#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 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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Goodreads Challenge and planned reads for 2022 #amreading #bookchallenge

I love the start of the year where I look at the books I own, check my TBR list and decide what to read throughout 2022.

I aim to read 25 books and have set my Goodreads challenge accordingly. I want to focus on writing more this year, but I do love escaping into a good book so I’m hoping that figure is not too ambitious.

Here are some books I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into though I’m not sure what order I will read them:

Fantasy and Urban fantasy

Revenge de los Muertos by Talis Jones – I won this in a competition and I’m currently reading it. I’m 40% in and it’s very intriguing. I’ve also pre-ordered bk 2 which comes out in a few days.

Nightborn by Jessica Thorne – I loved book one last year. It was one of my fav fantasy reads. See my post about them here.

Echo Murder by Laura Laakso – I really loved book 1 and keep meaning to catch up with the rest of the series.

Shadow and Bone trilogy – Christmas present I can’t wait to read. I loved the Netflix show and have already started the first book.

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman in audio – This was on my list in 2021 so I really need to give it a listen.

Romance

New Hope for the Little Cornish Farmhouse – Nancy Barone. I love the premise of this book.

The Summer Island Festival – Rachel Burton – another book premise that drew me in.

Tanglewood Flower Shop and The Tanglewood Wedding Shop – Lilac Mills

I have loads of romance paperbacks to choose from so I expect there to be plenty of mood reads coming up in 2022.

Classics

Dracula Bram Stoker – my daughter loves this book and says I should read it.

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Are any of these books on your radar? Have you made a reading list for 2022?

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

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Goodreads Challenge 2021 complete #fantasy #romance #netgalley

In 2021 I set a target of reading 20 books. I’m pleased to say at the time of writing this I have read 32 and will hopefully get the chance to finish another by the end of the year.

Since deciding to write a romance series I’ve been devouring romance books, especially those by my fav authors in the genre Sue Moorcroft, Jo Thomas and Jill Mansell. I’ve also discovered some new authors I can’t wait to read more of. I’ve read a lot of books through Netgalley this year, which is a wonderful way to read new books, but not great at clearing my TBR pile.

I’m disappointed to see that I haven’t read much fantasy, but those I have read have been brilliant.

I read a few non-fiction about writing and nature and I’ve tried a classic which I had to DNF because I just didn’t care at all about the characters. I might go back and try to read the end at some point.

So here is my list of books split into genres for easy reference and links to my reviews where available.

Fantasy

Romance

Sue Moorcroft

Jo Thomas

Jill Mansell

Lilac Mills

Jenny Colegan

Other great authors

Writing Guide

Other Genres

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I’ll share my favourite books of 2021 in another post.

Have you beat your Goodreads challenge? Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you think.

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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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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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