Amelia runs a foster-wife business where she puts her clients through a training programme that will turn them into good husband material. She uses her love of dogs for analogies during her instructions and so far she has been very successful.
Phinn is a bit of a player in the romance market and he takes a bet that he will fail Amelia’s coaching techniques; however he isn’t prepared for what she has planned and how well he does in all of the tasks.
This was a bit of fun and I enjoyed the storyline. Music, dogs and working in a food truck gave this book some amusing moments and I really liked Amelia’s large family. Happy to recommend.
After a devastating breakup, instead of drowning in her tears, Amelia Day starts a new business. For a hefty fee, she uses the methods for training foster dogs to transform men into suitable marriage material. Her track record is impeccable until she meets perpetual bachelor Phin Baxtor. From the start, she’s confused as to why this guitar-playing hunk would even want to hire her, but she needs the money, so she takes him on.
Phin is content with working in his food truck all day and playing the field at night. But his business partner, Jay, offers him a bet he can’t refuse. If Phin can complete Amelia’s program without changing his ways, he will win Jay’s rare guitar. Certain his task will be easier than playing “Hound Dog,” he agrees to enter the program.
With Phin and Amelia spending all their time together, her techniques begin to slip past his defenses. He might become her biggest success, but falling for a client isn’t supposed to be part of the deal.
Take Me Home is book one of The Last Frontier Lodge series of contemporary romances set in Alaska.
After being robbed and assaulted in Seattle, Marley has returned to her childhood home in the hopes of putting the past behind her. She wants to use her technology know-how to start a new job.
Gage has recently been left an old ski resort by his grandmother; after leaving his life as a Navy SEAL, he decides to put his energies into re-opening the once popular winter sports area. Gage might be good with the practical work, but he needs help setting up the website. Marley is just the person he needs.
This is a lovely small town setting with good community spirit; people are excited about the ski resort plans and are happy to help get the place running in time for the post-Christmas season. I particularly liked the wild Alaskan setting.
A sexy Christmas romance set against the wilderness and beauty of small-town Alaska. Gage Hamilton is a smoldering Navy SEAL and a man on a mission. He’s returning to Diamond Creek, Alaska to resurrect his dream of reopening Last Frontier Lodge. Marley Adams moves back home hoping to find a sense of security and safety after it was stolen from her.
Gage has spent many years successfully avoiding emotional entanglements. He is looking for nothing more than peace and sanctuary at his family’s old ski lodge. His new neighbor, Marley, was definitely not part of his plans. Marley is a brainy computer whiz and way too sexy for Gage’s own good. A man who prides himself on always being in control, Gage finds that he has little when it comes to Marley.
Marley only wants to get her feet back under her after her world was turned upside down in Seattle. She’s been focused on little else beyond her work and is seriously out of practice with anything resembling romance…including the scorching hot attraction that sizzles anytime Gage crosses her path.
Gage and Marley are powerless against the magnetic pull between them. Steamy and snowy nights weave a spell around them. While Marley thought she escaped whoever set out to hurt her in Seattle, she finds the threat of danger has followed her to Diamond Creek. Gage must face the depth of his feelings for Marley when he realizes he will do anything to protect her. Can Marley and Gage discover love in time for Christmas? The magic of a white Christmas is right around the corner.
Irrevocable is the first book in the Guardians series of contemporary military romances.
Tess, a nurse in a neonatal unit, has sworn off men. However, her friends take her out for the evening to a popular nightclub where she trips and falls into Ethan, a good looking guy, but he accuses Tess of deliberately throwing herself at him and they separate after their disagreement.
They meet a second time at a charity event when Tess sneaks to the stables for a glimpse of a famous race horse. Ethan’s on guard duty to prevent guests from wandering, and once again the pair argue.
This is an enemies-to-lovers style story with a Texas setting which also squeezes in a good dose of secondary themes, all of which vied for attention. I did enjoy the story to a point, but it tried too hard to cover all the points where more depth could have worked just as well with fewer plot ideas.
When Tess nosedives into Ethan, it’s a genuine accident. But when she trespasses? Maybe not so much.
When Tess Williams, a neonatal intensive care unit nurse, finds her fiancé in bed with another woman, she is done with dating. Even if it means she won’t have a family of her own, because trust and honesty are that important to her. Hellbent on avoiding any temptation of the male kind, she makes one devastating mistake: nosediving into the solid chest of a Delta Force operator.
Her second far-reaching mistake? Trespassing.
Ethan Mitchell, only son of a Texas billionaire, joined the Army to turn his life around. Adamant all women are only after money and can’t be trusted, and to keep his past secret, he is only interested in casual flings. Until a stubborn and infuriating five-foot-seven firecracker crashes into him, insisting he is mistaken, and he needs to apologize.
