The Last Embrace by Pam Jenoff book review

THE LAST EMBRACE

The Last Embrace by Pam Jenoff, Publisher: MIRA, is out in ebook format 30th July and out in paperback on 13th August 2015.

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Embrace-Pam-Jenoff-ebook/dp/B00U1J9GTQ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1438163467&sr=1-1

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Forbidden love in the time of war, this is essential reading for fans of emotional historical romance, perfect for fans of Katie Flynn and Maureen Lee.

August 1940 and 16-year-old refugee Addie escapes Fascist Italy to live with her aunt and uncle in Atlantic City. As WW2 breaks, she finds acceptance and love with Charlie Connelly and his family.

But war changes everything: secrets and passions abound, and when one brother’s destructive choices lead to the tragic death of another, the Connelly family is decimated, and Addie along with them.

Now 18, she flees, first to Washington and then to war-torn London where she is swept up with life as a correspondent. But when Charlie, now a paratrooper, re-appears, Addie discovers that the past is impossible to outrun. Now she must make one last desperate attempt to find within herself the answers that will lead the way home.

poppies clipart

This is the first book I’ve read by Pam Jenoff and I’d like to thank the publishers and netgalley for an arc in return for an honest review.

This story was so heart wrenching and tragic but also romantic and sensual.  I was gripped with the story from start finish.

It was the summer of 1940 and a young girl was forced on a ship by her parents to escape the war in Europe to find safety thousands of miles away in America under the naïve watchful eyes of her Aunt and Uncle.  Adelia was just 16 when she fled Italy.  She was all alone on the ship that took days to travel to the states.  Her fears of what lies ahead were almost overshadowed of her fears for her parents and what was left behind for them to survive.  Adelia arrived in the states as an outsider and struggled to make friends until her aunt, uncle and herself went to stay at their summer apartment by the sea.  Adelia became curious of the family that had moved into the adjoining house, a mother with four boys.  Charlie the eldest was a little older than Adelia, Jack and Liam (twins) were about the same age as her and little Robbie was a few years younger.  The boys soon included Addie, the name they preferred to call Adelia, in their games and she soon became a regular visitor to their household.

Life was pretty sweet for Addie and the Connally boys but with the war escalating in Europe and America gearing up to get involved the boys, with Charlie most keen, were eager to learn more and be prepared to join up and do their bit.

Addie had built up wonderful, individual friendships with all the boys however, one of the boys held a special place in her heart.  An utterly tragic incident changed the course of events for the Connallys and Addie.  This tragedy was of such a magnitude its unimaginable to think of how they will all recover from it.  Lives are turned into different directions and war beckons both directly and behind the scenes for a few of the characters.  Addie and the boys have to grow up very quickly.

What follows is a wonderful, poignant, heart wrenching, gripping, love story that spans across America and Europe. The author, Pam Jenoff, takes you on a journey which leaves you gasping for air during the air raids and makes you feel like you have time warped into WWII war torn London.  I’ve read many books so far this year but this story has moved to one of my top 3 favourites.  A beautiful cover that leaves you swooning for old fashioned courtship.  I will definitely check out Pam Jenoff’s back catalogue.

A heart wrenching, poignant, gripping 5/5* love story.

I’d like to share a couple of paragraphs from the novel that I particularly liked …

“Twenty minutes later I boarded a bus bound for London and paid the driver my fare.  We pulled away from the devastation of the coast.  Sheep grazed the withered hills, the landscape nearly untouched.  But as we neared the city, I could understand why the immigration officer had been incredulous at my coming here.  At home the war had been big posters in the train stations exhorting people to buy war bonds, grainy newsrools at the cinema.  Aside from Todd Dennison getting killed, it had been almost unreal.

But here the war was everywhere, inescapable.  In London’s outer boroughs like Richmond and Twickenham, the devastation was more sporadic, a house crushed here or there, as though perhaps a tree had fallen on it.  Amidst the wreckage, people were doing strangely ordinary things, going to work and putting out the garbage and hanging wash on the line.”

To find out more about Pam Jenoff and her books please visit the following links:

http://pamjenoff.com/

https://www.facebook.com/PamJenoffauthor

https://twitter.com/PamJenoff

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Fifty Shades of Roxie Brown by Lynda Renham book review

50 shades of roxie brown

Fifty Shades of Roxie Brown by Lynda Renham, publisher Raucous Publishing is out now in ebook.

