It was supposed to be the perfect holiday – a group of families enjoying a week together in the sun. Four women who have been best friends for as long as they can remember making the most of a luxurious villa in the south of France.
But Kate has a secret: her husband is having an affair. And a week away might just be the perfect opportunity to get the proof she needs – to catch him in the act once and for all. Because she suspects the other woman is one of her two best friends.
One of them is working against her, willing to sacrifice years of friendship to destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined . . .
Because someone in the villa may be prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.
If you are looking for your next summer read with a few twists and turns, The Vacation might be exactly what you need. It has the perfect blend of domesticity and suspense to keep you fully engaged and entertained throughout the story.
Four friends that go back to their university days, but now have families of their own. One of the characters, Kate, finds secret messages on her husband Sean’s phone and suspects he’s been having an affair behind her back. Gradually, we are introduced to the other vacationers and begin to see how each of them is hiding something. If you are like me, you will suspect everybody and try to weed out the bad apple in this tight group of friends and their children. There are several POVs, a narrative device that allows the reader to see more of the inner motivations of the characters. There is a lot of masterful misdirection with the writer keeping you on the edge of your seat until the end of the book.
I really enjoyed the pace of this thriller. The chapters are long enough to add a twist or two to your understanding of the characters (all of whom are undoubtfully flawed) and the plot and short enough to never let it drag. Without giving you any spoilers, the ending was satisfying with the justice being served, although the lives of all characters are never going to be the same as before the French vacation.
I would definitely recommend this well-written thriller and would love to read T.M.Logan’s previous and future books.
Thank you to NetGalley and St.Martin’s Press for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
At the age of twelve, Eve Black was the only member of her family to survive an encounter with serial attacker the Nothing Man. Now an adult, she is obsessed with identifying the man who destroyed her life.
Supermarket security guard Jim Doyle has just started reading The Nothing Man–the true-crime memoir Eve has written about her efforts to track down her family’s killer. As he turns each page, his rage grows. Because Jim’s not just interested in reading about the Nothing Man. He is the Nothing Man.
Jim soon beings to realize how dangerously close Eve is getting to the truth. He knows she won’t give up until she finds him. He has no choice but to stop her first …
Clever concept masterfully executed by a superb story-teller!
This is my second book by Catherine Ryan Howard and once again I have to admire the narrative structure she chose for her thriller. The Nothing Man is a book in a book and both of them are impossible to put down!
Eve Black survived a horrifying experience of losing all her family at the age of twelve. A masked mancrept into their house and killed Eve’s mother, father and her seven year old little sister. Eve hid in the bathroom and by miracle was not noticed by the Nothing Man, a serial killer who never left any evidence behind him, no trace of DNA, no witnesses, nothing.
Jim Doyle is working as a security guard in a department store. He notices a customer with a brand new thriller and then is shocked to see the title- The Nothing Man: A Survivor’s Search for the Truth. The Nothing Man is Jim’s other name given to him by the press twenty years ago. Jim is so fascinated by Eve’s account that he buys a copy for himself going to great lengths to hide the fact. He needs to know what Eve has written and how accurate her description of his five crimes is. Jim’s eighteen year old daughter asks him to go a local bookstore where Eve is going to sign copies of her true crime memoir. This is his chance to see the writer close up and get a feel how much she really knows.
We never meet Eve in real life. All we get is her riveting book where she talks about her life after the attack, her grief for her lost family, her desire to protect her identity and avoid being pigeonholed as The Girl Who Lived, her need to get closure that can only come with finding the serial killer. Eve’s account of the past events is vivid and perfectly paced, it makes such compelling reading that we get completely immersed in her search for the identity of the Nothing Man…only to be thrown back into real life which happens whenever Jim’s reading is interrupted and he is back to his present. Very soon Jim realises he will have to silence Eve once and forever. Incredibly, she managed to find the tenuous link between the victims, the reason why they were ‘chosen’.
We do get inside Jim’s head, get to know his character, his motivations, although, mercifully, do not see the crimes themselves. Step by step, we see how unremarkable, ordinary and forgettable he is. All that remains is the pain and suffering he inflicted. Catherine Ryan Howard sets out through Eve’s book toshow that the world should pay more attention to the victims, not the serial killers.
