#Bookreview The Hotel at Honeymoon Station by Tilly Tennant #romance #netgalley

Here’s my latest review of an enjoyable, light-hearted romance by Tilly Tennant. This author is new to me and I look forward to reading more of her books.

Blurb

Run away to the Dorset countryside, to the sleepy village of Honeymoon, where rose-adorned thatched cottages soak up the sunlight and Emma is risking everything for a brave new start on life and love…

When Emma’s useless fiancé tells her a lie she cannot forgive, she decides enough is enough. She leaves him, quits her dead-end job and travels hundreds of miles away to the ancient village of Honeymoon in the Dorset countryside, to help her friend Tia turn the old train station into a boutique hotel.

Tia has told Emma that it will be a project, but when Emma arrives in Honeymoon and sees a weed-choked crumbling ruin, her vision of an idyllic life in Dorset begins to disintegrate. But when she meets twinkly-eyed builder Aiden in the village shop, and sparks fly between them, she can’t help but feel that the stars have for once aligned.

As work begins on the hotel, Emma and Aiden grow closer, and on sun-dappled evening walks, he tells her the secrets of the village. But there are some villagers who wish that Emma had never arrived in Honeymoon… And when Emma is involved in a terrible accident on site, and then discovers what Aiden has been keeping from her, it feels like the universe is telling her to leave Honeymoon for good. What if she was wrong to say goodbye to all that was safe and familiar? Will she ever be able to find her happy-ever-after in Honeymoon?

My Review

This was a gentle and enjoyable romance, perfect to relax and unwind to.

The main character Emma has her personal issues and hang-ups, not to mention the useless boyfriend who I couldn’t wait for her to get rid of. When she finally comes to her senses, she makes the rash decision to sell up and buy a run down train station with an old school friend. With hopes to renovate and turn it into a hotel, things don’t go as planned, especially when the builders turn out to be two hunky brothers who are single.
Emma tries to stay level headed, but her sensible nature stands in the way of happiness.

There are plenty of trials in the renovation too, including opposition from locals and the weather stands in the way of finishing the project before the money runs out.
I enjoyed being along for the renovation ride and willed Emma to allow herself the chance to be happy.

It was a satisfying story and I wish I could go and spend a romantic weekend at The Hotel at Honeymoon Station!

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC.

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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

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Opinion time. How important is location in a book? #readers #readingcommunity

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.

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

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#Bookreview Waste Not, Want Not in Applewell by Lilac Mills #romance #Netgalley

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!

Blurb

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?

My review

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.

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

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#Bookreview Under the Italian Sun by @SueMoorcroft #romance #Netgalley

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.

Blurb

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?

My Review

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!

Highly recommended read.

Pre-order from amazon now so you don’t forget!

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

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Double #bookreview Winter Beneath the Stars and Finding Love at the Christmas Market by Jo Thomas #romance

I always enjoy Jo Thomas’ books and these two were no exception. It did take me a bit to get into one of them but then the characters wormed their way into my heart and I really enjoyed both books. Below are the blurbs and my brief reviews.

Winter Beneath the Stars

Halley has been running from her problems for years.

On a courier trip to Tallfors, deep in Swedish Lapland, everything is going to plan. Halley has her bag, with two precious wedding rings inside for delivery… until she doesn’t.

The only way to save the wedding is to team up with mysterious reindeer herder Bjorn, the one person who can lead her across the snowy tundra to be reunited with her bag.

On a journey of a lifetime beneath the stars, with only the reindeer and a bad-tempered stranger for company beside the fire, Halley realises that she will need to confront her past heartaches in order to let the warmth of love in once more…

My Brief Review

I did have to suspend my disbelief with this one as the premise of the story just didn’t seem plausible. Halley is a courier delivering special wedding rings that get lost when her hand luggage is accidently swapped with someone else’s. I could not get over the fact she could have carried the rings on her person. Of course there would be no story then, but it really bugged me for a while.

Anyway, it goes to show if you can just let something go and keep reading you may just be surprised. It was a great story about two people struggling to overcome their personal issues and hopefully find love. The setting was very special and really made the book come alive for me. Plus I loved the husky dogs. In the end it was a brilliant read and I loved Halley and Bjorn.

Finding Love at the Christmas Market

Residential-home caterer Connie has had one online-dating disaster too many. Hurt in the past and with her son to consider, now she’s feeling hesitant. Then one of Connie’s residents sets her up on a date at a beautiful German Christmas market – with the promise she’ll take a mini-bus full of pensioners along with her…

Amongst the twinkling lights and smell of warm gingerbread in the old market square, Connie heads off on her date with a checklist of potential partner must-haves. Baker Henrich ticks all the boxes, but when Connie meets Henrich’s rival William, she starts to wonder if ticking boxes is the answer.

Will Connie’s wish for love this Christmas come true, and if so – with who?

My Brief Review

This is was a lovely Christmas read and an original story idea where Connie takes the old folks from the retirement home on a jaunt to a Christmas market in Germany. They visit a bakery, which features in the story quite a lot. I loved these scenes and all the descriptions of the delicious food. At first I found the many characters from the retirement home hard to keep track of, but it all fell into place and I really enjoyed the story. I also loved how everyone had a Christmas wish and they made a pact to help each other fulfil them.

Another recommended read. Jo Thomas is a master at telling heart warming stories with characters you fall in love with.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and romance.