Sure. Like hell he is. And like hell he will.
Ethan may admit he is wrong (about one woman specifically), but will he risk exposing his secrets to keep her in his life? And Tess may give in to the attraction between them, but will she risk her heart for someone who, all too often, is sent on life-threatening missions?
Content warning: This novel contains realistic neonatal experiences.
The Bookshop On The Shore is a contemporary romance set mainly in Scotland.
Single mother Zoe can no longer afford her London home, so she jumps at the opportunity of a job and a rent-free home in Scotland. Here her duties will involve light nanny work while covering maternity leave for a mobile book shop. It all sounds perfect!
However, The Beeches is an old homestead with three unruly motherless children, and Zoe is their latest in a long list of nannies. She must traverse the tricky minefield of their childhood, while attempting to bring order to the house. Her other role is to drive a mobile book shop around the villages; she’s filling the shoes of a bookseller who knows all the nuances of her demanding customers.
This is a fun book, with a sprinkle of romance. Much of the book focuses on children and books, all in a wonderful wild Scottish setting. A light-hearted story that would suit fans of a feel-good book.
A grand baronial house on Loch Ness, a quirky small-town bookseller, and a single mom looking for a fresh start all come together in this witty and warm-hearted novel by New York Times bestselling author Jenny Colgan.
Desperate to escape from London, single mother Zoe wants to build a new life for herself and her son Hari. She can barely afford the crammed studio apartment on a busy street where honking horns and shouting football fans keep them awake all night. If she doesn’t find a way out soon, Zoe knows it’s just a matter of time before she has a complete meltdown. On a whim, she answers an ad for a nanny job in the Scottish Highlands, which is about as far away from the urban crush of London as possible. It sounds heavenly!
The job description asks for someone capable of caring for three “gifted children”, two of which behave feral wolverines. The children’s widowed father is a wreck, and the kids run wild in a huge tumbledown castle on the heather-strewn banks of Loch Ness. Still, the peaceful, picturesque location is everything London is not—and Zoe rises to the challenges of the job.
With the help of Nina, the friendly local bookseller, Zoe begins to put down roots in the community. Are books, fresh air, and kindness enough to heal this broken family—and her own…?
Liz has been reading Rome For The Summer by Lynne Shelby
This is a slow burning romance set in the magical city of Rome in 2016. Having been defrauded by her boyfriend and lost her job in a London Art Gallery, Kate Harper has taken a temporary job in the “English House”. Relieved to find that her boss, Briony and co-worker Ariel are friendly and welcoming she also enjoys the company of Artist in Residence, Jamie Taylor. He persuades her to take up sketching and painting once again and her increased confidence as a tour guide helps to heal her heart.
She had chosen this location because of her interest in Charlotte Browne, an English girl who had lived there with her artist lover 200 years earlier. Kate’s family had owned a painting of Charlotte, but no-one knew what had happened to her after the artist had abandoned her. As Jamie takes Kate to visit the many essential places to see in Rome, we share her pleasure, described so well by the author. Kate also meets Conte Donatello Chiaretti who becomes a good friend even though he lives in a palace.
Interspersed between the story of Kate’s life in Rome are sections from Charlotte’s diary which describe why she decided to accompany the artist, Edmund Carey, to Rome. We read of her delight in the works of art she sees just as we do with Kate. Thus the two stories blend well.
This is a very satisfying novel of a young woman discovering her own gifts, among a group of people who care for her. The “Will they? Won’t they?” aspect of her relationship with Jamie add frisson to a rewarding read.
Kate Harper has always loved the painting that has hung in her parents’ dining room for years, never suspecting that it is worth a fortune. When her art dealer boyfriend cheats her family out of the proceeds of the painting’s sale, she is left devastated and alone.
Kate discovers that two hundred years ago, the girl in the painting, Charlotte Browne, ran off to Rome with the artist who painted her portrait, but her eventual fate is unknown.
Hoping to uncover the mystery of what happened to Charlotte, Kate seizes the chance of a summer job in Rome, where she strikes up a friendship with Jamie Taylor, an English artist. As they explore the city and start to piece together the surprising secrets of Charlotte’s life, Kate finds herself wondering if a summer in Rome can mend a broken heart…
Liz has been reading The Only Exception by Claire Huston
Lucinda’s busy professional life running a catering firm has caused her to put her personal life on hold. Still living in the same house as her ex-fiancé, who betrayed her, she doesn’t believe true love exists, so when her mother phones to say she is getting married again Lucinda is confused. Meanwhile she has a dramatic encounter in a lift with a handsome actor when they jointly revive a lady who has collapsed.
