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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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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Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point By Sarah Bennett #romance #bookreview

My first Sarah Bennett read and I’m hooked!

Book Blurb

Laurie Morgan runs a café in the small seaside community of Mermaids Point, named after the beauties rumoured to live in the waters a few miles off the top of the point. When a hazy image is posted online of what appears to be a mermaid, the café and the village are soon full to bursting with curious sightseers.

The most eye-catching of the new arrivals is handsome author, Jake Smith, who has rented a cottage for the summer while he works on his new book. Or so he says. In fact, he is a journalist, burned out and disillusioned with life, whose editor has sent him on a crack-pot hunt for mermaids…

Jake quickly finds himself drawn to village life, and to the gorgeous woman who runs the local café. But he soon suspects there’s trouble lurking beneath the idyllic façade, and when it looks like Laurie’s family might be involved, Jake faces a difficult choice. Pursue the truth, or protect the woman he’s beginning to fall in love with…

My Mini Review

I was hooked on this story from the first page and loved the two main characters. The location was easy to imagine and Mermaid Point sounds like the kind of place I would love to visit.

There are plenty of misunderstandings and the mystery of the mermaid to keep you turning the pages, plus the all important love affair between Laurie and Jake to root for. Emotional and fun, this book had it all.

I look forward to discovering more of Sarah Bennet’s books and returning to Mermaid Point in the future.

Check it out on Amazon.

***

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

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Writing update – 4 month plan #amwriting #fantasy #romance

***IMPORTANT UPDATE*** THE LOST SENTINEL IS A FINALIST IN BBNYA 2021. I’m excited to reach the final round though the next few months will be agony waiting for the results! See my earlier post about it here.

I haven’t done a writing update for a while so I thought it would be a good time to share my plans for the rest of the year. But first…

What have I been up to?

It doesn’t feel like much. I’ve written 3 fantasy short stories as lead in’s to my books. The Guardian is a prequel to Visions of Zarua, Garrick the Protector from the Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy and War Wounds from my new series Starlight Prophecy, which I hope to publish in 2022.

I’ve also been working on my romance series Mermaid Hotel though did put that on hold to re-work the whole structure of book 1 and 2 in the Starlight Prophecy series. It’s been so good to escape back into fantasy, but now I’m at a stage where I need to put that on hold to get back to the romance series.

The next 4 months

In September I’m doing a 6 week Curtis Brown Writing Romance course led by Jenny Colgan. I plan to work through book 1 – Evie’s Song and hopefully get it into a publishable state very soon.

In October I’ve signed up for a World Building course run by the Romantic Novelist Association. It’s an area that my readers have said works really well in my books, but I don’t want to be complacent. I’m always eager to hone my craft so I’m hoping to learn a few things that will enhance the Starlight Prophecy series.

Publishing plans…

At some point I plan to publish the short stories I’ve written in a short fantasy teaser book which will be free to my newsletter subscribers. I’m toying with the idea of writing more stories to go into it but I haven’t decided for certain yet. I’ve also wondered whether to publish a book of modern day short stories and that idea is still in the back of my mind.

I’m hoping to finish books 1 and 2 in the Starlight Prophecy and the first few books in The Mermaid Hotel ready to publish in 2022. I would love to get something out sooner but time is running against me.

The most important thing is to keep working and hopefully 2022 will be the year I get lots of books out into the world.

I hope you will be there cheering me on.

Til next time…

***

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.

***

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.

***

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

***

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

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#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.

***

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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