#BookReview By Lou of A Cosmic Kind Of Love By Samantha Young #SamanthaYoung @Bookish_Becky @PiatkusBooks @littlebrownuk #RomanticFiction #RomCom #Space #ACosmicKindOfLove #ContemporaryFiction #BookClubReads #BookClub

A Cosmic Kind Of Love
By Samantha Young

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today I have a review of a wonderful romantic comedy, that truly is as cosmic as they come. Thanks firstly to the publisher – Little Brown Books for gifting me a copy of the book. Without further ado, onto the blurb and then find out my thoughts in my review. Thanks to Becky Hunter and Piatkus Books and Little Brown UK

 

Blurb

Space is the last thing an event planner and an astronaut need in this charming new romantic comedy from New York Timesbestselling author Samantha Young.

When event planner Hallie Goodman receives party-inspiration material from the bride of her latest wedding project, the last thing she expects to find in the files are digital videos from Darcy’s ex-boyfriend. Hallie knows it’s wrong to keep watching these personal videos, but this guy is cute, funny, and an astronaut on the International Space Station to boot. She’s only human. And it’s not long until she starts sending e-mails and video diaries to his discontinued NASA address. Since they’re bouncing back, there’s no way anyone will ever be able to see them…right?

Christopher Ortiz is readjusting to life on earth and being constantly in the shadow of his deceased older brother. When a friend from NASA’s IT department forwards him the e-mails and video messages Hallie has sent, he can’t help but notice how much her sense of humor and pink hair make his heart race.

Separated by screens, Hallie and Chris are falling in love with each other, one transmission at a time. But can they make their star-crossed romance work when they each learn the other’s baggage?

Review

Hallie Goodman is an interesting woman, she is an event planner and an astronaut. She has a boyfriend, but tensions and cracks show from the beginning, especially in his behaviour, even though she herself does land herself in the sorts of situations, but his response makes her question her relationship.

Away from her own relationship issues, she has an engagement party to plan for Darcy Hawthorn, a true blue New York socialite.
There is also Aunt Julia, who wants a bachelorette party and there are funny social media consequences to this.
The scene and flavour of what’s to come is set up in the first chapter. The book then goes back to 1 year ago with the chapters going between Hallie and Chris. Chris (Captain Christopher  Ortiz) works for NASA and has spent over a month on the International Space Station. It really works for the background of the characters before switching back to present day.

It is a great story of social media and romance and how events occur and relationships develop. The video diaries from Chris that readers can tap into throughout the story add extra insights and thoughts into his life. They show a certain amount of grounding even though he is in space.
In-amongst the romance is also other tensions, such as within families to follow.

A Cosmic Kind of Love builds into a story that is easy to kick off the shoes and relax on a cold, wintry day (or enjoy in the sun, if it’s your summer) and feel it’s romantic, uplifting vibes.

This is also great for book clubs as there are excellent questions prepared at the end for discussion points.

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#BookReview By Lou of The Locked Away Life By Drew Davies @Drew_Davies @bookouture #ContemporaryFiction #HeartwarmingRead

The Locked Away Life
By Drew Davies

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I have a review of The Locked Away Life by Drew Davies, thanks to the publisher, bookouture an immersive, heartwarming read with chance encounters, different lives and secrets. Discover the blurb and full review below.

 

Blurb

A lonely soul is on the verge of giving up. Can the kindness of a young stranger save her?

Esther has shut away herself in her vine-covered manor house on the top of a hill for as long as she can remember. Everyone in the village whispers about the scandal that broke her heart. She has cut herself off from the world – until now. Now, she needs help uncovering the mystery that has plagued her for decades…

On a sunny spring day, eighteen-year-old Bruno is in the local library when he spots an advert. The old lady on the hill is looking for internet lessons, and Bruno sees his chance. Forever the outsider, he can’t wait to escape the sleepy village – the paid position could be his ticket out of there.

Esther and Bruno have nothing in common, except that they are both in hiding, and their secrets are stopping them from truly living… Esther must come to terms with her past, and Bruno needs to figure out his future. Can these two strangers save one another?

Just as heartbreaking as it is heartwarming, this page-turner is for anyone who has ever felt left behind or came close to giving up. Perfect for fans of Sally Page, Ruth Hogan and Mike Gayle.

Review

Unusually, there are two prologues. The first is heart rendering, with Bruno and the second, a terrifying moment with Esther and then it folds out into chapters with these two main characters, alternating with their colliding stories as it goes along as it explains all, how these 2 people meet. It goes right back to a chance encounter of 18 year old Bruno and an advertisement in the community library, one that is a book swap bit of a hair salon. Bruno answers the ad and this is when life changes for him and Esther, an older lady who requires some help. She’s funny in a way, in the beginning as in haha funny and quirky as well as in the tricky sort of manner of the word.

Esther needs help and Bruno needs money, so takes up the offer. She’s got quite a history and quite an attitude to growing ever older. She is also determined or stubborn and has decided she never wants to leave the Manor House she rattles around in. She would say determined, I’m sure, whereas Jane will reckon more stubborn and sees how Esther is no longer able to be as independent as she once was, which she recognises a little herself, as in a smidging.
It’s an interesting pairing, but a good one, showing young and old can come together in all sorts of circumstances and there be a maturity and a developing of that relationship of sorts, and with it’s these characters, it is engaging to see how they develop in their lives. It is intriguing to see the eaking out of secrets and how they both essentially needed each other, but prior to the chance encounter of an ad, they weren’t aware of each other’s existence.
There is also, throughout the relationship between Bruno and Dominic throughout, which brings some exploration of romance and queries around that and sexuality. It also then weaves into conversations with Esther.

