Sunday, October 22, 2017

The D.B. List by Rebekah L. Purdy

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Review by Suze

Ellie has been admitted to the Lovely Soul Institution. She's given in to the darkness inside of her and in the institution they're trying to make her heal. Her therapist asks her to make two lists, one of the good things in her life and one of the bad, the D.B. List. On the D.B. List she's supposed to write down the events that lead to the moment it all became too much. There are many people who deserve a place on the list, bullies, family and guys she used to date. Will putting her feelings on paper help Ellie to feel better?

While being in the Lovely Soul Institution Ellie makes friends and enemies. She forms deep, possibly lifelong, connections. Visiting hours are torture at first, but then she meets two guys who cheer her up. One of them is the brother of one of the other residents and the other is a resident himself. Are they good guys? Can Ellie trust her own judgement and will she be able to learn from her past, even though reliving it is one of the hardest things she's ever done?

The D.B. List is an impressive story about mental illness. Ellie feels broken inside because of several things that happened to her. My heart ached for the girl who was just looking for love, but received something completely different. Even though Ellie wanted to give up at first, she's trying to become stronger now. I admired her courage to face the most scary and painful moments of her life. It's something incredibly hard and she keeps trying to make progress. She's a sweet and talented girl, someone with so much promise, but due to people who were bad for her she couldn't see the good parts of herself any longer. Reading her story and knowing that many (young) people feel the same way brought tears to my eyes.

 I loved how Rebekah L. Purdy writes about Ellie's struggle in a realistic, honest and raw way. Being in an institution isn't easy. There are rules, not every patient will improve, not every situation is a good one and getting better requires a lot of hard work. Even though the subject matter is heavy Rebekah L. Purdy makes sure there's enough lightness in her story as well. There's love, friendship and hope, which is what makes Ellie's stay bearable in the first place. Her story immediately grabbed me and didn't let me go. I read it in one sitting and loved every single page. I highly recommend The D.B. List, it's a beautiful must-read.


If you're looking for a good YA story about mental health problems The D.B. List would be a perfect choice.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Book Review - Girl in Trouble by Rhoda Baxter

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Review by Suze

Olivia is independent, she can provide for herself, she has a nice apartment and she's perfectly content on her own. That changes when she meets researcher Walter. Walter likes Olivia's tomboy style and he isn't afraid to ask her to remove much feared spiders from his apartment. They have a connection, but life is complicated. Walter's ex-wife is moving to America and she's taking Walter's daughter with her and Olivia accidentally got pregnant by a man who proves to be a jerk. Walter would love to be there for Olivia and the baby and become a family, but is Olivia interested in that? Will he be able to win the heart of the most self-sufficient person he knows?

Girl in Trouble is a fascinating romantic story. Rhoda Baster writes about smart people and I always love her main characters. Olivia can stand up for herself and she's fierce and self-reliant. Her father's absence from her life has made her wary of men and she thinks she doesn't need anyone, but she doesn't know what she misses until she meets Walter. Walter is a sweetheart. He sometimes stumbles through emotional situations, but he's honest and sincere. I loved his personality and I liked how Walter and Olivia complete each other. She can sometimes be a little too hard and he can be a bit too soft, so they complement one another beautifully. For me that was the biggest strength of the story, something I absolutely loved. It's a unique connection that I enjoyed reading about very much.

Rhoda Baxter writes about complex situations in an open understandable way. I like that about her stories. She's honest and her main characters have real problems and flaws. They have to work through them and this process makes them grow as a person. I really loved that Walter and Olivia discover so much about themselves and slowly adjust their believes and behavior because of what they've learned. It's impressive to witness and Rhoda Baxter combines it with wonderful romance, which made me love their story even more. Girl in Trouble is a fantastic book.


If you love romantic stories about smart main characters you will definitely like Girl in Trouble.

Jane Austen Mugs & Tote Bag Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice tote bag, books by Jane Austen mug and Persuasion quote mug made by Miss Bohemia. Good luck! 

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Book Review - False Lights by K.J. Whittaker

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Review by Suze

Napoleon has won the battle of Waterloo and the Duke of Wellington has been captured. Josephine has the power in England, that is now occupied by the French. Hester, a young dark skinned heiress has escaped the French, who want to sell her as a slave, and is now at the mercy of Crow, Wellington's former intelligence officer. Crow's brother Kitto is in trouble because of his love for explosives and it's up to Crow to get him out of it again. Will he succeed and keep them all safe?

In a country that's being ruled by the French Crow and Hester need to fight for their freedom. The Duke of Wellington has to be liberated from his captors, but where is he? There are traitors everywhere and some are nearer than expected. Will Hester and Crow manage to keep themselves alive and will they be able to play their part in freeing England from the French while their personal connection keeps getting stronger?

False Lights is a great what-if story. I loved the idea behind it very much. Napoleon is victorious and the English have a huge problem. There are only a few people who can reverse the situation, but not all of them are loyal to the people they're supposed to be loyal to, which is something that kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved the main characters of False Lights, especially Hester. She's fierce, stubborn, resourceful, resilient and incredibly smart. It's a difficult time for her to live in. She isn't an accepted member of society because of the color of her skin, but instead of being defeated she fights it and is superior to everyone who's cruel to her, which is something I absolutely loved.

K.J. Whittaker's writing is crude, raw and honest. It's fabulously fitting for the time frame. Rudeness, filth, cruelty and hate are part of daily life and K.J. Whittaker describes them in a vivid, believable way. Sometimes it's a bit sickening and shocking. However, that's exactly how it should be, which is something I really liked. The overall effect is a fascinating story with plenty of unexpected events, gripping scenes, treachery, bloody battles and political intrigues. The strong, admirable women in this novel play their part without complaint and are terribly impressive. I enjoyed reading about every single one of their adventures. False Lights is a fantastic compelling story.