Unusual, clever, focused, The Nothing Man is totally addictive -you won’t be able to stop reading until the last page is turned. It is extremely well-written with it’s tight plot, memorable characters, and fascinating structure. Highly recommended.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Blackstone Publishing for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
I was swept away by Roselle Lim’s debut novel ‘Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune‘. It was sweet, adorable, full of magic and delicious recipes that could give you love, tenderness, or courage, depending on what you need the most in your life. Her second novel, Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris tea shop is as exquisite as Natalie Tan.
I must say I didn’t get into the book straightaway. Vanessa seemed so withdrawn and passive, almost invisible in her loud, well-meaning, but interfering family. She has a special gift of giving prophecies, but unlike her Aunt Evelyn who is a master clairvoyant, proud of being able to help people with her unusual ability to see their future, Vanessa is terrified of burdening the others with her visions of doom and gloom. Once I heard the prophecy Vanessa was trying unsuccessfully to hold back and repress at her cousin’s wedding, I could see why Vanessa saw her gift as a curse. I also reconnected with Roselle Lim’s beautiful writing once more. The way the prophecies arrive to Vanessa… you just have to read and experience it yourself, but it is absolutely unique and magic!
Vanessa’s perpetual singledom and inability to go past a first date with any prospective romantic partner upsets and worries Vanessa’s numerous aunts (she has thirteen of them) to the extent of staging an intervention in the form of inviting a famous matchmaker from China. Madame Fong confirms something Vanessa already knew. Everybody has a match somewhere, a person they are tied to by a red thread of romantic love. Clairvoyants don’t and this is the price of their gift. Vanessa never wanted to be a fortune-teller, there’s nothing she would want more than not to have it or at least to be able to control where and when she blurts out her prophecies. If there is a person who can help her, it is her Aunt Evelyn who is about to open a tea shop in the center of Paris. Three weeks in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, full of art, history and best food possible and an opportunity to have lessons on how to control her unruly gift.
Vanessa throws herself into experiencing Paris with all her senses: art, architecture, romance, and food, oh Roselle Lim’s mouth-watering descriptions of food are the best I’ve ever read. Did I mention romance? Vanessa meets her special stranger, but there is a catch: her aunt Evelyn already predicted that Vanessa will have but a few days with her lovely Marc. Would you get into a relationship with an expiry date? Would you allow yourself fall in love knowing you your heart will be broken? Vanessa wants what she has been denied by the virtue of being born with her special talent, she wants todefy fate, she wants love:
‘Despite spilling others’ fortunes, I refused to believe fate dictated my life. I believed in revolt, in breaking away from what was imposed upon me, and my fundamental rejection of my power proved that I rejected destiny too.’
‘The future was ours to shape’.
What does it mean to be true to yourself? Vanessa’s aunt Evelyn has always followed fortune-telling rules to the letter and sacrificed her romantic relationship to be with her family. Vanessa has been working in her family accounting business for years, she has been nothing but a dutiful daughter and niece. Her gift is also something she owes to her family. With her identity being so strongly linked to her family and her place in it, even if she manages to get rid of her curse, where will it leave her?
To my delight, Vanessa manages to discover her own way of helping people and there is a happily ever after for her. This book delivers fully on its promise to take the reader on a magic adventure of self-discovery in one of the most romantic cities on the world. Can’t wait to meet Roselle Lim’s next protagonist and be spell-bound by their story.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Berkley for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
The Good Samaritan by Melynda Price Publication date: July 30th 2020 Genres: Adult, Thriller
“Only through death, can one truly experience life…” ~The Good Samaritan
With dreams of becoming an Emergency physician, resident Dr. Emma Rhodes has struggled to overcome the tragedy of her past. She’s moving on with her life and reinventing herself despite the guilt that still haunts her. Emma’s goals are finally within her grasp, and the fresh start she’s worked so hard for is hers for the taking. Or is it?
Shot in the line of duty, Detective Sawyer Gerrard owes Dr. Rhodes his life. A budding friendship with the doctor quickly ignites into a complicated relationship when a series of murders leads him to believe she’s being targeted by a serial killer. When the Good Samaritan claims yet another victim, the investigation takes a dangerous turn. The killer knows Emma’s secret and he’s toying with Sawyer, pulling them into a deadly game of cat and mouse where there’s only one rule: nothing is as it seems…
AUTHOR BIO: Melynda Price is a bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary romance. Her Against the Cage series has finaled in many awards such as the RONE, USA Today BBA, Golden Quill, National Readers’ Choice, and New England Readers’ Choice.
