of the mageborn – if he doesn’t destroy them all first…

My Review

I actually read this book a few months ago and didn’t realise I hadn’t shared a review until I was looking through my Goodreads list for 2021.

Mageborn is so good that I can’t let it slip by without sharing a quick recommendation to all fantasy readers. It has a compelling storyline with plenty of mystery and the magic is excellently described. The whole world building is a great strength of the book (no wonder the author is teaching classes on it for the RNA!). I haven’t read anything by Jessica Thorne before so I was very happy to discover a new author to follow.

I loved the main characters, Grace and Bastien, and the turbulent relationship between them. The fact the story was told from their alternating viewpoints really strengthened my connection to them and I was desperate for them to join forces in more ways than one!

There are many twists and turns in the plot and I just had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen. It was an absorbing read and the ending didn’t disappoint. I’ve already bought the second book and hope to read it asap in 2022. I really hope Jessica Thorne writes book 3 soon.

Check out Mageborn for yourself on Goodreads

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

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The Sixth Fire – Children of Sinai II by Clarke Nixon #bookreview #fiction

Brilliant sequel!

Blurb

Hope Meadows is now a thriving community of survivors, following the world-changing revelations made by The Fathers. They live and work together to follow the guidelines set down for a kinder, more tolerant future, and their number is growing every day.

A Ute medicine woman inherits the double-edged gift of visions of her own, and, following their confusing messages, she leads her diminished group to Hope Meadows. It becomes clear that an ancestor’s prophecy, and those of the old tribes, is to become a reality… but they come with one final warning for mankind. Their ancestors, and those of the Hope Meadows founders, are inextricably linked, and their communities must now work together to preserve the world for which they have fought.

But old enemies are gradually building their plans against them, and all too soon they realise that the solution could prove as deadly as the threat.

My Review

I loved the start of the second book where we meet and follow some new characters and see events that happened in book 1 through their eyes and the awful impact it had on their lives. I loved Rose and Joe, but I think the star of the whole book for me was Nita the medicine woman who plays a huge part in the unfolding story of the survivors. I loved her scenes with Doron too.

It was also great to be back at Hope Meadows to see how the characters are coping with the realities of their new lives. I loved meeting up with the twins again and seeing how their powers are being honed for the good of the growing community of survivors. There are plenty of shocks and surprises in book two and plenty of new revelations. It was an entertaining read.

I have to say I was sad to finish The Sixth Fire. There is plenty of scope for further books in the series, so I really hope the authors are working on a sequel right now!

I was given a ARC copy. This review is an honest reflection of my thoughts on what is a very different and entertaining series.

Check it out on Amazon

Link to review of Book 1 Children of Sinai

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

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Elle’s A to Z of Love by Claire Huston #romance #bookreview

A very enjoyable romance that keeps you guessing in the love interest sakes.

Blurb

Haileybrook, a beautiful village in the peaceful Cotswolds countryside, is most people’s idea of heaven on earth.

It should be easy, but every time she packs her bags for exotic adventures, old loves and loyalties pull her back.

Will Elle be forced to forget her dreams of far-flung places and epic romance, or can she grab one last chance to have it all?

An uplifting, romantic story about friends, family and the relationships that make a place a home. 

My review

Firstly, isn’t this a pretty cover!

I really enjoyed my visit to Haileybrook but felt for Elle – no matter how much she wanted to escape her childhood home, life and fate always intervened.

This was a very enjoyable romance, the kind that keeps you guessing if the couple that are meant to be together will ever admit their feelings for each other. The book is filled with entertaining characters, unexpected situations and keeps you turning the pages wanting to know what happens next.

I enjoyed Elle’s journey of discovery and I recommend this book to all romance readers.

Also, I must just mention the title – I didn’t realise it’s significance until quite late in the book. It’s very clever.

You can add it to your goodreads shelf.

See my review of Claire Huston’s previous book Art and Soul – another great romance.

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

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Celebrations at the Chateau by Jo Thomas #romance #bookreview #netgalley

This was the another Netgalley ARC, which I was very excited to read as its by one of my favourite romance writers, Jo Thomas.

Blurb

When their grandfather dies, Fliss and her sisters are astonished to inherit a French chateau! Travelling to Normandy to visit the beautiful if faded house, they excitedly make plans over delicious crepes and local cider in the town nearby.

But they soon discover the chateau needs major work, a huge tax bill is due . . . and there’s a sitting tenant to whom they owe a monthly allowance.

Unable to sell but strapped for cash, Fliss determines to spruce up the elegant old rooms and open a B&B. But, why is Jacques, the local mayor, so hostile? How did Fliss’s grandfather come to own the place anyway? And will Jacques and Fliss be able to put their differences aside to save the chateau?

Inspired by Escape to the Chateau, this cosy and uplifting novel to curl up with, from the author of Escape to the French Farmhouse and Finding Love at the Christmas Market.

My Review

I loved reading this story right from the start. Inheriting an old French Chateau is right up there on my wish list, but seeing as that is not going to happen I had to live the fantasy through Fliss and her sisters.

When the three sisters decide to turn the old, run down Chateau into a B&B before it bankrupts them, it doesn’t go as smoothly as they’d hoped. Much like the path to true love between Fliss and the broody mayor, Jacques. They are perfect for each other but ex’s and a difficult situation in the past threatens their happy ever after.

Fliss is a very capable heroine, but she still occasionally needs rescuing and the handsome farmer / mayor / next door neighbour, Jacques is never far away.

The supporting cast are great; from Fliss’ nephew Jason who comes to help restore the chateau and blossoms in France, to Clementine Jacques step-daughter, to the huge working horse Pegasus whose always sticking his head through the fences and causing havoc, and Cedrick the peacock whose sometimes turns up to delight the guests. I have to mention the sitting tenant too, the chatelaine. She holds the key to the mystery of how Fliss’ grandfather came to own the Chateau in the first place, if only she could overcome the events in the past to confide in Fliss.

At the heart of this novel is mystery, love and family relationships. And of course there’s plenty of Christmas magic and a New Year’s Eve wedding at the Chateau to look forward to. You can’t get much better than that.

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

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