If you like historical what-if fiction False Lights would be a perfect choice.

Red Riding Hood Tote Bag, Mug and Pillow Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a Red Riding Hood tote bag, pillow and mug set designed by Solocosmo. Good luck!

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Friday, October 20, 2017

The Vets at Hope Green by Sheila Norton - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Sam works as a receptionist for a vets in London. She loves animals, but isn't allowed to do much with them even though she has the right papers. Sam is in a relationship, but she isn't happy and instead of staying with her boyfriend during her holidays she decides to visit her grandmother in Hope Green. Sam loves the countryside, but it isn't as calm as she thought it would be. The reason for this is the local vet, Joe, he isn't friendly at all. This affects her more than it should. However, Sam has a boyfriend and Joe is married. It also shouldn't matter what she thinks of him because she's supposed go home soon, or isn't she?

The Vets at Hope Green is a wonderful story. I immediately loved Hope Green. It's a lovely quiet town with many interesting and sometimes quirky inhabitants who are making it lively at the same time. Sam fits in brilliantly. She's kindhearted, but can stand up for herself, she loves people and animals and she likes being involved in the community. I enjoyed reading about her adventures in the small town very much. She's the perfect main character for a romantic countryside story.

Sheila Norton writes about animals in a fantastic way. She gives them their own personality and that makes her story come to life incredibly well. Joe is nicer to animals than he is to people, which makes him interesting and unpredictable, a part of the story I absolutely loved. There's always something going on in his practice and he knows a lot about animals. He's fabulously antisocial to people, but when an animal is being brought in he's the sweetest guy there is. This contrast is fun and it put a big smile on my face.

Sheila Norton's writing has an easy flow and her detailed and warm descriptions are making her story come to life in a great way. I especially liked reading about Hope Green itself, which is such an animated pretty village filled with beautiful flower baskets. The Vets at Hope Green has a terrific energetic storyline filled with surprising twists and turns and plenty of heartwarming moments, which makes it a complete and compelling story. I really enjoyed reading this charming and enchanting book.


If you love to read about the English countryside and like stories about animals The Vets at Hope Green is an absolute must-read. 

About Sheila Norton

Sheila was born in Romford, now lives near Chelmsford, Essex, and has been writing avidly since childhood. For most of her life she worked as a medical secretary, retiring early to concentrate on her writing.

Her first publications were children’s stories, but after twice winning first prize in the Writers’ News short story competitions in the 1990s, she began to have short stories published regularly in women’s magazines. Her first romantic comedy novel was published in 2003 by Piatkus Books, followed by a further seven similar books with Piatkus, including three under the pseudonym of Olivia Ryan. She then self-published several novels with Amazon, including two books set mainly in the 1960s, and one family story with grandparents at its heart.

In another radical change of direction, since 2015 Sheila has been published by Ebury Press, writing adult fiction with animal themes. Two novels with cats as the central ‘characters’ have now been followed by ‘The Vets at Hope Green’.



Inspiration, and other mysteries 
Guest post by Sheila Norton

When I give talks to groups of people about being an author, I’ve often started out with a list of some of the questions I’m most frequently asked. I find this makes a good basis for the talk, covering everything the people in the audience might have been wondering. The only problem with this method is that, at the end of the talk, when I ask whether anyone has any questions, they put up their hands and tell me I’ve already answered them all!

One of the top questions on my list often comes from people who’d like to write a book themselves: ‘Where do you get your inspiration from?’. And to be honest, half the time I don’t really know the answer myself.

For a start, there are different types of inspiration. If it’s the idea for the actual theme of the story we’re talking about, then most of my earlier novels were inspired simply by people’s relationships, which fascinate me more than anything else. People falling in and out of love, families breaking up or getting together, friendships, working relationships, marriages, parenthood, sickness and loss and loneliness – the human condition within society is at the basis of every story and you don’t have to look far for this kind of inspiration, it’s all around us. I always made up these relationship stories pretty much as I went along.

More recently, though, I’ve been commissioned to write a certain type of novel (light, ‘cosy’ stories with animal backgrounds). So the theme will have been decided jointly by my editor and myself, and I’ll have worked out the basic framework of the plot at the beginning, with her approval. This has been a different approach for me, but I’ve enjoyed the challenge and in some ways, having the broad outline of the story planned out first has made my work easier. But there’s obviously still a lot of detail to invent during the writing, and even with these stories, relationships are always at their heart.

It’s this detail – the way the plot unfolds, the interaction between the characters – that people often refer to when they talk about inspiration. And of course, ideas for my stories pop into my head at all sorts of times: when I’m cooking dinner, when I’m out for a walk or in the shower, or often in the middle of the night. These are usually the result of struggling with a plot line or twist for some time; inevitably, after hours or days of trying to work out the best way for the plot to proceed, I will eventually come up with what I hope is the best idea.

But is that really inspiration? I think it’s actually just thought process, the result of working something out and thinking it through – which is a large part of the job, and has more to do with discipline and concentration than inspiration. Inspiration in fact comes most often (fortunately) when I’m actually writing. And I think this is the point that aspiring writers often miss. In order to be inspired, we have to sit down and get on with it. I know other authors will agree with me that very often we can sit at the PC or laptop, prepared for a morning’s writing, with not a single idea in our heads. When that happens, we just have to plough ahead and write – anything – and yes, it often gets edited out later.