What Price enjoys most about writing is the chance to make her readers fall in love, over and over again. She cites the greatest challenge of writing is making the unbelievable believable, while taking her characters to the limit with stories full of passion and unique twists and turns. Salting stories with undertones of history whenever possible, Price adds immeasurable depth to her well-crafted books. She currently lives in Northern Minnesota with her husband and two children where she has plenty of snow-filled days to curl up in front of the fireplace with her Chihuahua and a hot cup of coffee to write.
After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―and the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.
The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a high school student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season Three a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing and investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.
Electrifying and propulsive, The Night Swim asks: What is the price of a reputation? Can a small town ever right the wrongs of its past? And what really happened to Jenny?
My thoughts: Content Warning: rape, sexual assault, murder
Megan Goldin knows how to choose hard to discuss topics. Last year her thriller Escape Room delved into the greedy corporation world that turns people into unscrupulous, ruthless money-making machines. Now she comes back with a new book that is as compelling and difficult to put down once you start reading it, but much more emotional and humane. The Night Swim is one of the best books I’ve read this year.
Rachel Krall is a hugely successful investigative journalist who has her own true-crime podcast Guilty or Not. The third season is going to focus on a live trialof a golden boy/ prospective Olympic swimmer Scott Blair accused of a brutal rape of K., a 16 year old granddaughter of a former police chief. Rachel knows the trial is going to be hugely controversial and we get a taste of how divided the town inhabitants’ opinions are:
‘She was drunk. Means she couldn’t consent.’ ‘he was drunk too. How could he know she didn’t consent if he was drunk? It goes both ways. Anyway, his life is ruined. what happens if some slutty girl tries to ruin my kid’s life by making stuff up?’ ‘If she says it happened, then I believe her’.
Rachel’s podcast is going to cover the witness testimony and evidence as it is given in the courtroom to let her listeners decide for themselves on whether the verdict reached by the jury is something they would agree with. However, on her way to Neapolis, North Carolina, the small town where the trial is taking place, something else happens. When Rachel comes back from her restroom break she finds a note on the windshield. The note is addressed to her directly and comes from somebody called Hannah who is begging Rachel to look into the case of Jenny Stills, Hannah’ sister, who allegedly drowned 25 years ago. The note is followed by many other letters, and soon Rachel finds herself investigating Jenny’s case, fearing justice hasn’t been served in the case of this poor girl who was brutally raped and murdered.
The chapters are told from the point of view of Hannah who is recalling the traumatic past events and who wants the truth to come out, Rachel looking into Jenny’s story and uncovering some deeply disturbing facts, and Rachel’s podcast that covers the courtroom scenes and her deliberations on the how the society deals with rape and its victims. I have to say some of the scenes were so emotionally charged and gut-wrenching that I needed to put the book down and take a breath of fresh air. Having said that, Megan Goldin deals with this painful topic with extreme sensitivity and respect.
‘You can’t save the world, Rachel’. ‘Maybe not. But I can save one person at a time.’
I really liked Rachel- she is brave, inquisitive, honest, and tenacious. We learn bits and pieces about her as the story unfolds and every single fact or detail is relevant and adds to the picture of a person with great integrity. Hannah was more elusive for me. The way she delivers her notes is sensational and stalkerish and doesn’t make much sense to me, as Rachel already started looking into Jenny’s case. Hannah needs the truth to come out to get closure. She has been given opportunities in life and, most importantly, life itself, something Jenny was robbed of. There are some horrible scenes of the abuse hurled at Jenny. Twenty five years later K. is living through the same drama, although she is to some extent shielded and protected by her family. There are also some extremely unlikeable characters in this book and after having read both The Escape Room and The Night Swim, I can vouch Megan Goldin is really good at coming up with them.
The setting was really fitting for the story. Neapolis is a small town where most people know everybody else and it is isn’t easy to find twelve ( plus one, in case one falls ill and cannot continue) jury members who don’t know or a connected to the families of the accused or the plaintiff. This is the place wherereputations are all important and money talks. Jenny and Hannah come from a family of have nots and as such, no matter what they do, they are judged harshly. K.’s case wouldn’t have even made it to the court had her family been less influential. One of the secondary characters in the book, a teenage boy is under pressure from his family to take a deal offered by the prosecution, because his family cannot afford legal expenses.