Alex has steady work in a successful TV series, but he still feels insecure renting a house in his 40s with a young actress he likes but does not love. When he meets Lucinda there are sparks and he keeps thinking about her, even though she is amazingly annoying. It is good to see the relationship from the viewpoint of each of them in turn.
Circumstances throw the couple together again and they discover they share similar values and sense of humour. When both experience professional problems they are each able to provide practical help, but their misunderstandings continue.
The characters in The Only Exception, especially in Alex’s family, are so believable and added to my enjoyment of the plot. A delightful story of modern life where work stresses, scandal and social media all play their part. And of course, a delicious sprinkling of romance.
Lucinda Green knows something is missing from her life. But what? Her catering business is enjoying modest success and she loves her cosy house, even if she does have to share it with her irritating ex-fiancé.
Whatever’s making her unsettled and edgy, Lucinda’s certain that a lack of romance isn’t the problem. How could it be when she doesn’t believe in true love?
But Lucinda’s beliefs are shaken by a series of electric encounters with Alex Fraser, a newly notorious actor who gradually proves himself to be infuriatingly funny and smart, as well as handsome.
Not that any of that matters. Because Lucinda doesn’t believe in all that ‘The One’ nonsense. That’s the rule.
Cathy has been reading Shoot The Moon by Bella Cassidy
Tassie Morris is a successful wedding photographer, working for a popular bridal magazine. She has a complicated relationship with her mother, loves her friends, her job and her garden and is still hung up on the loathsome Alex. They dated several years ago until Alex upped sticks and moved to America. He’s married with children but that doesn’t stop him ‘catching up’ with Tassie when he’s back in the UK.
When one of the scheduled wedding shoots for Kiss The Bride is cancelled at short notice, Tassie is offered a job in Scotland. The wedding is taking place on a mountain and initially Tassie isn’t best pleased, but a job is a job. There she meets the wonderful, caring Dan…but unfortunately the bad penny has turned up yet again.
I was fascinated by the descriptions of the way Tassie works as a photographer, and the awareness of family dynamics and interactions being witness to the whole day, through a lens, allows.
‘As she framed the shot, Tassie knew it would be beautiful. It was important that she understood the workings of each family she photographed, for it made succh a difference to the results. All morning she’d watched the physical affection between Clarissa and her mother, so she’d been prepared for it happening in the service as well. And, glancing at the back of her camera, she was confident the shot would capture the essence of the day.’
Told in the third person from Tassie’s perspective, the writing flows well and I enjoyed the different locations, including Somerset and Exeter, and particularly the image inducing descriptions of Scotland and the eventful journey to get to the wedding. There are several other issues covered, including family relationships and secrets, loss and grief, among others, giving the story depth and I did enjoy the touch of the supernatural, as well as the references to cheesemaking and dog breeding.
I found Shoot the Moon an easy, engaging read, exploring the many complex facets of love. The characters are believable and mostly likeable and, although I did want to give Tassie a good talking to sometimes, it was good to see her evolve and take control of her life and emotions.
When the love you miss the most is the one you’ve always had.
Tassie loves many things: her friends, her job, her garden. Even her first boyfriend. But there’s a kind of love she just can’t find.
Until, in losing everything, she sees what she needed most was there all along.
Sometimes it’s not the person you need to forget, but the person you need to forgive.
Shoot the Moon is the sweetest of bittersweet novels, combining two very different love stories. One of which will probably make you cry.
Tassie Morris is everyone’s favourite wedding photographer, famous for her photos of offbeat ceremonies and alternative brides. Yet commitment is proving impossible for Tassie herself, who cannot forget her first love.
When she’s sent to photograph a ceremony on Schiehallion – the Fairy Hill of the Scottish Caledonians – she meets Dan, who might be the one to make her forget her past. That is, until a family crisis begins a chain of events that threaten to destroy not only Tassie’s love life, but her entire career.
Set in a colourful world of extraordinary weddings, Shoot the Moon explores the complexities of different kinds of love: romantic love, mother love, friendship. And, ultimately, the importance of loving yourself.
Running on Diesel is book #8 of The Whiskeys: Dark Knights at Peaceful Harbor contemporary romance series. Each book can be read as a stand-alone, but I feel that they are best read in order.
The is the story of Desmond ‘Diesel Black’, a nomadic member of the Dark Knights motorcycle club. The club is made up of keen bikers who help their communities. Diesel has been drawn to waitress Tracey Kline since he first met her, but she was running from an abusive relationship and needed space to rebuild her life.
Tracey has worked as a waitress at the Whiskey’s bar for two years. Recently customers have been scared from her tables by an over-attentive Diesel; she’s had enough of the caveman act from Diesel and she intends to tell him to back off, but does she really mean it? Why is he the man filling her dreams?
