Monthly round up – reading and writing #amreading #amwriting

I am not great at sharing reviews, which is a shame as I know how important they are to authors, so I’ve decided to try a monthly wrap up post to share what I’ve been reading through the month. I also plan to share any progress on my writing projects as well as trying to stick to a quarterly plan.

January Update

Reading

I’ve made a good start to the year and my Goodreads goal of 26. Reading 4 books this month has set me up well.

The Fifth Sun Series by Talis Jones has kept me entertained and I’m looking forward to the final installment.

Writing Romance Novels and Love Stories has given me plenty to think about and work through with The Mermaid Hotel Series.

Rules for dating a Romantic Hero was a quick read and enjoyable. A good choice to get someone into reading who is daunted by bigger books.

Christmas Kisses by Alison May was a great read. I loved how the three novellas were interlinked and how it all came together at the end. Very enjoyable.

Writing

My new audiobook came out in January – Love, Loss and Life In Between. I have free audio codes available for reviewers, so please get in touch.

Romance series

Book 1 has a new title (formerly known as Evie’s Song) – Secrets and Love Songs at The Mermaid Hotel. It really fits the story and the genre. Feedback so far has been brilliant. What do you think?

I’ve also decided that I’ve been mentally putting the book in the wrong category – thinking of it as Contemporary Women’s fiction when it’s closer to the Cosy Seaside Romance genre.

I’m still editing the above and have quite a bit of work to do on the descriptions and layout of the novel.

Other Writing

Starlight Prophecy – No progress

Other writing – Nothing to report.

Other relevant writing news

I have joined the Romantic Novelist Association’s New Writers Scheme, which turned out to be easier than anticipated. It means I can send ‘Secrets and Love Songs at The Mermaid Hotel’ to a reader in March and get new professional eyes on the story.

I have subscribed to Mslexia, the women’s writing magazine and taken out their special Salon membership which has various perks throughout the year.

I have signed up to the RNA’s course ‘Writing a series with a coastal or countryside setting’ taught by Jessica Redland (I’m reading one of her books for the first time and loving it!). I think this course will be really helpful as I plan the rest of The Mermaid Hotel Series.

Plans for February

Books I hope to read this month

Writing projects for February

Complete the latest draft of Secrets and Love Songs at the Mermaid Hotel in preparation for the New Writer’s Scheme.

Write something new for my writing group meeting mid-February.

I think that about sums up my plans for February. Short and sweet!

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

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Reading challenge 2023 and my TBR so far #amreading

As it’s the start of the year, it’s time to set myself some reading goals. Last year I was very comfortable with a 25 book target. In 2023 I don’t plan to up it by much, just going for 26 books. I’m hoping that is a practical target to fit around my writing and whatever else the year throws at me.

I have some books carried over from last year that I want to read so I already have an idea of some of my reads. I plan to stay away from Netgalley and requesting books even though it’s a great way to read books by my favourite authors before they are published. Saying that, if the publishers marketing teams contact me, I’m not sure I’ll be able to resist the pull of a shiny new book or two!

My TBR for 2023 so far

Fantasy

Urban Fantasy

Romance

Writing guides

That is just a taster of the books that I’ve wanted to read for a while. I have a ton on my kindle which I haven’t even looked through yet. I’ll see how I go with this lot first.

What do you think of my selection?

Have you set yourself a reading challenge this year? Do you usually meet your targets?

Whatever and however you read, I hope you enjoy lots of books in 2023!

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

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#Bookreview Jo Thomas Keeping a Christmas Promise #romance #netgalley

Another great festive read from Jo Thomas. First off, I love the cover. It’s joyful, colourful and pretty, perfect for a Christmas story. It is also a very good reflection of the story itself.

Blurb

Four friends
Twenty-five years ago, Freya and her three best friends created a bucket list. The future seemed bright, full of hope and most importantly guaranteed . . .

One promise
Now they are travelling to Iceland in memory of the friend they’ve lost, determined to fulfil her dream of seeing the Northern Lights at Christmas.

A life-changing adventure
They didn’t count on an avalanche leaving them stranded! Handsome local, Pétur, comes to the rescue, showing them how the community survives the hard winter. With Christmas approaching, Freya and her friends throw themselves into the festivities, decorating and cooking for the villagers using delicious local ingredients.