‘To tell you the truth, I don’t get how we can unanimously agree that murder is wrong, yet when it comes to rape some people still see shades of gray’.
Megan Goldin raises a lot of controversial questions such as the way the judicial system and our society in general deals with the crime of rape and sexual assault. The victim has to prove the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt, but the nature of the crime is such there are rarely witnesses and it often comes to one side’s word against the other side’s. They are both put on trial: one for the intent and actions, the other for credibility and I have to agree with Megan Goldin’s words: ‘it’s a terrible thing for a person to have to stand in judgment of another’.
If I hadn’t already been a fan of Megan Goldin’s work, I would have become one after reading this thought-provoking, compelling, well-written thriller. I can’t wait to read what topics she chooses to focus on in future.
Thank you to Edelweiss and St.Martin’s Press for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
Have you read/listened to the Night Swim? if yes, what did you think?
Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for my place on the tour for this entertaining and light-hearted book that proves that life is full of surprises!
Midlife crisis? What midlife crisis? At forty-four, Cynthia Smart is exactly where she wants to be. Almost. In a couple of years, she’ll be the CEO of the company she’s spent her most of her adult life working in. For now, though, she’s still busy shimmying up the greasy pole of corporate business. She’s single, carefree, and independent, and nothing can stop her getting what she wants and deserves.
Until she discovers she’s pregnant.
Determined to have her cake and eat it, she’s convinced that having a baby will make little difference to her life, and that she will be one of those women who can hold down an incredibly demanding job and also be a perfect mother. But as her pregnancy progresses and her life slowly falls apart, she has the sneaking suspicion that Max Oakland, the new guy on the block, is out to steal her dream job. That she’s terribly attracted to him doesn’t help, nor does the fact that he’s devilishly handsome, appears to be a really nice fella, and is good in a crisis. When she gradually comes to realise that something has got to give, what she doesn’t want it to be is her heart.
Perfect for fans of Mandy Baggott, Heidi Swain, and Holly Martin.
Life does throw us a few curveballs, and sometimes we really have to think and learn fast. At forty four, Cynthia Smart has already dedicated half of her life to Webber Corporation. She is organised, creative, and ambitious. She knows she’ll make a great CEO, because nobody knows the business better than she does and nobody is as committed to its success. Ricky Webber’s (aka the Pitbull) children are not interested, anyway. Being a woman might be a disadvantage in the corporate world, but Cynthia never shows any weakness, she just works hard, harder than any potential candidate for the coveted CEO position.
A one night stand with a Californian surfer is just a bit of fun her body and soul craves, but three months and five pregnancy tests later, Cynthia knows her life is about to change. On the same day, Ricky brings in Max Oakland to the hotel chain acquisition project Cynthia’s been working on. Is he her competition for her dream job? He is professional and always on the ball and, secretly, Cynthia doesn’t mind a bit of help, as her body has an agenda of its own and her laser-sharp focus has been less sharp than it used to be. The good-looking Max (not that she would allow herself to care) is also kind, thoughtful and unselfish.
There is something very likeable about Cynthia’s no-non-sense approach to life . She never feels sorry for herself. Quite the opposite, she loves her little bump and knows it’s the best thing that has ever happened to her. And if she needs to buy one size larger suits to hide her expanding waistline, so be it, it’s not a big deal. Cynthia faces life straight on. She plans, researches and readjusts. She may have been quite naive about the extent of changes her pregnancy and future motherhood will mean, but she is thinking carefully about her priorities and I must say her baby and spending more time with her aging mother are at the top of her list. The pregnancy experience described in the book is very realistic and many readers will relate to it. The book is very focused on Cynthia, but there are also a few great secondary characters: Maggie, Cynthia’s mother, Sally, Lana. Maggie, Cynthia’s mother is adorable. Her banter with Max was sweet and also showed an unexpected side of Max’s character who I had a bit of trouble working out. We know he is hiding something ( we need a bit of tension and suspence in the plot, really, it can’t be just about pregnancy), and yet, what we see is somebody nice. Integrity does beat good looks, in my book, but what is Max’s deal? Rest assured, in the end, we do get a lot of drama in the story. Cynthia’s Midwife Crisis is both fun and relatable and I really enjoyed spending my afternoon in company of its characters.
Thank you to Rachel and the author for the review copy I received for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.
About the author:
Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love. She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days. She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it.