But oh, the joy, the feeling close to euphoria when suddenly while plodding on with that uninspired rubbish, something like magic happens and the characters start to speak, to act almost of their own accord, to carry the plot forward almost effortlessly. It’s at times like this that being an author is so wonderful – when I read back the day’s work and think: Did I really write that? Not because I think my own writing is marvellous, but because I actually can’t remember making it up. It just flowed.

Of course, it isn’t always like that. And however much I enjoy writing those passages where I feel inspired, they will still need editing, and re-editing. I’ll still have to be prepared to change them if they don’t work, even to delete them if necessary. So I always stress that inspiration is only a tiny part of the process. Someone once said that asking a writer where he gets his ideas from is like asking a carpenter where he gets his wood. It’s a very good analogy. The craft, the dedication, the getting on with it – these, I believe, are what eventually make a completed novel. Inspiration? With deadlines to keep, who can afford to wait and see if it turns up?

The paperback edition of The Vets at Hope Green is published by Ebury (Penguin Random House) on 1 June 2017.

Find out more about Sheila Norton’s novels at


Five very lucky readers of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of The Vets at Hope Green.

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book Review - The Treatment by C.L. Taylor

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Review by Suze

Drew has a difficult time at school. She's being bullied and there's always a terrible threat looming over her, while the last thing she wants is being the center of attention in a negative way. Drew's brother Mason is acting out because of the disappearance of their father. He's expelled from school and this lands him in a residential reform academy. When Drew receives an alarming message from one of his doctors she tries to make their mother see sense and reports it to the police, but when nobody is making any effort to get her brother out she only sees one solution, she has to go in herself. Drew has an escape plan, but will it work and will she be able to rescue her brother or has she made the ultimate sacrifice in vain?

The Treatment is a fantastic story that kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. Drew is brave, she can stand up for herself, she's resourceful and she's smart. I loved her personality. She knows who she can trust and who she should stay away from. When she finds out what is being done to the students of the reform school she doesn't hesitate and will do anything to rescue her brother, even when that means facing her worst fears. She's a true heroine with an admirable personality and I loved reading about her adventures.

C.L. Taylor has an amazing gripping writing style. The Treatment is so nerve wracking that I forgot about the time, didn't notice what happened around me and kept having to remind myself to stop holding my breath. I really loved this terrific story set in the near future. The reform school is fabulously creepy and finding out more about the procedures that are being used made me fly through the pages. I loved the world building in combination with the psychological experiments, everything is exactly right and connects in a brilliant way. The Treatment is a great thought-provoking must-read with plenty of surprising twists and turns and a mesmerizing ending.


If you love gripping YA you should definitely read The Treatment.  

Book Review - Through the Barricades by Denise Deegan

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Review by Suze

It's 1913 and Maggie wants to make her late father proud by making a difference. Girls are not supposed to fight for their country, but Maggie is determined to contribute. Maggie cares about the poor and wants to help them to improve their situation. Daniel is rich and doesn't know much about politics. When he meets Maggie he's intrigued, which is why he accompanies her to a food kitchen for those who have nothing at all to volunteer. It's the beginning of his awareness and a friendship that will soon grow into something more.

Maggie wants to join the revolution. She will do anything she can to help the cause she believes in. Daniel is prepared to make a huge sacrifice and joins the army at the beginning of the First World War. They don't realize that they will be on opposite sides of the same battle. Will their love survive this difficult situation and will they be able to remain unscathed during the many years of armed combat?

Through the Barricades is a beautiful raw and gripping story. Maggie is fierce, stubborn and capable. She has strong beliefs and isn't afraid to fight for them. Daniel is gentle and loving and he's willing to go far for Maggie. They both make huge sacrifices for what's in their hearts. It's clear from the start that what they feel for each other is true love, but their situation is far from ideal, a lot is standing in their way, both personally and professionally. Nothing is certain, they aren't safe and there are no guarantees they will ever see each other again. This kept me on the edge of my seat. I flew through the pages, because I had to find out if they'd find happiness or disaster together. I absolutely love it when a story makes me feel so much.

Denise Deegan's writing is amazing. She has a great way with words that immediately captivates me every time I read one of her books. Through the Barricades isn't a light story, it's set in a dark time, but there's plenty of hope as well. I loved how well researched this story is and learned a lot about Ireland at the beginning of the twentieth century. Denise Deegan's detailed descriptions of battles, gatherings and dire situations moved me to tears. She's honest and doesn't stay away from the difficult parts, which is something I greatly admired. I highly recommend Through the Barricades, it's a brilliant emotional roller coaster.


If you love gripping historical fiction Through the Barricades would be an excellent choice.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Mug, Shirt, Money Box & Book Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Gryffindor edition and a Hogwarts Express money box, shirt size M and mini mug. Good luck!

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Book Review - Christmas at Hope Cottage by Lily Graham

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Review by Suze

Emma's boyfriend dumps her in a terrible way and soon after she's involved in an awful accident. There's no way she can take care of herself, because she's broken several bones and fell on her head. That's why she returns to Hope Cottage, her family home. Evie, Emma's grandmother, will take good care of her and will make sure someone's always looking after her. Being back home will also mean seeing Jack again, the man who broke Emma's heart because of a family feud. Will she be able to handle being around him?

Evie has a lodger, something Emma didn't know. Sandro is a Spanish cook and fits right into the household. Evie's cooking is special, something that runs in the family, and many people benefit from this, but it's an ability Emma can't let herself believe in. Sandro helps Emma to get herself back together again, but Jack has also shown an interest in her once more. Will Emma's heritage stand in her way like before or will she finally be loved for who she is?

