Tuesday 27 July 2021

Maybe This Time (Whiskey and Weddings #2) by Nicole McLaughlin (2018)


Jen Mackenzie has been knocked down more than a few times, but she always gets up and makes sure she has the last word. It’s the reason she now considers herself equal parts self-sufficient and free-spirit. But since losing her job and trying to help her mother beat cancer, real life―and her occasional careless choices―have begun to catch up with her. Her one saving grace: The Stag, a boutique distillery that has become Kansas City’s go-to wedding venue. The only catch: One of the owners, TJ Laughlin, happens to be the one man who somehow manages to make Jen feel inadequate.

TJ has secretly had a thing for Jen since high school. Now, as her new boss, it’s a daily struggle between revealing his feelings and wringing her beautiful neck. Only one thing is for certain: he can’t stand idly by and watch the woman he cares for struggle. She may be convinced that accepting TJ’s help is a weakness. But all he sees in Jen is beauty and strength, inside and out. As things finally heat up between them, can TJ find a way to convince Jen that love is about give and take―and having it all, together?

I'm late to this series even though this book has been on my shelf since it was published.
This is a sweet second chance romance where the two main protagonists finally manage to develop a romantic relationship after secretly being in love with each other since high school.
TJ is adorable and is the best thing about the book. Jen is a bit prickly and immature. And even though she has a kind heart but she is just not as likeable as TJ. Plus, I couldn't really understand why she hesitated so much with TJ who is much too good for her. There is plenty of drama, job and family issues for the couple to work through before they can finally get their happily ever after.
This is a sweet read and perfect for a relaxing, lazy day.

Friday 23 July 2021

Elle's A to Z of Love by Claire Huston (2021)


Elle's A to Z of Love: A feel-good, modern love story about friends, family and home

Haileybrook, a beautiful village in the peaceful Cotswolds countryside, is most people’s idea of heaven on earth.

Born and raised in this small slice of paradise, Elle Bea can’t wait to leave.

It should be easy, but every time she packs her bags for exotic adventures, old loves and loyalties pull her back.

Will Elle be forced to forget her dreams of far-flung places and epic romance, or can she grab one last chance to have it all?

An uplifting, romantic story about friends, family and the relationships that make a place a home.

A fantastic read. I just loved every minute of it. I could really relate to Elle's mismanagement of her love life but I was beginning to despair over her blindness over Adam and how close she came to completely wrecking everything with Zach. But sometimes you have to take a chance with the bad boys in order to appreciate the good when they come along. Zach was so adorable and sweet. I enjoyed their slow romance. It was quite old fashioned in a way as they spent most of it corresponding with one another.  I loved it though and it made the ending all the more rewarding and sweet.
The entire cast of characters were lots of fun. I liked how close-knit Elle's group of friends were and Toby was a firm favourite. 

My only criticism was Elle's mother who is stereotyped as a woman who didn't want children and is cold, absent and unfeeling. She doesn't have a big part in the story but she stood out for me as I have yet to see women like her portrayed as anything other than unlikeable.

This was such a beautifully told story; a feel-good romance sure to leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling.

Elle's A to Z of Love is out now 

Thursday 8 July 2021

The Gentleman's Daughter (The Gentleman Spy Mysteries Book 2) by Bianca M. Schwarz (2021)


Perfect for lovers of historical romantic mysteries.

Sir Henry, secret agent to the crown, must marry a lady above reproach to afford his illegitimate daughter entrance into society. After narrowly escaping marriage to a highborn bigot, he takes an assignment in Brighton, leading him to an abandoned abbey full of dark whispers, and a sinister secret society, the very one Henry has been investigating for three years.

Isabella is as beautiful as she is talented, but falling in love isn't part of her plans. She only wants to paint, forget her painful past, and keep her overbearing mother at bay. But gaining one's independence isn't easy for a woman in 1823, so Isabella embarks on a fake courtship with Sir Henry. Soon, love and a painting career no longer seem so utterly incompatible.

But when the man Isabella fears most kidnaps her, all appears lost. Realizing the kidnapper is part of the same organization he is investigating, Henry chases after them. Entrapped in a web of secrets, both Henry and Isabella must face old enemies, and fight for their happily ever after.

Be sure to also read the first book in The Gentleman Spy Mysteries series, The Innkeeper's Daughter

The Gentleman's Daughter is the much anticipated second novel in The Gentleman Spy Mysteries. Having read The Innkeeper's Daughter I was quite excited to read this one.
The subject matter in this series is quite dark involving sexual violence. But, the tension, sense of menace and threat, danger and suspense really leave the reader on tenterhooks and unable to put the book down.
I loved that the darker elements were offset with a lovely and sweet budding romance. Isabella and Henry make an adorable couple and I loved how sweet he was when he was trying to encourage her trust, confidence and friendship. Their romance gave the story a lighter feeling in the first half of the story. Then the excitement and suspense ramped up big time.