In a story where secrets are revealed and the past comes back to haunt Diesel, these two people form a bond and find lost families. It was great to see Diesel change from someone who needed the freedom of the open road to a man who wanted to put down family roots. I was also pleased to see how Tracey grew in confidence and came back fighting after a traumatic experience. I do enjoy the ethos of the Dark Knights and the Whiskey family is definitely one to fall in love with.
Desmond “Diesel” Black is a Nomad with the Dark Knights motorcycle club. He protects others with his life and always rides alone. Tracey Kline left the only family she had for a man who broke more than her spirit, leaving her untrusting and on her own. When a twist of fate reveals pieces of the other no one else sees, will they be able to help each other mend their past hurts and learn to trust the chemistry and connection that’s too strong to deny?
Sweet, Sexy Heart is a stand-alone contemporary romance and it is also part of The Bradens & Montgomerys: Pleasant Hill – Oak Falls series.
Amber Montgomery, a bookshop owner, suffers from epilepsy, but she has it under control and leads a quiet small-town life. Dash Pennington is a high profile ex-footballer who is launching his debut novel; he’s starting his book tour at Amber’s shop, but arrives in town early to have a break from his schedule.
Amber may have a crush on Dash, but he’s not someone she would really get involved with. Dash’s bad boy footballer reputation precedes him, and he’s warned him off Amber, but the image that fans have of him aren’t the real Dash; he’s loyal and thoughtful, putting family and friends first.
It takes an acorn and a determined man to break down Amber’s barriers, but will Dash’s busy lifestyle and her stay-at-home dreams ever find a compromise?
This is a very sweet loving (and hot) romance, which tackles epilepsy in an open way without it feeling like a lecture. I enjoyed the small-town setting and how close and supportive Amber’s family are. There are secondary characters from other books for those who follow the series, or for new readers, those characters may pique their interest enough to pick up and fall in love with more of Foster’s couples.
Amber Montgomery is perfectly happy with her quiet life. She loves running her bookstore, taking long walks with Reno, her Labrador retriever seizure-response dog, and spending time with her close-knit family. She’s never needed thrills the way some of her sisters have. In an effort to control her epilepsy, she tries to avoid anything that creates too much excitement or stress—including relationships. When Amber hosts a book signing for famed-athlete-turned-author Dash Pennington, he’s everything she’s spent her life avoiding: loud, aggressive, and far too handsome, as proven by the hordes of women who surround him everywhere he goes. Amber can’t ignore the sparks flying between her and Dash, but this is a no-brainer for her: Ignore their chemistry and hold her breath until he leaves town.
Dash Pennington has spent his life running. Running the ball in for a touchdown, running from town to town to appease his public relations reps, and for years, running into the arms of too many women to count. He’s also an expert at protecting—his reputation, his family, and lately, his sanity. But he’s ready to make a change. When he comes to the sleepy little town of Oak Falls, Virginia, and witnesses the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen living the life he craves, she refuses to have anything to do with him. But now that Dash has found the one thing he doesn’t want to run from, he’ll stop at nothing to win her over.
Three Weddings And A Proposal is a contemporary story set in Ireland in a post-pandemic time. Delphie is the personal assistant of a successful businessman and the story opens with her being in charge of buying a very expensive bracelet for her boss’s girlfriend.
In her personal life Delphie needs a plus-one partner for her brother’s wedding; she’s running out of time to find a single man. Luckily, while returning from a business trip she bumps into an ex-boyfriend who kindly agrees to attend the wedding with her.
Fast forward a few weeks and Delphie’s life has been turned upside down, both on the work and domestic front. She has a lot of decisions to make and while her family think they know what she wants, Delphie needs to discover where her true feelings lie.
This was an easy read in a popular genre; much of the story was quite predictable, though, so some readers may be a little disappointed. I particularly enjoyed the Irish setting, and Delphie’s organisational skills were quite inspiring. I also liked how this was set just after the current pandemic, giving me some hope for a return to normality.
By the third, Delphie thinks nothing could surprise her. But she’s wrong . . .
Delphie is enjoying her brother’s wedding. Her surprise last-minute Plus One has stunned her family – and it’s also stopped any of them asking again why she’s still single. But when she sees all the missed calls that evening, she knows it can’t be good news. And she’s right.
Delphie has been living her best life, loving her job, her friends, her no-strings relationships and her dream house by the sea. Now she has to question everything she believed about who she is and what she wants. Is her mum right – is it time to settle down? Or does she want to keep on trying to have it all?
Each wedding of a glorious summer brings a new surprise. And as everything Delphie thought she had is threatened, she has the chance to reshape her future.