Christmas at Hope Cottage is a heartwarming magical story. I immediately loved Emma. She's sweet and talented, but tries to hide her passion for food and the family way of preparing it because of how people are treating her. She's lost herself completely because of her accident, which is sad, but it also gives her a chance to get more healing done. She doesn't only have wounds on the surface, there are deep emotional scars that could use some extra tender love and care as well. Her family has a gift, but Emma tries to deny hers and I couldn't wait to find out if she'd eventually embrace it, and therefore herself, or not. It's a wonderful topic for a book and I really enjoyed reading about it.

Lily Graham's writing has a nice easy flow. She writes about the power of hope, family curses, true love and eccentricity in a fantastic enchanting way. She combines this with mouthwatering descriptions of food and gorgeous men, a perfect combination. Christmas at Hope Cottage is a terrific mesmerizing story that has plenty of charm, sparkles and romantic feelings. I absolutely loved this amazing book.


 Christmas at Hope Cottage is perfect for readers who love to read about small towns, complex family histories and magic.

Seven Books & Buddle Book Sleeve Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win seven great books and a Buddle book sleeve. Good luck!

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How to Fall by Rebecca Brooks - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

For Julia being sensible is second nature. She always puts others first and never lets herself go. After many years of taking care of her best friend and looking after her math students it's time she does something for herself, she deserves a holiday and Brazil is her destination. In Brazil she can be who she wants to be and for Julia that means she can spend time with a handsome man, dare herself to do things she'd never do at home and make impulsive decisions.

Blake has left Australia because he's heartbroken. He's famous and hopes that after spending some time abroad people will have forgotten about the scandal he was in the middle of. When he meets Julia he starts to feel something positive again, but can he risk it? He's only supposed to have one night with the beautiful woman from Chicago, but something about her makes him want to stay until it's time for her to go home again. Is what they have a holiday fling or is there something more and what will happen when Julia has to leave?

How to Fall is a great sexy story about traveling, true love and facing your fears. Julia is a fantastic friend, she's sweet, caring, generous and she'll always do the right thing. In Brazil she can finally let herself go a little, which shows a completely different side of her. I loved the contrast and it was good to see she could have fun as well. Blake has been through a lot and spending time with Julia, being reminded what it's like to be carefree again, is exactly what he needs. They have an instant connection and there's a lot of chemistry between them. Meeting someone you really like when you're a long way from home is complicated though and I couldn't wait to see where that would lead.

Rebecca Brooks has written a hot story filled with personal challenges, stunning settings and fascinating relationships. I loved the way she describes Julia's holiday. It's short, but it's filled with action and challenges. I read this amazing love story in one sitting and liked how the sparks between the main characters fly off the pages. How to Fall is a wonderful romantic book with a gorgeous fitting ending.


If you love hot travel themed romance you will definitely like How to Fall.

About Rebecca Brooks

Rebecca Brooks lives in New York City in an apartment filled with books. She received a PhD in English but decided it was more fun to write books than write about them.

She has backpacked alone through India and Brazil, traveled by cargo boat down the Amazon River, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, explored ice caves in Peru, trekked to the source of the Ganges, and sunbathed in Burma, but she always likes coming home to a cold beer and her hot husband in the Bronx.

She likes outdoorsy guys with both muscle and heart and independent women ready to try something new.

Feel free to contact me, or for more info and updates, check out the News page.



The Adventure that Inspired Me to Write How to Fall
Guest post by Rebecca Brooks

The kernel of the idea for How to Fall came a long (loooong) time ago, when I studied abroad in Brazil during college. After my semester with the School for International Training ended, I traveled around the country, sometimes with friends and sometimes alone.

I did some, uh, slightly unusual things, like volunteering to help scientists study river dolphins—which involved cleaning dolphin skulls with a toothbrush. Don’t worry, that did NOT become a scene in the book! 

Turns out there’s a reason I’m a writer and not a marine biologist
What I did write about was an incredible section of my travels that I spent in southern Brazil. I first spent a few nights in São Paulo—which I enjoyed a lot more than Julia does in How to Fall!

Then I traveled via overnight bus to Foz do Iguaçu, the city near Iguaçu Falls. I stayed in a hostel with a pool and garden and a great community of travelers. I wound up becoming friends with an Australian couple who were traveling the world for 6 months. (That’s where I came up with the idea for an Australian hero.) Together, we spent two days visiting the spectacular waterfalls in both Argentina and Brazil. 

A picture I took at Iguaçu Falls, where Julia and Blake meet in How to Fall
When I started writing romance, I couldn’t stop thinking about setting a book in Brazil. I imagined an American traveler meeting a stranger at a hotel pool at midnight and letting go of her inhibitions for a night. I could picture the meet-cute perfectly. Then I was filled with questions. Who was the American woman? Who did she meet? Why did they get together? What turned their one night stand into more? That’s how the book How to Fall was born.

The hostel where Julia and Blake meet is based on the place I stayed in Foz do Iguaçu, and while my experience exploring the waterfalls was a LOT more chaste than theirs, the description of the falls and their tremendous beauty is based on my travels.

In fact, everything Julia and Blake do—besides all the outdoor sex I HOPE YOU’RE NOT READING THIS MOM—is rooted in my own experiences. I traveled from São Paulo to Foz to Iguaçu, and then I took a bus to Rio de Janeiro, just like Julia does. I explored the city and spent New Year’s Eve dancing on Copacabana Beach—the most fun Julia has ever had. And yes, I did go hang gliding off the same cliff Julia and Blake jump from when Blake surprises her with a date she never thought she’d do. It was the experience of a lifetime, and I loved recapturing the moment by writing about it years later. 