Hasty by Julia Kent (Do-Over Series, #4) Publication date: July 28th 2020 Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance
AN ALL-NEW STANDALONE FROM NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR JULIA KENT I never thought my perp walk would lead to true love.Then again, I never thought I’d be arrested on RICO charges and hauled away in zip ties on camera for the world to see, minutes after closing the most amazing deal of my career.And all of it in front of my biggest viral, billionaire wunderkind Ian McRory.
I am broke. I am disgraced. I am alone. I am a sucker.
But the worst part? I have to go back to my hometown and live in my bedroom filled with relics from my childhood.
Lisa Frank never made me so mad before.
Just when I needed a rescue, I got one — in the form of help from my biggest rival. He can’t bring back my money. He certainly can’t bring back my reputation or my pride. But there’s one thing he can bring back to me. A sense of hope. Maybe even love.
Ian sees something in me no one else does, and he’s relentless about making me see it, too. As we grow closer, I’m starting to see that while my entire life used to be a lie, the truth is staring me in the present — and it’s a truth I like very, very much, hot eyes and gorgeous smile and all. But I have to be careful. I can’t be too —
That’s right. Hasty. The final book in the USA Today bestselling Do-Over Series (Fluffy, Perky, Feisty), as Mallory’s sister, Hastings “Hasty” Monahan gets her turn at a happily ever after that starts off with an arrest. Hers.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. Since 2013, she has sold more than 2 million books, with 4 New York Times bestsellers and more than 19 appearances on the USA Today bestseller list. Her books have been translated into French and German, with more titles releasing in 2020 and beyond.
From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men’s room toilet (and he isn’t a billionaire she met in a romantic comedy).
She lives in New England with her husband and three children where she is the only person in the household with the gene required to change empty toilet paper rolls.
Happy Birthday to Emily Harvale’s Summer at my Sister’s, the first book in her brand new series. Read an update from Emily who’s been busy working hard to bring this exciting project to her readers. I also have a map of the Seahorse Harbour where the stories are set and an extract from the first book. Hope you enjoy reading the post and will wish Summer at my Sister’s lots of success!
Twin sisters. One scorching summer. A bucketful of secrets. Diana’s life is perfect. Her twin sister, Josie’s – not so much.
Diana has a rich and successful husband, two talented youngsters and an adorable dog. She always looks as if she’s stepped from the cover of a magazine. Her immaculate second home by the sea, for idyllic summers with her perfect family, was actually featured in one.
Josie has a messy, compact flat, dates, but not relationships, and she can’t even keep a houseplant alive. She moves from job to job, goes clubbing with her friends and often looks as if she’s fallen through a hedge.
Although Josie loves Diana deeply, each year she declines the invitation to spend the summer with her sister. Or any other family holiday. Because Josie has a secret.
But is Diana’s life so perfect? Or is she also hiding something? When secrets are revealed this summer, everything will change. Josie could finally have the life she’s always wanted … if she’s brave enough to take a chance.
Emily writes novels, novellas and short stories about friendship, family and falling in love. She loves a happy ending but knows that life doesn’t always go to plan. Her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.
Emily loves to connect with her readers and has a readers’ group in which many have become good friends. To catch up with Emily, find out about the group, or connect with her on social media, go to her website at www.emilyharvale.com.
Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now writes full-time. She’s a member of the SoA, an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. When not writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both. Emily has two mischievous rescue cats that like to sprawl across her keyboard, regardless of whether Emily is typing on it, or not.
I apologise if you haven’t seen me on social media very much recently but I’ve been exceptionally busy working on lots of exciting stuff (technical term) 😂🤩 for my new book, my website … and a map for my new series of standalone stories set in the tiny village of Seahorse Harbour. The map will ‘go live’ on July 31st, publication day for the first in the series, which is … yep, you guessed it, Summer at my sister’s. Let me explain a bit more.
Summer at my sister’s was originally a standalone, but then I had an idea for a Christmas book, so it became a two-book series, with Book 2 featuring a couple of new characters and most of the characters from Summer at my sister’s (with me so far?) …… Then …. I had an idea for another completely separate story set in the same village (which I’m writing at the mo.) This one has new characters. So now, each story in this series will be a standalone with new characters … but as each book is set in Seahorse Harbour, you’ll be able to ‘see’ what’s going on with the characters from the previous books, because you can’t help but bump into people in a tiny village, can you?
