The Summer Seaside Kitchen (by Jenny Colgan)

Women’s Fiction / Romance

As she was growing up, Flora dreamed of escaping her life as a farmer’s daughter in a small village on Mure Island. Then when her mother died she railed against her well meaning neighbors and burnt all her bridges along the way. She left the island and moved to the city.

Three years later she is working as a paralegal for a prestigious law firm in London.

But life in the city is anything but perfect. Her job is a grind, her coworkers are hard and don’t get her and she is secretly in love with a senior partner who treats women like disposable commodities.

Then Joel, the senior partner, takes on a new client who is building a resort on Mure Island and wants to stop a wind farm spoiling his views. Flora is sent home to try and bring the locals on board but in returning she is crashing into her past. Her grief for her mother. Her father who is barely holding onto the farm and her brothers who are bitter that she left.

After discovering her mother’s journal, a hand written recipe book, she starts cooking and in doing so begins to heal the wounds of the past.


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The Summer Seaside Kitchen is one of those rare books that heals the heart. It’s a gentle love story about broken people who somehow manage to patch things up and move forward. Everything about this book is 5 Stars.

Many thanks to Hachette Australia and Netgalley for providing me with this review copy.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 10.26.54 PMYellow, Orange, Red, What it means.  YOR-Guide

Who’s Afraid? (by Maria Lewis)

Urban Fantasy

When Tommi travels to New Zealand to find her father she discovers two things. Her father is dead and she is a werewolf. And not just any werewolf, she is an alpha descended from the most powerful line of werewolves.

After being attacked by one of the local pack members she flees New Zealand and returns to her home in Scotland. But before long it becomes apparent that some of her problems have followed her home, a werewolf from New Zealand is stalking her and murdering the locals.


 

Who’s Afraid? is a little more than your typical werewolf story. It avoids the well trodden path that these books often follow, and what could have been a fairly average story actually ends up being great.

It’s not perfect. I don’t think this story really needed to be international and it might have benefitted from being set entirely in New Zealand (or Scotland). But I’ll forgive a lot in a debut and honestly Tommi is such a great heroine –– she’s the heroine that other heroines should aspire to be. She’s a kick ass confident woman who doesn’t need saving by anyone.

Screen Shot 2015-12-24 at 11.45.29 PMMany thanks the Hachette Australia and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means:   YOR-Guide

The Highlander’s Bargain (by Barbara Longley)

Historical Romance (time travel)

A Review in Two Acts

Act 1 – Robley travels to present day U.S.A.

 

In book one True to the Highlander Alethia Goodsky was cast back in time to 15th century Scotland where she was taken in by the Clan MacKintosh. While there she used her supernatural gifts as a truth seer and her modern know how to thwart an evil plan by a rival clan.

Now in book two, Robley, one of the bit players in book one with a thirst for adventure has decided he wants to travel to the future, back to where Alethia came from. He enters into a bargain with the faerie madam Giselle and finds himself in modern day Minnesota, literally landing on top student midwife, Erin. Like Alethia, Erin is descended from faeries and has some healing powers, and it soon becomes apparent that Giselle is pulling strings in her own little theatre.

What I Thought

This first section didn’t impress me all that much. Calling a spade a spade, I could easily have walked away and considered it. It strikes me that what makes a book about time travel work is in taking a modern person and putting them into a foreign situation…the past. The interest in the history behind a book can sustain it…taking a person from the past and putting him/her into a modern environment doesn’t have that going for it. I mean seeing somebody’s amazement at flushing toilets doesn’t really hold your attention for more than a minute.

So act 1 was a bust for me.


 

Act 2 – Erin Returns with Robley to 15th Century Scotland

When the faerie discover Giselle’s machinations they track down Robley and cast him back to the 15th century. But in the scuffle, Erin finds herself also cast back. While there she busies herself helping expectant mothers but with a death sentence hanging over Robley’s head they cannot get settled and any hope for a family and happiness cannot be fulfilled unless they confront Giselle.

What I Thought

This section was much better. To be honest it saved the book. It was entertaining and it was well worth getting past that first section to get to this. Unfortunately if I take the book in its entirety, that first section make what would have been a good book, just OK.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 8.51.33 pmYellow / Orange / Red –– What it means. http://wp.me/P2B7b5-9l

True to the Highlander (by Barbara Longley)

Historical Romance

On walking into a fortune teller’s tent at a renaissance festival in New York, Alethia is set a task –– to save the life of an unknown person. Then she passes out and when she wakes, finds herself in Scotland in the 15th century.

When Malcolm MacKintosh finds Alethia lying on the road unconscious he decides to take her to his clan home and to offer her protection. But Alethia, with her 21st century views and determination to fulfil her mission isn’t all that impressed with his efforts.

As old rivalries boil over into violence, Malcolm must learn to trust Alethia who holds the future of the MacKintosh clan in her hands, and as they find a measure of love, the threat of Alethia being snatched back to the 21st century looms over them.

True to the Highlander is rollicking good fun. There is time travel, a little magic, evil villains, heroes wearing kilts, and even a little bit of that old Mark Twain novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. It’s not too serious, just a fun story, well told.

Many thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 4.32.33 pmYellow / Orange / Red –– What it means. http://wp.me/P2B7b5-9l

Lingerie Wars (by Janet Elizabeth Henderson)

Contemporary Romance

When former soldier, Lake Benson finds himself the owner of a lingerie shop in a small Scottish town, he sets about destroying the competition. The competition being the lingerie shop just across the road owned by Kirsty Campbell.

Kirsty’s career as an international model was ended when she was involved in a serious car accident.  Left penniless and with both physical and mental scars she returns to her home town to rebuild her life.  Her small lingerie shop is her last roll of the dice and when Lake threatens her business she needs to learn to fight or lose everything.

Lingerie Wars is cute and quirky contemporary romance, about a woman who has been kicked to the curb but with a little help from her rival starts to regain her confidence. It’s light, fluffy and good fun.

Many thanks to Janet Elizabeth Henderson and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.