It’s me! Ahhh!
I had a blast getting to revisit an amazing time in my life and watching Julia and Blake experience it for the first time. The best part for me as a writer and a traveler was turning their time in Brazil into an emotional journey for both of them—together as a couple, and individually as two people trying to figure out who they are and what they want in their lives. I fell in love with Brazil all over again, and with both of them as characters.

After setting books in Brazil and in the Pacific Northwest—a place I love to hike—I have to decide what beautiful location I want to visit and write about next!


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a digital book of choice from Rebecca Brooks's backlist.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

My Summer of Magic Moments by Caroline Roberts - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Claire deserves some peace and quiet after having a tough time. That's why she rents a cottage near Bamburgh. The cottage is basic and hasn't been updated in a long time, but it has a gorgeous seaside view. It also comes with another benefit, a handsome neighbor. Ed isn't easy to read, he's kind one moment and distant the next. He and Claire do have something in common though, they're both survivors.

Claire's holiday only lasts three weeks and she hopes it will be enough to recharge her batteries. She makes a list of her magic moments, so she can write about them later. Claire is a journalist and honestly tells her readers what's going on in her life. She shares the good and the bad. She knows that after a blissful holiday in her seaside cottage the time will come to go home again. Will she ever see Ed again or will he just become a beautiful summer memory?

My Summer of Magic Moments is a fantastic story. I greatly admired Claire. She's incredibly brave, she's open and she knows what's important in life. She's a breast cancer survivor and Caroline Roberts writes about that in a fantastic emphatic and realistic way. She doesn't stay away from the bad things in life, but she makes sure the good moments are getting plenty of attention as well. Claire is ready for a fresh start and that's when she meets Ed. Ed is a brooding man. It's clear he struggles and the sweet Claire is exactly what he needs. I loved the delicate and careful bond they're forming. It's perfect for the story and Caroline Roberts describes it in an impressive natural way that melted my heart.

Caroline Roberts has written a very special story. Her main characters are strong and vulnerable at the same time, which is a stunning contrast. I loved the magic moments that are being shared in My Summer of Magic Moments, they're touching and they're giving the story something extra that immediately enchanted me. The atmosphere of My Summer of Magic Moments is sometimes dark, but mostly it's light and hopeful, while it's a story about the difficult things in life it's also a story about the most impressive and memorable moments. I absolutely loved this precious moving, magical book, it's truly amazing.


If you love beautiful stories about second chances, beautiful beaches and true love you will definitely like My Summer of Magic Moments.


1) Could you give our readers three bookish facts about yourself?

My dad used to manage a book wholesalers so I was literally surrounded by books as a child.

I studied English Literature at Durham University for three years.

I won a place to be a featured writer on Read Regional last year and did talks at 11 libraries around the North of England – a brilliant experience. I was a little nervous of the public speaking at first but soon enjoyed chatting with interested readers.

2) Can you describe the main characters of My Summer of Magic Moments in six words each?

Claire – strong, creative, survivor, friendly, kind, sister

Ed – brave, hurt, handsome, sexy, guarded, athletic

3) What inspired you to write a romantic summer story?

I loved the idea of a coastal summer setting, and it was in fact inspired by a real place where the cottages front the beach between Bamburgh and Seahouses in Northumberland, where I often walk my dog. It was great to focus the story and the developing romance over one summer too.

4) You write about magic moments and asked people about their own, can you share a meaningful magic moment with our readers?

Holding the first paperback copy of my debut novel ‘The Torn Up Marriage’ was such a magic moment, especially after ten years of writing and trying to get published. I will never forget that feeling.

5) How did you handle the research for your book?

I wanted to treat the subject of breast cancer sensitively whilst exploring the emotional as well as physical scars relating to that and be as well-informed as I could. I had a lovely contact, Heidi, who became a friend - she was so honest and open about her own experiences having been through breast cancer and she now works for a breast cancer charity – that was just wonderful. I also spoke to our local GP to get medical facts right, and two journalists to inform Claire’s job and role at the newspaper.

6) What do you like the most about the seaside?

The beautiful colours and views of the beach, sea, and sky, the feel of sand beneath your feet, the salt smell of fresh sea air, Mr Whippy ‘99 ice creams, and fish and chips.

7) What's are your favorite holiday destinations, in real life and fiction?

I’m lucky to have had some fabulous holidays. My favourites:

· Northumberland, where I live, is beautiful, with a gorgeous coastline and rolling hills. Staying over in a country hotel would be so nice. 

· The Greek Islands are lovely. We have had some great holidays there when my children were younger. I particularly like Corfu; hiring a boat, swimming in the sea, visiting pretty villages, eating out in tavernas. 

· The Maldives are very special - I have been lucky enough to go there twice – just amazing , clear blue seas, fabulous snorkelling, wonderful beach hotels. The perfect island escape.

· A safari in South Africa. My magic moment of mine this year so far was watching a herd of giraffes peacefully grazing, whilst I was stood with a G&T watching the sun go down over the African hills – stunning.

Fiction is a great way to explore places you have never been too. I’d love to go to India and a friend Janet MacLeod Trotter writes fabulous historical romance books set there: ‘The Tea Planter’s Bride’ and series. It makes you feel like you are really there and in that time – the sights, the sounds, the smells. 

8) What do you still dream of when it comes to writing?

Writing beautiful stories that readers will love - that’s the main thing. 

And I hope that in time my books will be available more widely in book stores nationally such as Waterstones and WHSmith, though I’m really lucky to have got into Sainsburys and Asda supermarkets with My Summer of Magic Moments.

9) What's the most wonderful thing about holiday romance?