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fifty-Shades-Roxie-Romantic-Comedy-ebook/dp/B010GNOZ92/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438115289&sr=8-1&keywords=fifty+shades+of+roxie+brown

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Roxie Brown loves erotica and her friend, Sylvie, loves crime … novels of course. On a girls’ night out they meet The Great Zehilda, the tea leaf reader, and suddenly Roxie’s Fifty Shades fantasies about her millionaire boss, Ark Morgan, look about to become a reality. But then she looks through the telescope and her life is turned upside down. Roxie and Sylvie, with help from Sylvie’s flatmate, Felix, set out to crack the case. Can Ark Morgan save her or is he the man she should be running from? Then enter Sam Lockwood and her heart is shot with another arrow. Come with Roxie Brown on her hilarious crime-busting romantic adventure and discover if the love of her life is the man of her dreams or if the man she loves is her worst nightmare.

detective-clip-art-201023

I’d like to thank the author, Lynda Renham, for an arc in return for an honest review.

Firstly, when you see the covers of any of Lynda’s romantic comedy novels they instantly make you smile as they are quirky, bright, fun covers.  This is exactly what you get in Lynda’s stories.  I was so excited to hear from Lynda that she had a new novel due out, the title of the book amused me and the synopsis sounded like such fun.

Roxie Brown is a chambermaid for a big hotel chain owned by Ark Morgan.  Roxie has a bit of a fatuation with a certain erotica book and also her boss, Ark.  Her daydreams sometimes get confused with fantasy and reality with very funny consequences.  Roxie is unlucky in love and one day by chance she witnesses a murder.  She panics and decides that the best thing to do is tell her best friends; Sylvie a crime novelist fan and Felix who can’t resist a bit of drama.  The calamitous trio decide to investigate the murder with some very wonderful, amusing, mad cap moments.

During all the detective shenanigans Roxie catches the eye from two sexy men, what timing!  The man of her dreams, Ark Morgan, and a rather, handsome, cheeky stranger Sam Lockwood who so happens to be a business rival of Arks.

I adored Roxie’s character, she was fun, ditsy, optimistic, a dreamer.  I so wanted the Cinderella moment for her, but you’ll have to read the novel to find out who or if she had a knight in shining armour.  Sylvie and Felix made a fantastic duo, brilliant character creating with these two.

This was such a fun filled novel.  It was a little crazy and far fetched but I loved it like this, it was true escapism.  I love how Lynda took us on a journey which we could laugh out loud with Roxie and her friends.  The journey had many bumps and emergency stops, it was full of catastrophes and drama.  It was full of fabulous humour with some truly great one liners.  Had delightful and gorgeous characters and also some despicable ones.  A laugh out loud 5/5* romantic comedy that will leave you recalling funny lines in days/weeks to come.

To find out more about Lynda Renham and her books please visit the following links:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynda-Renham/170503619694017?fref=ts

http://www.renham.co.uk/

The Confectioner’s Tale by Laura Madeline book review

the confectioners taleThe Confectioner’s Tale by Laura Madeleine published by Transworld Publishers is available NOW in ebook format and paperback.

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Confectioners-Tale-Laura-Madeleine/dp/1784160725/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1437912643&sr=1-1

Product Details (as per amazon page)

At the famous Patisserie Clermont in Paris, 1909, a chance encounter with the owner’s daughter has given one young man a glimpse into a life he never knew existed: of sweet cream and melted chocolate, golden caramel and powdered sugar, of pastry light as air.

But it is not just the art of confectionery that holds him captive, and soon a forbidden love affair begins.

Almost eighty years later, an academic discovers a hidden photograph of her grandfather as a young man with two people she has never seen before. Scrawled on the back of the picture are the words ‘Forgive me’. Unable to resist the mystery behind it, she begins to unravel the story of two star-crossed lovers and one irrevocable betrayal.

Religieuse confection

I’d like to thank the publishers and netgalley for an arc in return for an honest review.

