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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The Sixth Fire – Children of Sinai II by Clarke Nixon #bookreview #fiction

Brilliant sequel!

Blurb

Hope Meadows is now a thriving community of survivors, following the world-changing revelations made by The Fathers. They live and work together to follow the guidelines set down for a kinder, more tolerant future, and their number is growing every day.

A Ute medicine woman inherits the double-edged gift of visions of her own, and, following their confusing messages, she leads her diminished group to Hope Meadows. It becomes clear that an ancestor’s prophecy, and those of the old tribes, is to become a reality… but they come with one final warning for mankind. Their ancestors, and those of the Hope Meadows founders, are inextricably linked, and their communities must now work together to preserve the world for which they have fought.

But old enemies are gradually building their plans against them, and all too soon they realise that the solution could prove as deadly as the threat.

My Review

I loved the start of the second book where we meet and follow some new characters and see events that happened in book 1 through their eyes and the awful impact it had on their lives. I loved Rose and Joe, but I think the star of the whole book for me was Nita the medicine woman who plays a huge part in the unfolding story of the survivors. I loved her scenes with Doron too.

It was also great to be back at Hope Meadows to see how the characters are coping with the realities of their new lives. I loved meeting up with the twins again and seeing how their powers are being honed for the good of the growing community of survivors. There are plenty of shocks and surprises in book two and plenty of new revelations. It was an entertaining read.

I have to say I was sad to finish The Sixth Fire. There is plenty of scope for further books in the series, so I really hope the authors are working on a sequel right now!

I was given a ARC copy. This review is an honest reflection of my thoughts on what is a very different and entertaining series.

Check it out on Amazon

Link to review of Book 1 Children of Sinai

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

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Visions of Zarua is 5 today! #fantasy #epicfantasy #indiebooksbeseen

I have some news to share, but first…

Today I’m celebrating the 5th birthday of my debut fantasy, Visions of Zarua. It’s hard to believe I started my indie author journey so long ago!

It has been a time of ups and downs, and the best part has been getting so many positive reviews from happy readers. I don’t think you can beat that feeling.

I shared this back in January, but I do love to see how my book was brought to life. Why not give it a like on youtube and give Guy Barnes a boost – he did an epic job!

If you are interested in finding out more about Visions of Zarua, please follow these links.

Visions of Zarua – Amazon universal link

Audible and iTunes for the audiobook.

‘The author created such believable, magical worlds with wonderful characters that I didn’t want it to end. There’s everything in this story, good v evil, romance, crime, mystery, passion & fabulous magic, all put together in a wonderful writing style.’ Amazon reviewer

‘I completely recommend this, both for fans of the fantasy genre and for those of who haven’t read fantasy before. The story was great, the characters genuine and likable, and the worldbuilding fantastic.’ Amazon reviewer

This is the perfect time to share some news – there will soon be a new short story published in the world of Paltria featuring characters from Visions of Zarua! It’s part of a project I’ve been working on, lead in stories to introduce new readers to my fantasy stories and also for fans that want to read about their favourite characters. More news will follow soon…

For now you can help me celebrate the 5 year anniversary by sharing this post, writing a review if you’ve read it, or just say hi. I love to interact will fans, readers and bloggers.

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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#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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Book Review: The Sentinel’s Alliance by Suzanne Rogerson #tuesdaybookblog #fantasy #bookreview

I’m excited to share this wonderful review of The Sentinel’s Alliance, the final book in Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy. Please take a look.

The Strawberry Post

Title: The Sentinel’s Alliance (Silent Sea Chronicles #3)
Author: Suzanne Rogerson
Publisher: Independently published
Genre: Fantasy
Book format: Paperback

Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberryDescription:  Can new alliances save the islands of the Silent Sea from the murderers stalking their shores?
As the island of Kalaya and its people recover from civil war, a new threat surfaces. Invaders from the island of Elkena hunt the seas, butchering those who possess magic. Their scar-faced captain seeks the Fire Mage who it has been foretold will kill him and Tei and her people are in his warpath.
Tei and a band of Kalayans travel to Stone Haven, the home of their new allies, planning to restore magic to the dead island. But the Stone Haven Council have abhorred magic since their people were massacred by Elkenan invaders twenty years before. Commander Farrell must persuade his people to accept magic again, but his plans expose…

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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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#Tuesdaybookblog #Bookreview Fallible Justice by Laura Laakso #urbanfantasy #paranormalcrime @LLaaksoWriter

I really enjoyed my first visit to Old London and meeting with so many interesting characters.

Blurb

In Old London, where paranormal races co-exist with ordinary humans, criminal verdicts delivered by the all-seeing Heralds of Justice are infallible. After a man is declared guilty of murder and sentenced to death, his daughter turns to private investigator Yannia Wilde to do the impossible and prove the Heralds wrong.
Yannia has escaped a restrictive life in the Wild Folk conclave where she was raised, but her origins mark her as an outsider in the city. Those origins lend her the sensory abilities of all of nature. Yet Yannia is lonely and struggling to adapt to life in the city. The case could be the break she needs. She enlists the help of her only friend, a Bird Shaman named Karrion, and together they accept the challenge of proving a guilty man innocent.
So begins a breathless race against time and against all conceivable odds. Can Yannia and Karrion save a man who has been judged infallibly guilty?

Firstly I’d just like to admire the cover, it’s so well designed and even though its dark it really stands out and draws the eye.

This book has some of my favourite elements, magic and mystery, in a modern day setting with a difference. There is so much depth to the character, her past, and the magic system in this world that it draws you in. I love the peppering of details that help you understand Yannia and her past, and I can’t wait to discover more about in the books to come.

