Book Review Chasing the Italian Dream by Jo Thomas #romance #netgalley

I received an ARC via Netgalley and enjoyed this book so much.

Blurb

A summer escape she’ll never forget . . .

Lucia has worked hard as a lawyer in Wales, aiming for a big promotion she hopes will shortly come her way. Finally taking a well-earned break at her grandparents’ house in southern Italy, the sunshine, lemon trees and her nonna’s mouth-watering cooking make her instantly feel at home.

But she’s shocked to learn that her grandfather is retiring from the beloved family pizzeria and will need to sell. Lucia can’t bear the thought of the place changing hands – especially when she discovers her not-quite-ex-husband Giacomo wants to take it over!

Then bad news from home forces Lucia to re-evaluate what she wants from life. Is this her chance to carry on the family tradition and finally follow her dreams?

My Review

I enjoyed this book from the very first page and spent many nights staying up too late reading it. The location comes alive and as always the descriptions of food and wine are perfect and make you long to share in the whole pizzeria experience (especially as I’ve eaten out once in almost a year and a half!).

The main characters in this book have their flaws – Lucia is very single-minded and can’t see what’s truly going on around her and her ex, Giacomo, shuts up and retreats when faced with problems instead of stating how he feels. At times this would irritate me, but I think that’s because it was obvious they were meant to be together and I just wanted that happy ever after moment for them to come asap.

The cast of characters were like good friends, especially Nonna and Nonno, and I shall miss reading about them.

This book is the perfect way to escape for a few hours, who can resist a romantic retreat to Italy?

You can pick up your copy now for just 99p ebook on Amazon

I have loved all of Jo Thomas’ books so far. Here are some more of my reviews if you need any persuading to give this author a try.

The Olive Branch

Late Summer in the vineyard

Escape to the French Farmhouse

Double review – Finding Love at The Christmas Market and Winter Beneath the Stars

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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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Author pen name poll – results are in! #indieauthor

I recently ran a poll on twitter to determine whether an author should have different names if they write in different genres.

It was an interesting experiment and I’m very happy the results fit with my plans to publish both fantasy and romance under the same name.

Here is the results poll…

4 people out of 20 prefer an author to have different names when they publish in different genres, whilst 7 people suggest the same name is fine. With 9 out of 20 people happy with either option, I take that as a successful result for using the same name.

So hopefully very soon, Suzanne Rogerson will be an indie author of both fantasy and romance books. I will be back soon with more news.

Thanks very much to those who have voted and commented. If you still want to have your say, please reply to this post. I’d love to know your thoughts.

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

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A quick poll on pen names. Should authors use them?

As an indie author I love the freedom I have to publish what I want, when I want. I’ve been building my platform as a fantasy author since 2015, but when we first went into lockdown in March 2020 I found myself drawn to the more light-hearted escapism of romance. This new direction has been an exciting change and I’m now planning to publish a 7 book romance series.

As I get closer to completing the first book, I’ve begun to wonder what to do about publishing in this new genre. Should I stick with Suzanne Rogerson or come up with a new name so my fantasy readers won’t mistakenly buy my romance?

I would prefer to keep all my writing under the same name, but I’m interested to get some advice from you guys. So, please take part in this twitter poll and comment in the post with your thoughts.

Thanks very much.

Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and 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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