But will the Northern Lights appear so they can honour their friend’s wish? And can Freya’s own dreams come true, this Christmas? 

Add to Goodreads shelf

My Review

I really enjoyed this story and escaping into Freya’s world. I liked the premise of keeping a promise to a friend that is no longer with you and fulfilling their dream of seeing the northern lights. However driving out into a building snowstorm? That was never going to be a good idea. Cue Petur, and what a savior he turned out to be!

I loved the friendships and sense of community with this story. I wasn’t let down in the romance department either.

I felt like I went on an adventure with Freya and her friends, though admittedly I hate the cold so you wouldn’t catch me getting up to some the things Freya did! I much preferred snuggling up under the covers and imagining the experiences as I read about them.

I recommend you pick up this book and devour it with a hot chocolate next to an open fire!

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC copy and apologies I’m so late posting this review. I’ve been working on a little of my own Christmas magic in the form of festive short stories.

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

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Blog tour #bookreview An Escape to Provence by Sophie Claire @sclairewriter #romance #arc

I’m really excited to be part of the blog tour for the excellent book – An Escape to Provence. The paperback published 21st July 2022. I assure you, you don’t want to miss this warm and addictive read!

Blurb

Where there’s a will, can love find a way?

When cynical divorce lawyer Daisy Jackson unexpectedly inherits a ramshackle farmhouse in Provence, she sets off for the French countryside to oversee renovations herself.

But Gabriel Laforet has other ideas. A local builder with ties to the property, Gabriel is determined to see Daisy off and preserve the characterful, charming farmhouse – which, but for a missing will, he knows is rightfully his.

When the two meet, it’s clear they couldn’t be more different: Gabriel has lived in the small country village all his life; Daisy is a city girl whose career means everything. He is laid-back and messy; she is used to being in control. As they begin to work together, sparks fly. Yet they’re inexplicably drawn to each other and, in the heat of the Provence sun, secrets begin to spill. Perhaps Daisy can trust him with her carefully guarded heart after all?

But Gabriel is still searching for the missing will that proves the farmhouse belongs to him – and in doing so, risks upturning everything he and Daisy have started to build together . . . 

My Review

I love the tag line – Where there’s a will, can love find a way?

It sums up the story perfectly and gives a hint at the troubles to come. As soon as Daisy and Gabriel meet, it’s clear there’s chemistry between them but they are from different worlds and are wildly different people. Daisy is a cynical workaholic and Gabriel is a romantic who enjoys a slower pace of life. Neither of them have plans to change their views of the world and seem so incompatible despite the obvious attraction between them.

Daisy is completely single-minded in her ambition to modernise the farmhouse she’s inherited, desperate to turn it into a holiday let and return to her job in London. Gab applies underhand tactics to see her off, wanting to retain the memories of the old farmhouse which he believes should be his.

The issue of the will hangs over any budding relationship and they have other hurts that must be overcome if anything meaningful is to develop between them. I loved the slow reveals, the steamy passion, and the developing romance between them. They are perfect for each other, if only they could see it too! But they are also as stubborn as each other and refuse to acknowledge the truth even to themselves.

Gab is a swoon worthy hero and Daisy is a feisty heroine. As a reader you’re behind them all the way, willing them to see beyond their differences and grab the chance of happiness even if it means changing the future they’d originally envisaged for themselves. So much stands in the way of love, at times it seems impossible for them to reach the happy ever after they deserve.

I loved the setting in Provence, the village and the people, and inheriting an old farmhouse is on top of my wish list!

It’s an entertaining, emotional journey of self discovery and learning to open hearts and minds to others. I enjoyed every page and didn’t want the story to end. It’s a book I can’t wait to revisit and one I will be recommending to all the romance readers I know.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the bloggers on the tour. And you can see the book for yourself on Goodreads or Amazon

Thanks to the publisher for my copy of An Escape to Provence and for allowing me to take part in this blog tour.

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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 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

You can follow me on

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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

You can follow me on

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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

You can follow me on

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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

You can follow me on

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You can also join my Newsletter for writing updates and news of promotions.