I adored this book, foodie romantic fiction is one of my favourite genre’s so when I read the synopsis I was hooked already.  The story is set in two time frames; 1909/1910 Paris and 1988 England.  We are first transported to 1988 when Petra, the granddaughter of the late historian, author and critic J.G. Stevenson, is angered by the news of her grandfather’s life to be criticised and ripped apart by Simon Hall, biographer.  Simon Hall hints of a scandal he has unearthed which deeply unnerves Petra even more.  Her grandfather was like a father to Petra and she couldn’t bear to think of any misgivings in his past.  Petra discovers an old photograph of her grandfather with two other people.  On the back of the photograph are just two words, ‘Forgive me’.  Petra is desperate to unravel this mystery before the biographer does.

Back in 1909 we are introduced to Gui and Nicolas, two young men looking for work in the rail yards.  A brief encounter with a young woman enchants Gui and he couldn’t get the image of her out of his mind.  Gui by chance happens upon this young lady again and finds out she is Jeanne Clermont, the daughter of the owner of Patisserie Clermont. Gui realises that they are both from different worlds, himself from a poor working background, Jeanne from a well to do family with a reputable business.  Gui is also captivated by the stunning, exquisite creations from the patisserie and soon falls in love with both the art of the confection and the beautiful Jeanne.

What follows is a wonderful story of forbidden love, betrayal, secrets, discovery of an artform in the wonderful creations of French patisserie.  How Laura described the creations made by the chefs sounded exquisite and breathtaking and very delicious.  I loved Gui’s character.  He was a very strong and determined character but also had a lot of faith and compassion.  I enjoyed the throwbacks to the early 1900s Paris, hard times for many struggling to survive.  These times sounded very dark and I believe Gui’s discovery of Patisserie Clermont was like finding a ray of sunshine in between all this darkness.  I felt for Petra, I’m sure I too would feel so enamoured to find out the truth behind her grandfather’s life.

A wonderful, mysterious love story 5/5* story.  I look forward to more from Laura Madeline.

I’d like to share one of my favourite snippets from the book:

confectioners tale snippet

To find out more about Laura Madeline and her books please visit the following links:

http://lauramadeleine.com/

Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm by Rebecca Raisin book review

secrets at maple syrup farm

Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm by Rebecca Raisin is available in ebook format from TOMORROW Friday 17th July 2015.

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Secrets-Maple-Syrup-Farm-Lifetime-ebook/dp/B00OQD8HNY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1437059253&sr=8-1&keywords=secrets+at+maple+syrup+farm

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Lucy would do anything for her mom…but she never expected to end up promising to leave her. After her mom got sick, Lucy dropped everything to take care of her, working all hours in a greasy diner just to make ends meet and spending every spare moments she had by her mom’s hospital bedside.

Now, Lucy is faced with a whole year of living by her own rules, starting by taking the first bus out of town to anywhere…

Except she didn’t expect to find her next big adventure just around the corner! Especially when on her first day in town she bumps into grumpy, but oh-so-delicious Clay amidst the maple trees. Surrounded by the magic of Ashford, Lucy has the chance to change her life forever and finally discover a life she wants to live!

Fall in love with Ashford, Connecticut in this dazzling and beautiful romance from bestselling author Rebecca Raisin.

black n white maple leaf clipart

I’d like to thank the author Rebecca Raisin, Carina UK and netgalley for an arc in return for an honest review.

Lucy has been run ragged working double shifts in the diner so she can pay the rent and also the hospital fees for her seriously ill mother.  She doesn’t find this routine a chore, it’s just what is needed at this moment in time.  However, her passion is art, especially painting, and her dream would be to further her learning at The Van Gogh Art Institute in Paris.  Her mom asks her for one favour and that is to take a year off from the daily routine of working and looking after her and to travel and apply to the Art Institute in Paris to pursue her dream.  Lucy reluctantly agrees and promises her mom she will have an adventure for a year.  She packs her bags, catches the first bus and ends up in the sleepy town of Ashford, Connecticut.  The town is very warm and welcoming to Lucy and she soon makes friends.  However, she needs to find a job asap to help save for her Art course and also to send money back home for her mom.

On the outskirts of the town is a rundown farm, Maple Syrup farm.  Lucy finds out that the new owner of the farm is looking for a farm hand.  Lucy has never worked on a farm, but wonders how hard can it be?  She sets off to introduce herself to the new owner and is immediately met with a moody, hunk of a man named Clay.  Sparks fly immediately between them but they agree on a trial for Lucy to work on the farm.