That sense of escape, and magic and romantic potential. A romance seems more intense when you are away from normal cares and work.

10) What are your plans for the future?

I am busy writing two more ‘Cosy’ books, the first being The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop set in a gorgeous harbour village in Northumberland, which is out early November ‘17.

Thanks for having me and for some great questions , Suze!

About Caroline Roberts

Family, friends, food, a glass of bubbly and, of course, a good book make me smile. I love writing novels about love, loss, betrayal, and family, that explore how complex and yet beautiful love can be. I also like to write romantic comedy, letting the characters have a bit of flirty fun too! I believe in following your dreams and working hard towards them, which led me to Harper Impulse (Harper Collins) and a publishing deal (woop!) after many years of writing. Stunning Northumberland in England is my home – sandy beaches, castles and gorgeous countryside that have inspired my writing.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed copy of My Summer of Magic Moments.

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Book Review - A Hummingbird Christmas by Karen Foley

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Review by Suze

Joy loves her daughter Piper very much and will do anything for her. When Piper asks for a white Christmas Joy decides to spend it with her in-laws in Glacier Creek, Montana. Joy is a widow and it's difficult for both her and Piper's grandparents to spend Christmas without Matt. Fortunately Cole is there to show them around and introduce them to all the good things Glacier Creek has to offer. Matt was Cole's best friend and Cole is like a son to Matt's parents. He wants to dislike Joy for taking Matt away from him, but when he meets her and Piper he's smitten.

Joy wants Piper to have a nice holiday, but this proves to be more difficult than she thought. There are no decorations in the house and nobody is particularly looking forward to Christmas. Her arrival isn't accident free and later tragedy strikes again. Was it really a good idea to come to Montana and will Joy be able to fulfill all of her daughter's wishes or will Christmas in Glacier Creek be a disaster?

A Hummingbird Christmas is a heartwarming romantic story. Joy is a kind and dedicated mother. She's talented, patient and incredibly sweet. Piper is adorable, she's an adventurous and outspoken little girl with plenty of interests. Cole is a wonderful man with a good heart. They've all been through a lot and therefore Christmas isn't easy for them, but they're trying to make the best of it. Piper deserves a special Christmas and I loved how Joy and Cole are trying to make that happen for her. It's clear from the beginning that Cole belongs with Joy and Piper. They have a beautiful connection and I couldn't wait to find out what would happen if they'd admit their feelings. There are plenty of sparks between Joy and Cole and this together with the gorgeous family bond made the story extra amazing.

Karen Foley has a warm and welcoming writing style. She writes about a lovely small town covered in snow. Glacier Creek is the perfect setting for a festive story. While her main characters are grieving their story is also filled with hope, love and light. It's a terrific combination that put tears in my eyes and a big smile on my face at the same time. A Hummingbird Christmas is a fantastic holiday story, I really enjoyed reading this charming and endearing book.


If you love small town romance and like Christmas stories A Hummingbird Christmas would be an excellent choice.

Book Review - F*cking Shattered by K.B. Andrews

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Review by Anniek

Jovi and Katie have been best friends for a very long time. Jovi has always been the shy one and is fine with living in the shadows. Katie is the one that everybody notices and she's the light of the party everywhere she goes. This summer is the first Jovi and Katie will spend apart from each other. Katie will be gone for three months, which leaves Jovi to work her boring job for a minimum wage. The first morning alone Jovi sees on the news that Katie’s plane has crashed, leaving no survivors. Instead of three months without Katie, Jovi now has to learn to live without her completely. This leaves her shattered beyond repair. Before she left Katie made a bucket list for Jovi to complete during the summer. Will Jovi be able to step out of the shadows and shine just like Katie wanted her to?

Jovi can’t imagine a life without Katie and she has a hard time accepting what happened. Jovi and Katie come from different backgrounds, but this was never an issue for them. Now that Jovi has to live for both of them she decides to take the holiday Katie was supposed to go on. On the day of Katie’s funeral Jovi meets River at Katie’s house. He awakens feelings inside her that she never felt before. Together they go on a road trip to Miami and they have so much fun together. River helps Jovi to cross items off of her bucket list and Jovi starts to embrace her new personality. Katie and Jovi were close, but Katie never mentioned River. What’s his connection to Katie?

Jovi is such a sweet person. I admired her for trying to pick up the pieces after her best friend dies. She’s so much stronger than she thinks and it’s this strength that makes her come out of her shell. Jovi has a great sense of humor and I laughed out loud several times when she got into some tricky situations. Jovi has a big heart and I was hoping for her to find what she needed to enjoy life again. 

F*cking Shattered is an emotional story about overcoming one of the most painful losses of your life. I can’t even imagine how devastated I would be if it would happen to me, but even though this is such a difficult topic K.B. Andrews managed to not have the bad outshine the good. Jovi learns so many new things, things that make her stronger and increase her self esteem. F*cking Shattered made me cry, but also showed me the beautiful things in life. Love has the power to heal and Jovi and River need each other to become whole again. F*cking Shattered is a beautiful moving story with interesting main characters. I really loved this emotional rollercoaster.


If you love to read books that make you feel F*cking Shattered would be a perfect choice.

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Murder by The Barrel by Lesley Cookman - Guest Post & Giveaway

How To Plan A Murder
Guest post by Lesley Cookman

When I was a child, my parents let me loose on their bookshelves and I devoured all their Golden Age Mystery novels. There wasn’t much differentiation between genres in those days, and they were just novels – and I loved them. So when I grew up – which is debatable - I decided to write them. When I thought about it in a vague way before I morphed into a crime writer, I assumed you would start with the murder and work backwards. Now I know it isn’t as simple as that.