With a satisfying and nail-biting conclusion, this book is an all-around winner.

The Gentleman's Daughter is out now.

#TheGentlemansDaughter #NetGalley

Sunday 4 July 2021

Mystery at the Abbey Hotel (An Eve Mallow Mystery, Book 5) by Clare Chase (2021)


Eve Mallow’s stay at the luxurious Abbey Hotel takes a turn for the suspicious when the owner is murdered – leaving Eve surrounded by suspects!

Saxford St Peter is Eve Mallow’s beloved home, but she can’t resist the chance to spend a weekend in the nearby Abbey Hotel, famed for its glamorous owner Debra Moran and an array of celebrity guests. For a confirmed people-watcher like Eve, it’s perfect: she can observe the rich and famous while sipping tea in the gardens, her faithful dachshund Gus by her side.

But her relaxing break takes a shocking turn when Debra is found lying dead in the shadowy woods around the hotel. One of Eve’s fellow guests didn’t come to the Abbey for fine food and delightful décor – but to kill.

When the investigation gets underway, Eve finds herself trapped with a wide range of suspects. Could it be Debra’s new friend Harper, who inherits everything? Her ex-husband Chester, still seething over their messy divorce? Or her estranged sister Amelia, who came hoping for reconciliation, only for Debra to shut the door in her face?

As Eve roams the hotel, searching for clues and hunting down alibis, she uncovers a whole host of secrets. But can she find the truth before the killer brings her holiday to a deadly end?

The Eve Mallow Mysteries are proving to be completely addictive!
In this episode, Eve is staying at the Abbey Hotel where, unfortunately, a murder occurs. She meets a whole host of unlikeable characters and any of them could quite easily have been the murderer. It did keep me guessing.
I like it when Eve is supported by her friends and I was happy that my favourite characters were not far away in this story. Robin is becoming a firm favourite and even Gus the dog approves of him. I'm intrigued by his back story and I'm sure it will bring plenty of drama in time.

This is a really entertaining cosy mystery series and I recommend reading it from the beginning.

Thursday 1 July 2021

A Death at Seascape House (A Jem Jago Mystery book1 ) by Emma Jameson (2021)



With its sweeping sandy beaches and rolling emerald hills, the island of St. Morwenna is an idyllic escape. But behind the perfectly pruned primroses and neighbourly smiles, a killer lies in wait...

When librarian Jemima Jago is offered the opportunity to catalogue Cornwall’s largest collection of antique shipwreck records, it is a dream come true. The only problem? The collection is housed on the island of St. Morwenna, the childhood home she left years ago and vowed never to return to.

Shortly after Jem arrives back in town, island busybody and notorious grump Edith Reddy are found dead, with duct tape clamped over her mouth and nose. Jem, caught seemingly red-handed at the scene of the crime, mistakenly becomes the police’s number one suspect. The handsome Sergeant Hackman in particular can’t seem to leave Jem alone...

Jem must take matters into her own hands if she wants to clear her name. Snooping around Edith’s once-grand home, she is struck by the mess before her. The bedroom is completely ransacked, and in the living room, all the photographs have been removed from their frames. Was Edith’s death simply a break-in gone wrong, or is there more to the mystery that the police are missing?

Jem has a sharp eye for a clue, and she soon realizes that many of the island’s eccentric residents had reason for wanting Edith out of the way. Could Declan, the curious café owner, or Bart, the fishy ferryman, have killed Edith? Jem won’t rest until she uncovers the truth, but doing so will put her right in the killer’s line of sight....

A totally charming cozy mystery from the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Emma Jameson. Brimming with intrigue and warm humour, fans of Agatha Christie, Faith Martin, and Betty Rowlands will love A Death at Seascape House.

©2021 Emma Jameson (P)2021 Bookouture, an imprint of Storyfire Ltd.

A very intriguing mystery with a great cast of characters. I definitely want to read the rest of the series as it becomes available. I loved the scenes where Jem meets the new police sergeant and is completely unaware that he is a police officer. Their interactions with each other are humorous and entertaining. I'm looking forward to reading how that friendship develops throughout the series.
The mystery kept me guessing and I didn't feel like I had it figured out at all. I felt sorry for Jem as her friends and the other islanders treated her very unfairly when she was a young teen and things aren't much better for her on her return home. It will be interesting to watch the islanders mend their ways with her and accept her back into the community.
I'm hoping the next in the series will be out soon!