What follows is a wonderful tale of friendship, new beginnings.  A tale of a mysterious history of the farm and it’s previous and present owner.  A tale of community spirit.

I loved all the characters from the story.  Ceecee and Lil sounded so warm and friendly and Rebecca first introduced us to them in her Gingerbread Café series.

Clay, the moody ‘love god’ sounded gorgeous even with his moodiness.  I’d love to hear more from Rebecca with a follow up to Lucy and Clay’s growing friendship.

At the end of the novel we are given a glimpse into Rebecca’s next book; The Little Bookshop on the Seine.  This follows the story of Sarah the bookshop owner from the town of Ashford.

I really can’t recommend this book enough and I need to catch up with Rebecca Raisin’s back catalogue with the wonderful characters from Ashford, Connecticut.  A gorgeous, warm hearted, romantic 5/5* read.

I’d like to share a little snippet from the book.  This particular paragraph is really beautiful and I could picture the scene in front of me.

quote secrets at maple syrup farm

To find out more about Rebecca Raisin and her books please visit the following links:

http://www.rebeccaraisin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaRaisinAuthor

Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin book review

FAIRYTALE BEGINNINGS

Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin is out NOW in ebook format and paperback.

To buy link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fairytale-Beginnings-heartwarming-romantic-comedy-ebook/dp/B00XY630U4/ref=la_B00DTUNB5E_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436258271&sr=1-1

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Hopeless romantic Milly Rose has had her fair share of heartbreak. Obsessed with all things Disney, she refuses to give up on finding her Prince Charming – he’s out there somewhere, isn’t he?

When Milly is given a job to investigate the origins of a historical building in the village of Clover’s Rest, she’s not sure what to expect. What she discovers takes her breath away – a beautiful real life Cinderella castle, complete with turrets, a magnificent drawbridge AND a very handsome owner…Cameron Heartstone.

As Milly and Cameron begin to unearth the secrets of Clover Castle, they can’t ignore the intense chemistry building between them. But they’ve both been hurt badly before. Can they take a big leap of faith and find their own happily-ever-after?

fairytale castle clipart

I’d like to thank the publishers, author and netgalley for an arc in return for an honest review.

Can you remember the emotions you felt while watching a Disney movie?  The heartwarming friendships, the despicable villain, the funny adventures, the wonderful ‘aww’ moment at the end.  Holly Martin has managed to replicate these feelings and more in this delightful romance, Fairytale Beginnings.

Milly works for Castle Heritage as a historian visiting rundown historical properties whose owners are looking for financial assistance to help maintain their properties.  Milly isn’t your typical historial, firstly she has pink tipped blonde hair, loves dresses and sparkly converse shoes (which I think I need!).  She brings a touch of sparkle and vitality to the company.  She is given the task to visit the new owner of Clover Castle.  Her first impressions of the beautiful turreted castle make her gasp at its Disney-esque beauty.  However, the sight of the new owner, Cameron Heartstone, a sexy rugged mysterious man bring out other emotions in Milly.  A mutual sexual sparkle between Milly and Cameron is evident pretty soon from their first meeting however, they are both reluctant to pursue a relationship due to heartbreak in the past.

I loved the description of this unique castle and it’s history; it had some very colourful and charismatic previous owners.  Milly and Cameron have some fun delving into Clover Castle’s heritage.  However, someone from the past and present causes chaos for the pair.

This was a delightful story that had some wonderful magical qualities to it, I love abit of make believe … but is it really make believe?!  At the end of the novel I felt myself ‘sighing’ with adoration at this charming, magical, sexy story.  5/5*

To find out more about Holly Martin and her books please visit the following links:

https://hollymartinwriter.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/hollymartin00

https://www.facebook.com/hollymartinauthor?fref=ts

Queen of Fire: Raven’s Shadow book 3 Anthony Ryan book review

Queen of fire

Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan is book 3 in the Raven’s Shadow trilogy is available now in ebook format and hardcover.