I loved the magic in this book, in particular how Yannia can call up the senses of other animals and use them to see the world around her. There is also her daily struggle to live away from the natural magic, her pain is very well portrayed and makes you care for the character even more. There are lots of colourful yet mysterious characters that help Yannia along the way and I hope they will feature more in future books.

The crime itself is an interesting one. P.I’s are a personal favourite of mine and I just loved investigating this impossible crime with Yannia. The whodunit moment was great and the realisation of how the crime was committed completely surprised me.

It’s a great first book of what I’m sure will be an entertaining series with characters and a magic system I can’t wait to discover more about. So far there are 3 books in the series but I believe there are more to come.

I noticed it’s currently only 99p on Amazon. I recommend picking up a copy now. Let me know what you think.

Check out Fallible Justice on ; Amazon and Goodreads.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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Writer Get Noticed! by Colleen. M. Story #tuesdaybookblog #bookreview #howtoguide #writers

Do you sometimes feel that you are getting lost in the sea of books and authors out there? Then Writer Get Noticed! is the book for you! Before I share my review, here’s the blurb…

Blurb

Stop feeling invisible and start attracting the attention you deserve.

Have you been writing for years, but feel like no one notices? Have you published your stories, only to gain a handful of readers? Do your marketing efforts feel like shouting into a void?

Veteran writer and motivational coach Colleen M. Story helps you break the spell of invisibility to reveal the author platform that will finally draw readers your way.

There are more books out there than ever before, and readers have many other things vying for their attention. A writer can feel like a needle in a haystack, and throwing money at the problem rarely helps. What does work is creating a platform that stands out, but in a sea of a million platforms, how is one to do that?

Writer Get Noticed! takes a new approach, dispelling the notion that fixing your writing flaws and expanding your social media reach will get you the readers you deserve. Instead, discover a myriad of strengths you didn’t know you had, then use them to find your author theme, power up your platform, and create a new author business blueprint, all while gaining insight into what sets you apart as a writer and creative artist.

Writers need readers to achieve their highest potential. Find your way to stand out, and let it lead you to the writing career that fulfills all your expectations and more. 

In this motivational and inspiring book, you’ll learn:

•Why improving your writing skills isn’t enough.
•Why it’s critical you discover your strengths…and how to do so.
•What’s stopping you from finding the readers who love your work.
•What you really want from writing and why that matters.
•Easy methods to help you build a more successful author platform.
•What truly motivates you and how to use that to succeed.
•The author theme that unites your creative work and fits your style.
•How imposter syndrome can stall your progress, and how to overcome it.
•How to make better decisions about your writing career as a whole.

When you find the treasure that’s been inside you all along, don’t be surprised if it opens new doors you never thought possible.

colleen story

My Review

This is an intense book that helps you discover a lot about yourself as a writer and makes you think about your goals. Armed with this knowledge you can focus on your author platform and work towards your strengths. The book helps you discover those strengths and use them to come up with your author theme and mission statement. It uses questionnaires and journalling to help you reach deep and discover not just what motivates you, but also your decision making processes and how you can use them to your advantage.

It’s a book to take time over. You need to sit quietly and answer the questions honestly to get the most out of the tasks the book sets you. I really enjoyed the opportunity to focus on my goals, something that often gets lost with so many looming deadlines. Another highlight of the book was making me focus on my strengths and achievements so far.

The questions are backed up by research and well presented facts. As well as the soul searching questionnaires, and multiple choice questions in this book, there are also many examples of other writers’ stories, which are often touching and always inspirational.

Writer Get Noticed! is an in-depth book I think many writers can learn from.

Check it out on Goodreads and Amazon

I also highly recommend Colleen’s book Overwhelmed Writer Rescue, here’s my review.

Note – I received an arc copy of Writer Get Noticed. A big apology to Colleen Story as I have been meaning to review this great book much sooner, but writing and editing deadlines got in the way. I hope to put all I have learnt about myself and the direction I want to take my career into action very soon.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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#Tuesdaybookblog City of Lies by Sam Hawke #bookreview #fantasy @samhawkewrites

I was so lucky to have won a signed hardback edition of City of Lies last year. It’s taken me too long to get around to reading it, but now I’m really happy to share my review of this debut book, which is bloody brilliant!

First here is the blurb…

I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me… 

Outwardly, Jovan is the lifelong friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible Heir. Quiet. Forgettable. In secret, he’s a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellor’s family from treachery. When the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect the Heir and save their city-state.

But treachery lurks in every corner, and the ancient spirits of the land are rising…and angry.

city of lies

My mini review

From the very first line, I knew I would like this book, and I did. I really liked it! It had everything I could want in a book; mystery, intrigue, murder, assassins, love, relatable characters… I could go on.

I loved both the main characters, Jovan and Kalina, and enjoyed how the story was told from their POV in alternating chapters. I also loved the short notes on poisons, the affects and the proofing tells at the start of each chapter. That was a master touch.

The world Sam Hawke created was fascinating, especially the different rules that shaped every aspect of the characters lives and drove the plot of the story. I loved how the reader is often as in the dark as the characters about who to trust, constantly thinking you’ve solved who the big enemy is only to be led in another direction completely.

Towards the end the stakes were so high, the characters in such peril it felt like it couldn’t get any worse, but it did, again and again. This book felt like a masterclass on how to ramp up the tension and hook your reader, and I loved it.

I can’t believe this was a debut book; it was just so well told. This is definitely a book I wish I had written and I cannot wait for the next book to come out later in the year.

5 stars all the way for this book.

Check it out on Goodreads

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of heroically epic fantasy

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