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#Bookreview The Unpredictable Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell #romance

A lovely book, I stayed up way too late most nights reading this because I just had to know what happened next.

Blurb

In the idyllic seaside town of St Carys, Sophie is putting the past firmly behind her.

When Josh arrives in St Carys to run the family hotel, he can’t understand why Sophie has zero interest in letting any man into her life. He also can’t understand how he’s been duped into employing Sophie’s impulsive friend Tula, whose crush on him is decidedly unrequited.

St Carys has more than its fair share of characters, including the charming but utterly feckless surfer Riley Bryant, who has a massive crush on Tula. Riley’s aunt is superstar author Marguerite Marshall. And Marguerite has designs on Josh’s grandfather…who in turn still adores his glamorous ex-wife, Dot…

Just how many secrets can one seaside town keep?

My brief review

This is a perfect example of a feel-good, heart-warming romance.

I fell in love with the main characters, Sophie and Josh, but also with the many side characters and their stories. I honestly didn’t want to stop reading this and I’m sad the story is over.

I loved the location, which was my initial draw for picking up this book, a seaside escape whilst stuck in lockdown!

I enjoyed reading about Sophie’s career as a freelance photographer and her backstory was a powerful one. The many love matches in this book are a huge bonus, especially Sophie’s best friend Tula.

Thanks to this book, and Meet me at Beachcoomber’s Bay, Jill Mansell has become one of my favourite romance authors. I don’t think anyone who picks up this book could dispute her talent for weaving immersive tales that stay with you long after the books are finished.

A great 5 star read.

Check it out on Goodreads.

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

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Book Review Christmas Wishes by Sue Moorcroft #romance #tuesdaybookblog

I read this book just after Christmas. I loved the two protagonists, Hannah and Nico, and their story had me glued to the pages. Here’s the blurb from Amazon…

Blurb

A sparkling Christmas read from the Sunday Times bestseller – perfect to snuggle up with this winter!

Hannah and Nico are meant to be together.

But fate is keeping them apart…

As soon as Hannah bumps into her brother Rob’s best friend Nico in Stockholm, the two rekindle a fast friendship. But Hannah has a boyfriend – and Nico has two children to look after.

When Hannah loses her beloved shop in Stockholm, though, she is forced to move back to the little village of Middledip – only to find Nico has just moved in too. Under the same snowy sky, can the childhood friends make a romance work – or are there too many obstacles standing in their way?

My Brief Review

Oh my goodness, this story blew me away. I loved Nico and his kids and really wanted him to find his happy ever after with Hannah from the moment they were together on the page. Fate keeps getting in the way of these two people who are so clearly made for each other.

The locations were wonderfully described, both in Stockholm and the UK.

It was impossible to put this book down. It had plenty of fun but also heartfelt moments that had me secretly crying into my pillow. One of my favourite reads of 2020.

This is a 5 star read, and one you don’t have to wait to read at Christmas. Pick it up now I say!

Note – after reading this story I see there are other books set in Middledip. It clearly works as a standalone as I didn’t feel I was missing anything. And now I’m excited to read the other books set in Middledip and start a new adventure.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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Reading plans for 2021 #amreading #fantasy #romance

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.

Fantasy

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…

Romance

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.

Non-fiction

I still have some non-fiction books I want to read too.

That will do for now…

What are your reading plans for 2021?

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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#Bookreview Escape to the French Farmhouse by Jo Thomas #romance #tuesdaybookblog

This is another great read from Jo Thomas. She is one of my favourite romance writers and her books never fails to make me feel emotional!

Blurb

Can Del find her recipe for happiness?

Del and her husband Ollie moved to a beautiful village in Provence for a fresh start after years of infertility struggles. But six weeks after they arrive, they’re packing the removal van once more. As Del watches the van leave for England, she suddenly realises exactly what will make her happier…a new life in France – without Ollie.

Now alone, all Del has is a crumbling farmhouse, a mortgage to pay and a few lavender plants. What on earth is she going to do? After discovering an old recipe book at the market run by the rather attractive Fabian, Del starts to bake. But can her new-found passion really help her let go of the past and lead to true happiness?

A heart-warming tale about reclaiming your life, set amongst the lavender fields of Provence. Perfect escapism from the author of Late Summer in the Vineyard and The Honey Farm on the Hill.

My review

The story starts as Del prepares to leave France with her husband but she realises their relationship is broken and she decides to stay on alone. It’s a very brave thing to do, especially where all her stuff is already on its way back to England!

Del is a strong character even if she doesn’t always see that about herself. I love being in her world, watching as she learns to trust herself and be self reliant.

The people in the nearby town make her feel welcome and she settles into her new life, finding friendship and possibly more in the process. She helps others, in particular a young mum along the way. These growing friendships really make the story something special.

The details of the farmhouse and the lavender are so immersive. I also love the details of the cooking. Del uses her love of baking to start providing for herself, incorporating the lavender from her farm into everything she cooks. Be warned, this book can make you hungry. Helpfully there are a few recipes at the back of the book, which is a nice little touch.

The chapters are very short and always draw you into the next. Many times I said to myself I’ll just read one more chapter only to find another half and hour had passed without me even realising.

If you like to be transported to beautiful places and enjoy heart-warming and feel good stories, then give Escape to the French Farmhouse a try.

My rating – 5 lavender scented stars!

Also see my reviews of Late Summer in the Vineyards and The Olive Grove.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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