To buy links: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Queen-Fire-Book-Ravens-Shadow/dp/035650249X/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1436120492&sr=8-1

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Queen Lyrna has survived the bloody siege of Alltor. Now she must rally her troops and take back the capital from the Volarian invaders. But driving her hated enemy out of the Realm will not satisfy her lust for vengeance – she wants to pursue them across the ocean and burn their empire to ashes. To do so, she must place her faith in the Seventh Order: men and women who wield terrible powers, born of the Dark itself.

Vaelin Al Sorna would sacrifice his life for his queen – and may yet have to. Only by unmasking the Volarians’ mysterious Ally can the tide of war be turned. To this end, Vaelin must travel deep into the icebound north, in search of a man who cannot die – and he must do it without the aid of his blood song, which has fallen ominously silent . . .

IMG_1234I’d like to thank the publishers for an arc in return for an honest review.  I’d also like to thank Mr Kraftireader for reading this novel and providing a review.

Overview

After fighting back from the brink of death, Queen Lyrna is determined to repel the invading Volarian army and regain the independence of the Unified Realm. Except, to accomplish her goals, she must do more than rally her loyal supporters. She must align herself with forces she once found repugnant—those who possess the strange and varied gifts of the Dark—and take the war to her enemy’s doorstep.

Victory rests on the shoulders of Vaelin Al Sorna, now named Battle Lord of the Realm. However, his path is riddled with difficulties. For the Volarian enemy has a new weapon on their side, one that Vaelin must destroy if the Realm is to prevail—a mysterious Ally with the ability to grant unnaturally long life to her servants. And defeating one who cannot be killed is a nearly impossible feat, especially when Vaelin’s blood-song, the mystical power which has made him the epic fighter he is, has gone ominously silent.

What are the best points of the story, firstly the author goes all out and lays out all the revelations that are related to the Ally and his machinations. He states where exactly he came from, what did he do to gain his powers and what lead to the Volarians being the blood thirsty lot that they are shown to be. Anthony Ryan leaves nothing behind with regards to the magic system, the hinted secrets of the world’s past and plot revelations such as who is Caenis truly and what does he know.

I found it a very gripping and interesting read, even from the very first page when the Queen wakes up in the snow. The only thing that I found difficult was understanding some of the references as I haven’t read any of the previous books. Regardless of that though, I am most definitely purchasing the first two books as it seems an amazing trilogy.

To find out more about Anthony Ryan and his books please visit the following links:

https://anthonystuff.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/writer_anthony

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/r/anthony-ryan/

Side Swiped by Lia Riley book review

side swiped

Sideswiped is available now in ebook format and paperback.  Publishers Piatkus.

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sideswiped-Off-Map-Lia-Riley-ebook/dp/B00N9AVCVY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436015825&sr=8-1&keywords=sideswiped+lia+riley

Product Details (as per amazon page)

It was only meant to last the summer . . .

Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless NorCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that’s what she’ll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.

Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he’ll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can’t stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won’t give up without a fight-because while time may have limits, their love is infinite . . .

IMG_1234I’d like to thank the publishers for an arc in return for an honest review.

This is the second instalment in the Off the Map series however, I haven’t read Upside Down, the first in the series, but I quickly got into the characters and found that the book could be read as a standalone novel until I got to the cliff hanger at the end! I am now desperate for Inside Out the third instalment.

Lia Riley is a relatively new author but her style of writing is very descriptive and very addictive. This story is about the unexpected bolt of love and lust that hit Talia and Bran when they first met whilst Talia spent a short time overseas in Australia for her college work. The second instalment of this series follows Talia as she leaves home in the States and moves to Australia for 4 months to be with Bran and to finalise her college work. Both Talia and Bran have suffered emotionally in the past and are trying to move on and are desperate not to make any mistakes. Talia suffers with OCD and Bran ‘gets her’ he knows and understands the signs. With the date of Talia’s visa coming to an end Bran comes up with a solution to keep them together. Can their love and desire for each other be enough to hold them together. The young couple have so much growing up to do both mentally, physically and emotionally.

This was such an addictive, sexy read. The angst they shared was beautiful and heartbreaking. I loved it. I’m desperate to read more from this series.

To find out more about Lia Riley and her books please visit the following link:

http://www.liariley.com

https://www.facebook.com/authorliariley

https://twitter.com/liarileywrites