Thursday 29 February 2024

Guest Review: A Villa with a View by Julie Caplin

Lia Bathurst had always dreamed of escaping to the white sandy beaches and turquoise blue seas of the Amalfi coast – but that dream hadn’t included meeting her real father. A father she had never even known about until a few weeks ago! Yet here she was, standing outside the gates of a gorgeous pink villa being refused entry by the insufferable – and insufferably handsome – Raphael Knight, her father’s business manager.

When an old black and white photo proves Lia’s claim to be true, Raph is determined to make sure this stranger, with her long caramel waves and infectious smile, doesn’t have an ulterior motive. Even if that means not letting her out of his sight.

As temperatures rise, and not just from the heat of the Mediterranean sun, could Lia and Raph’s forced proximity lead to something more like… amore?

Review: This book is part of Julie Caplin’s very enjoyable Romantic Escapes series, the stories in which are set in a range of different countries, with a cast of characters who often crop up in more than one story. In this book, the author transported me to the Amalfi coast of Italy, with its rugged countryside and picturesque fishing villages, as illustrated on the book’s bright cover. 

The story centres on textile artist Lia Bathurst, who is spending the summer in the beautiful village of Positano. As well as looking for inspiration for a project she is working on, Lia is hoping to meet the man she has recently discovered is her biological father. It has come as a shock to her that her mother has kept his identity secret all these years. Unfortunately, her father, Ernesto, is a famous film star and Raph, his stepson and business manager, will not allow her to contact him. When it emerges that Ernesto may well be Lia’s father, Raph is still suspicious of her motives. Afraid that Lia might be a fortune hunter, Raph keeps close to her, but can he ignore the obvious attraction that develops between them?

I loved this well-written, will-they won’t-they romance, and expect other readers will also. The story is brimming with strong, interesting and mainly likeable characters and full of scenes evoking familiar tastes and vistas of Italy. I liked Lia, a very determined, inspiring heroine searching for her true origins. I also admired Raph for his loyalty to his stepfather, but found it hard to like him for the first portion of the book when he appeared arrogant and judgemental. His fun-loving brother, Leo, injected quite a bit of humour into the book, making him a likeable character, but there was an underlying seriousness to his personality. Someone I really liked was Raph’s mother, who ably ran a large household and cooked the most delicious-sounding meals with very little effort. This was an entertaining addition to this series; I’m already looking forward hopefully to a next book.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Guest Review: The Library on Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow

Growing up in foster care, Elle Cooper always felt a piece of herself was missing. Now, as her thirtieth birthday approaches, she’s ready to find it. But when instigating the search for her birth mother leads to a whole host of unexpected events, this librarian’s quiet life suddenly gets very loud!

With new friends, old flames and surprising influences keeping Elle busy, she soon starts to see that there’s more to life than where you came from – and that where you are right now, and who you have in your corner, is what might just matter most of all…

Review: This is the 13th book in the Love Heart Lane series from this author. It was published previously as Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, and has been adapted to fit into the present series. The stories in this series feature inhabitants of the small highland village of Heartcross and the nearby town of Glensheil, each one introducing one or more new character as well as reuniting the reader with well-loved faces from previous books. All the books, including this one, can be read as a standalone story. As usual, this book contains a helpful map showing locations within Love Heart Lane that feature in the stories.

The central character in this book is librarian Elle Cooper. She loves her job in the Love Heart Lane library, where she works alongside friend Pippa, and new member of staff Aiden. Elle has had a troubled past, having been moved as a child from one foster family to another until she was finally placed in her teens with Irene, who has been like a mother to her ever since. Now, with her 30th birthday round the corner, Elle wants to try and find her birth mother, and perhaps even her father. However, Elle’s search results in a series of shocks for her that just keep on coming, and her quiet existence is suddenly transformed in more ways than one.

I have enjoyed all of the books in this series so far, but, for me, this is probably the most emotional read so far. Elle was a lovely person, and as her story emerged with each page, her amazing, strong personality was revealed. The story of her early years was quite heartbreaking to read. As you might expect from a librarian, Elle had a great love of books and a favourite author who she longed to meet, but she was unsure if she had it in her to write a book of her own. The story underlined the importance in all our lives of true friends. Elle was lucky in having so many people who cared for her, including a caring and supportive foster mother. I loved her best friend Pippa, different in so many ways from Elle, but always there ready to help out and add some humour to any situation. As with previous books in the series, the wonderful community spirit present in Love Heart Lane shone out and in addition the storyline contained a satisfying dose of romance for more than just Elle.

To order your copy now, just click here!

Tuesday 13 February 2024

January 2024 Wrap Up: How Many Books Did I Read At The Start of 2024?

I didn't realise until I put this list together that I actually read as much as I did because CL Taylor's book put me into a reading slump where I just couldn't get into anything else. I guess I just missed the thrill of her book whenever I picked up something else. Bout of Books accounts for about half of this list and then diving into Alice Oseman accounts for the other half. I'm still working my way through Alice Oseman's books but I'm really proud of this list!


Physical Books


Monday 12 February 2024

February 2024 TBR: New Book Releases and Other Audiobooks I Want To Read

I had a great start to my reading year in January and then a cewrtain thriller author (CL Taylor) put me into a reading slump with her new book Every Move You Make so I didn't read anything after that!

I'm hoping this (late) February TBR will help me get back on track because there are certainly a lot of things I want to read. I've included a couple of books that are released at the end of February that I have pre-ordered on audiobook so I may not finish them before March 1st but then there's always hope right?

I've also included a nonfiction book I want to read and I'm stil on my Alice Oseman deep dive so she will feature here too!

February Releases

February 12th

February 15th

February 29th


Alice Oseman