I have to say, I LOVE THIS SERIES!!!!😍🤩💖🥰 I’ve got so many story ideas, although I’ve only written 2 of the books so far, Summer at my sister’s and the Christmas book, which is called …..
Wait for it……(no, that’s not the title)
Christmas at Aunt Elsie’s This Christmas book will be available for pre-order from early August. 💖🤩🥰😍
Did I mention that I love this series? And yes – I’m just a little bit over-excited. I can’t wait to share these fabulously feel-good stories with you. I hope you’re a little bit excited too. 🤩💖 xxx
An extract from Summer at my Sister’s This is from Chapter Three. Josie Parnell asked her taxi driver called Jonno, to drop her at The Seahorse Inn. Jonno is friends with the deliciously handsome owner, Mikkel Meloy, and they’ve just leaned into one another and slapped each other on the back. Now Mikkel turns to Josie.
‘Hi. I’m Mikkel. Mikkel Meloy. My friends call me Mik.’ He held out his hand to me and I eyed it nervously, unsure whether or not to take it. ‘You’re not going to pull me into a hug and slap me on the back, are you?’ His dark blond brows shot up and then he gave a roar of laughter as he shook his mane of golden blond hair. ‘I promise not to slap you on the back.’ His voice was strong and gravelly with just a slight trace of a Nordic accent. ‘And if you’d rather I didn’t hug you, I understand. But we’re very friendly people.’ ‘Norwegians?’ The gorgeous smile lit up the deepest blue eyes I’ve ever seen. ‘I meant in Seahorse Harbour, but yes, I’m originally from Norway and we’re very friendly there also.’ ‘I’m from London, and lately, New York. We carry pepper spray in our handbags.’ He must’ve seen I was joking because he laughed and raised both hands in the air. ‘I’ll wait until you’re ready to hug me then. Do you want a drink?’ ‘No. I’d like a pound of sausages.’ A crease formed between his brows but he soon laughed again. ‘Ah. Pretty and funny. I like that in a woman.’ ‘I’m off then,’ Jonno said, grinning. ‘If you decide you want a lift to your sister’s give me a call.’ He handed me a card. ‘It’s almost lunchtime so I’m popping home for a sarnie. I’ll be out and about again by the time you’ve had your wine.’ ‘Thanks, Jonno, but I’ll be fine. I will give you a call if I need a taxi while I’m here though.’ He waved goodbye to me, gave Mikkel a friendly slap on the arm and was gone in a matter of seconds. Mikkel slung one of my bags on his shoulder and grabbed my cases, wheeling them into the pub. ‘They’re not mine,’ I said. He stopped for a second, tutted and shook his head. ‘You like to play games,’ he said. ‘I like to play games too.’ From the look he was giving me I had a pretty good idea of the sort of games Mikkel Meloy liked to play. And most of them would involve getting naked, I suspected. I coughed to clear the images popping into my head and followed him inside. The change from bright sunlight to the dark interior soothed my eyes and meant I had to remove my sunglasses. He deposited my cases right in front of the bar and was behind it in three strides. Long, well-defined, tanned legs, gorgeous-looking bottom hidden beneath khaki shorts, manly waist and a black T-shirt stretched tight across those broad shoulders, kissed at his neck by the curled tips of that golden blond hair, made me drop onto the nearest stool, feeling a little overcome. ‘Wow!’ I said out loud, not realising I had done so. ‘Like it?’ he asked, beaming at me. For a moment I wondered how to respond and then I realised he thought I was commenting on the inside of the pub as he glanced around and held out his hands as if offering me the entire room. I quickly took in the white-washed walls, the ropes and nets and other fishing paraphernalia hanging from the black beams and the low, white-washed ceiling. The walls bore photographs of Seahorse Harbour through the ages, some sepia, some in colour, together with paintings of the sea, seahorses, or ships. And there were several ceramic seahorses on the large window sills. I’m not sure what effect he was going for but it somehow worked. ‘Very nice,’ I said, nodding my approval. The only things that hadn’t changed since I was last in The Seahorse Inn were the name, the black beams and the large fireplace in the far wall. I sat in front of that during a very cold October, many years ago with the man I loved and he told me his decision. A decision that would change my life.
Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for my place on this tour! Summer is here and it is getting more and more difficult to resist reading romance, especially when it it is as light and easy-flowing as Camilla Isley’s series First Comes Love.