There are no rules for crime writing. If you write in a specific sub-genre: thriller, medical, psychological, police procedural or cosy (like me) there are lines over which you do not cross, but little is hard and fast. What are incontrovertible facts are – if you are writing a “puzzle” story, remember to insert unobtrusive clues from fairly early on. If the police are involved, get the details of an official investigation right. Those are self evident, of course, and everything else is exactly the same as any other novel – do your research, don’t let the story get away from you, create good characters. Unless it’s an integral part of the story don’t let an unfolding romance send your protaganist (s) off the rails. Romantic suspense is different – but there, the romance is an integral part of the story – think Mary Stewart.

So, here are a few wise words for the new crime writer. Don’t start with a dream or a flashback (although I think I have...) and Don’t Start Bland!. Don’t start the story too soon. Don’t forget that a mystery, or crime novel, is plot driven but the plot is driven by the characters. Depending on what sub-genre you have decided on, there should be at least one murder. The great Carter Dickson got away without one occasionally, but lesser mortals should stick to the rules. Make sure the murderer appears early in the story. If he, she or it doesn’t appear until late on in the book, the reader is likely to feel cheated.

If the detective/problem solver is to be the main protaganist, make sure they also appear early and unless they are official, give them a definite reason for getting involved. If they are a suspect in the main crime, the reason for getting involved is obvious – they must clear their name – but otherwise, don’t make them a suspect! However, introduce at least one suspect by the end of the second chapter, and make sure there are several VIABLE suspects by the end of the book. Not just people you’ve stuck in to make up the numbers.

The actual plot – my original idea of starting with the murder and working backwards is actually quite a good one, taken from the murderer’s point of view. A needs to kill B. Set that up and watch A cover his/her tracks. Then, with a bit of luck and careful concentration, you can go back and unpick it. This, of course, would be the ideal method, and I’m sure if I did this every time my life would be easier.

The other wise words are no different from those given to any writer, crime or otherwise, as I’ve already said. And here are my final exhortations: DON’T DO WHAT I DO.

In the first Libby Sarjeant I was told at the end that the murderer wouldn’t do, and could I put in a new character. I did. With two weeks to go.

We have got stuck with the “Murder” titles. So whatever story I decide on has to have a suitable title. And frequently I then have to fit the story round the title. This is NOT a good idea.

Don’t have a brilliant idea for a title with a bit of a story wafting round the edges, tell your publisher and then get stuck with it. Most of my books are written out of desperation.

Actually, of course, a good murder mystery is both satisfying to read and to write. It can be bent into all sorts of shapes by all sorts of people. After all – look at me!

About Lesley Cookman

Lesley Cookman writes the Libby Sarjeant Mysteries and the Edwardian mystery series, The Alexandrians. She has a varied background as a model, an air stewardess (when it was posh), a nightclub DJ (in a silver sparkly catsuit), editor of a Music Hall magazine, The Call Boy, a magazine called The Poulty Farmer, and pantomime writer and director. She lives on the Kent coast and has four grown up children who are variously musicians and writers, two grandchildren and two cats, not necessarily in that order.




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Two very lucky winners will receive a digital copy of Murder by The Barrel.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Book Review - The Sisters Chase by Sarah Healy

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Review by Suze

Mary adores her little sister Hannah. Their mother Diane runs a small seaside motel, which isn't making much profit. Mary often watches Hannah and tells her stories. Mary is free, wild and uncontrollable. She lovingly calls Hannah Bunny and would do anything for her sister. Things suddenly change when Diane dies in a car accident. Mary is still a teenager and now she's responsible for a young girl, while there's no money at all. In order to survive Mary and Hannah leave the motel and start a journey together. They will travel from place to place trying to get by and find out where they belong. Is there somewhere they can fit in?

Being responsible for a small child is difficult, especially when you have no education. Mary works hard and besides that she does whatever she has to do to survive. If she has to trick someone she does it, as for Hannah she will do anything. Will she eventually manage to create a safe place for her and her sister or is it difficult to find peace when there are so many past secrets that are threatening to catch up with her?

The Sisters Chase is an intriguing story. Hannah is a real sweetheart. She's open, disarming and endearing and it was easy to see why Mary loves her so much. Mary is different from her sister. She's difficult, she has her own way of doing things, she isn't very emphatic, she often crosses boundaries and she can't always clearly predict the consequences of her actions, which constantly gets her in trouble. My heart ached for the stubborn teenager, and later woman, who is fierce, tough and confident, but also lost and alone. I loved that contrast, it makes incredibly interesting reading. Sarah Healy has given Mary such a great edge, some of the things she does are shocking, but I could also understand why she chooses certain paths. She's fascinating due to her many flaws and I was anxious to find out where she and Hannah would eventually end up.

The Sisters Chase is a beautiful story with a surprisingly fitting emotional ending. I absolutely loved the book. It's dark and filled with lies and secrets, but there's also hope combined with unconditional love and unbreakable family bonds, which gives the story a nice contrast. Sarah Healy has a fantastic gripping writing style. Her story has many surprising twists and turns and the abundance of layers makes it fabulously complete. I highly recommend this compelling book.


If you love gripping stories about family and secrets The Sisters Chase would be a great choice.

Called Out, Last Call, Crush & Breathe by Jen Doyle - Book Reviews and Giveaway

Reviews by Suze

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Jack has hurt his best friend, so badly that nobody wants to be around him any longer and he doesn't have anyone left. He's trying to make things right, but he isn't sure he can ever make up for what he's done. Still, his baseball career depends on the person he screwed over and the question is if he'll be given another chance. He's all alone and it's because of one single moment. Will he ever find happiness again?

When Lola meets Jack she doesn't want to feel any attraction because she knows what he's done. However, Jack is nicer than she initially thought he would be and he gets along well with her sons. While her children might love him, it's a lot more difficult for Jack to win Lola over. She knows about Jack's mistakes, will she be prepared to give him a shot and will her future look bright again after many years of heartache?

Called Out is a wonderful romantic story. Jack has done something many people would consider unforgivable. He's trying to make things right and his attitude is admirable. He's a kindhearted guy who made a big mistake and I wanted him to get back some love and friendliness in his life again. Lola is a strong woman with a good head on her shoulders. She's a single mother and her resilience and fierceness are fantastic. She and Jack have plenty of chemistry and I kept hoping they'd find their happily ever after. I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out.

Jen Doyle writes about gorgeous athletic men in a fabulous way. Her writing has a nice and easy flow and her descriptions are vivid and lively. Her characters form really special bonds that always manage to make me smile. I like that a lot about her work. She doesn't stay away from the difficult parts of life either and therefore when her characters do find love it's even more amazing. I highly recommend Called Out, it's a terrific endearing and mesmerizing story.


If you love romance about athletes you will definitely like the Calling It series. The books can all be read as standalones.

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Bobby and Jayne have lost so much and being together hurts very much, which is why Jayne is keeping her distance. They've been together for a long time and because she's the love of his life Bobby can't let her go without a fight. Will he be able to win back the heart of the woman he's adored for as long as he can remember?

Last Call is a beautiful moving story. I could easily feel the grief and the despair Bobby and Jayne have to deal with. Jen Doyle doesn't need many words to write a deep story. I loved the emphatic and honest way she describes the feelings of her main characters. I hoped that Bobby's love for Jayne would bring her back to him. Her feelings are unpredictable and it was interesting to find out what she would decide. It all comes together in a beautiful way and the ending made me tear up.

Jen Doyle has put so much emotion into Last Call and that makes it really impressive. I like the way she makes sure her readers get to know her characters through and through and she makes it possible to see what's inside their hearts. Last Call is a short story, but it is a story that will stay with me for a long time.


Last Call is part of the Calling It series, but can easily be read as a standalone. It's perfect for readers who like emotional love stories.

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Maggie left St. Helena years ago, but comes back every year for Crush, the grape harvest. Secretly she's been meeting Alejandro during those days for years. They're together at this time every year, but something suddenly has changed between them. Maggie is a successful business woman, but when Alejandro is around she's shy. Alejandro doesn't want to stay hidden in the shadows any longer and is looking for more. Will he find his happily ever after with the woman he's been secretly seeing for just a few days each year?

Maggie and Alejandro have liked each other since high school. However, they never managed to become a couple. They're both intelligent and great at what they do, but something is missing in their lives, someone to share their ups and downs with. I loved how they slowly realize they belong together and I was so curious to see if they'd become a couple that I read their story in one sitting. Maggie and Alejandro are amazing together and there's plenty of chemistry, which is why I liked their story a lot.

I loved reading about the St. Helena vineyards. It's a wonderful place for a romantic story. Jen Doyle makes it come to life very well with vivid descriptions of the town itself and its rituals. I immediately fell in love with the setting and the main characters are fabulous. It's a fantastic combination and the result is a lovely sweet romantic story.


If you love stories about high school crushes who find each other again later in life Crush would be an excellent choice.

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Beth needs a change and St. Helena is the place where she hopes to be happy again. When during a walk she twists her ankle Drew comes to her rescue. They seem to be getting along, but after telling Beth who he is and what he does she suddenly gives him the cold shoulder. Why is Beth treating him this way and will she eventually be willing to give him a chance?

Beth has been hurt very much in the past and my heart ached for what she had to go through. Drew has a reputation, he's supposed to be the town's bad boy, but he's tried hard to do good work and make a name for himself. Beth and Drew are incredibly sweet together. Beth wants to stay away from him at first, but that isn't a good decision at all. They show each other their vulnerabilities, but the past keeps getting in their way. I kept hoping Drew would be able to break down Beth's walls, they're such a good match and they both deserve a chance at happiness after everything that happened to them.

Breathe is a wonderful romantic story. I loved the connection between Beth and Drew and liked the way Jen Doyle describes their emotions a lot. The story isn't long, but it still has a good amount of depth. The setting is stunning and it was fun to read about the St. Helena Vineyards again. It's a fabulous place for stories about true love. Breathe is an amazing story and I really enjoyed reading it.


If you love reading stories about difficult starts and second chances you will definitely like Breathe. It's the second story in the St. Helena Vineyard series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

About Jen Doyle

A big believer in happily ever afters, Jen Doyle decided it was high time she started creating some. Jen is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as a member of the New England Chapter, New Jersey Romance Writers and Music City Romance Writer chapters of RWA. She is represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency.

She has an M.S. in Library and Information Science and, in addition to her work as a librarian, has worked as a conference and events planner as well as a Communications and Enrollment administrator in both preschool and higher education environments (although some might say that there is very little difference between the two; Jen has no comment regarding whether she is one of the “some”).

Her first book, CALLING IT, was published by Carina Press in 2016. In its previous iteration as THE DREAM, it was the winner of The Beacon, the Finish the Damn Book, and the Melody of Love 2014 contests in the Contemporary Romance category, and was also the Contemporary Romance winner as well as the Grand Prize Winner of the 2014 Gateway to the Best contest.




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One very lucky winner of With Love for Books will receive kindle copies of the first two books of the Calling It series, Calling It and Called Up.

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The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are