Archibald Hill is handsome, single, and he’s going to his best friend’s wedding ready to make a conquest or two. After all, everyone knows weddings are the perfect setting to get lucky.
Summer Knowles used to have a life—friends, family, a sister who’d do anything for her—until she blew it all away with a terrible mistake. Now, attending her twin’s wedding as the party’s undesirable number one seems like more than she can handle. So, when a tall stranger with smoldering ice-blue eyes offers her a therapy of seven nights of no-strings-attached fun, she might even ignore that he has a beard and accept.
Problem is, Summer has never been good at keeping sex and feelings separate.
What do you do if you made a horrible mistake and in one swift motion ruined your best friend’s relationship, got practically disowned by your own twin sister and lost all your social life? Your former friends can’t stand the sight of you, your mother keeps asking ‘Why???’ and now you have to face them all at your siste’s wedding.
Summer Knowles had a secret relationship with her best friend’s Lana’s cheating boyfriend and broke Lana’s heart. It all worked out really well in the end, with Lana meeting somebody decent (and handsome) who loves and cares for her, and is much better suited for her. Generous and kind-hearted Lana forgave Summer, but not everybody did. She has been practically hiding for months, but now she needs to pluck her courage and face the consequences. Her twin sister Winter is getting married and there is no way Summer would cause her sister further pain by not being there. One thing is clear in her mind: she needs to own her mistake and make sure that she makes better choices in future. For the time being it means staying away from men. Winter’s future husband’s best man Archie should be no exception. He is clearly a player and all he can offer is uncomplicated fun. Seven nights (they can pretend there is nothing going on between them during the day) and then it’s over and they go their very separate ways with their hearts completely intact.
I liked the premise of telling the story of the shunned one, the one who broke one of the most fundamental rules of any friendship. Summer isn’t evil. Misguided, confused, lost, ashamed, embarrassed, Summer needs to forgive herself and move on with her life. Archie is really open-minded. He is Summer’s new leaf. He knows what happened, but he also sees a smart and beautiful girl who is clearly suffering. I also liked the way Winter was protective of her sister’s feelings. She knows Summer better than anybody else. Despite whatever the whole world may think, Summer’s heart can be easily broken and no-strings-casual-sex is a recipe for disaster.
There is something special about hotels. they are a liminal space where anything can happen and the events can change the course of your life forever. The same can be said about weddings: they are this special liminal time that separates two very distinct (and hopefully happy) phases of life and makes everybody look closer at their own relationships. We want to believe in love, romance, bright future and happy ever after. Having said this, the realistic (read ‘grumpy and old’) side of me agrees more with Winter. Some things were happening a bit too fast.
Camilla Isley has a lovely writing style and there was a lot of easy-going banter, so I really enjoyed this quick read. This is book six, but I think they can be read as standalones. Lovely characters, sizzling chemistry and attraction, fun, fun, fun. I would love to read the next book and get a glimpse of how Summer and Archie’s relationship works out in future.
Thank you to Rachel and the author for the review copy provided for free. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
About the author:
Camilla is an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband on an adventure abroad. She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveler, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.
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Title: I Kissed Alice Author: Anna Birch Published by: Macmillan Publication date: July 28th 2020 Genres: LGBTQ+, Romance, Young Adult
For fans of Leah on the Offbeat and Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, Anna Birch’s I Kissed Alice is a romantic comedy about enemies, lovers, and everything in between. Rhodes and Iliana couldn’t be more different, but that’s not why they hate each other. Rhodes, a gifted artist, has always excelled at Alabama’s Conservatory of the Arts (until she’s hit with a secret bout of creator’s block), while Iliana, a transfer student, tries to outshine everyone with her intense, competitive work ethic. Since only one of them can get the coveted Capstone scholarship, the competition between them is fierce. They both escape the pressure on a fanfic site where they are unknowingly collaborating on a webcomic. And despite being worst enemies in real life, their anonymous online identities I-Kissed-Alice and Curious-in-Cheshire are starting to like each other… a lot. When the truth comes out, will they destroy each other’s future?
About the author: Anna Birch is the author of I Kissed Alice. She was born ‘n’ raised in a rural area on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama. She traded thick forests and dirt roads for the heart of the city, where she lives now with her husband, three children, and dog. She loves knitting, brie, and hanging out with her family.