Interestingly, it all ends in 2 epilogues. 1 for Esther and on for Bruno,

The manner the conversations come together are not only well observed, but make reading this book immersive and easy to lose yourself in the book’s, sometimes heart-rendering, sometimes heartwarming pages.

A Double #CoverReveal of #AScottishCountryEscape and #TheChristmasHighlandLodge. By Julie Shackman @G13Julie @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources

Today I have a double Cover Reveal. One for A Scottish Country Escape and the other for The Christmas At the Highland Lodge. Two new books by Julie Shackman to get excited about. Then find out a  bit about this Scottish author for yourself at the end of this post. Thanks to publisher OneMoreChapter and Rachel Random Resources for inviting me on this cover reveal.

Discover the covers, the blurbs and links to these books.

First up is A Scottish Country Escape

Escape to the Scottish Highlands with a brand new spring romance from bestselling author, Julie Shackman

*Julie Shackman’s brand new romance The Cottage in the Highlands is exclusively available on First Reads for November*

Determined to overcome a family tragedy, Elle Cassidy decides to reopen her late mother’s ailing newsagent as a stationery shop in the quiet Scottish town of Fir Haven.

But when the arrogant yet handsome crime writer Dexter Grayling almost runs over Elle in his beast of a sports car, the town is thrown into a tailspin – especially when Dexter claims that local resident Linda Carlucci has put a curse on him and he is no longer able to write.

Can Elle put aside her dislike for the self-absorbed writer and help Dexter uncover what is really going on with the Carlucci family? And in the process will Elle realise that there’s a lot more to her beloved Fir Haven than she first thought…

For fans of Donna Ashcroft, Jane Linfoot and Rachael Lucas.

Preorder links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0B9SK1DHM

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B9SK1DHM

Publication Date: 16th March 2023

Second up is: The Christmas Highland Lodge

Fall in love with the Christmas romance of the year, full of love and second chances!

Lottie Grant loves the festive season so much that she works at the incredibly successful Christmas shop, Christmas Crackers, in her pretty Scottish home town of Craig Brae. But when the shop is sold, her world is turned upside down, leaving her wondering what she will do next.

Just as she’s about to give up hope on finding a new dream job, an offer comes that she can’t refuse, managing a set of luxury wooden cabins… and opening just in time for Christmas!

As she gets to work decorating the cabins, and hanging lights on the fir trees, Lottie can’t believe her luck. That is until the arrival of Blake Dempster, a moody but handsome hiking expert, who threatens to bring down her festive joy. But never one to shy away from a challenge, Lottie is determined to change Blake’s mind about all things festive.

And as the snow falls and the fairy lights sparkle, will work-obsessed Lottie and frozen-hearted Blake make their Christmas wishes come true?

Preorder links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0BDBT59L4

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BDBT59L4

Publication Date: 20th October 2023


About the Author

Julie Shackman is a former journalist from Scotland, who has always wanted to write feel-good romance. As well as being an author, Julie also writes verses and captions for greetings card companies.

She admits to having an obsession with stationery and handbags and has an impressive pile of gorgeous To Be Read novels she is wading her way through.

She is married, has two sons and a Romanian rescue puppy, Cooper. A Scottish Country Escape and The Christmas Highland Lodge are Julie’s eighth and nineth novels respectively.

Social Media Links –

Website – Julie Shackman Author

Julie Shackman (@G13Julie) / Twitter

#Bookreview By Lou of A Scandinavian Summer By Helga Jensen @HelgaJensenF @rararesources #RomanticFiction

A Scandinavia Summer
By Helga Jensen

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today I’m on a blog tour for A Scandinavian Summer thanks to Rachel Random Resources and the publisher – Canelo.

Blurb

It’s the right time for love, but is it the wrong place?

After the tragic, premature death of her husband Anthony, Martha has spent all her time focused on her teenage daughter Rosie in their small Welsh village.

But with Rosie leaving the nest, and Martha’s own job on the line, it feels that life is passing her by.

Inspired by her love for Scandi-noir dramas, Martha impulsively books a trip to Denmark, determined to push herself out of her comfort zone – even if the thought terrifies her…

Her trip to the tiny island of Fano becomes something much more: in the form of handsome stranger, Lars. Can Martha find love under the Scandinavian skies… but more importantly, can she find herself?

A romantic, warm and uplifting read, guaranteed to leave you smiling. Fans of Jenny Colgan and Kathryn Freeman will adore this feelgood read!

Review

Summer is turning into autumn, but here’s an opportunity to do some armchair travelling to catch some summer rays. Readers can journey between Wales and a Danish island – Fano in this feel good rom-com. As well as romance, there’s some self love as Martha starts to embrace life more on her journey of self-discovery as she grows in confidence and determination to push through what was holding her back and to journey outwith her comfort zone. Before that, she suffered from panic attacks, had been through grief of being widowed at a young age and allowed this and her work in the library to be her main stay in life as the rest of what life had to offer passed her by. It’s a beautiful read, seeing how Martha wants to do something different and push through the discomfort of her previously assuring barriers, to regain life for herself and exploration of what she can do and of what the world has to offer. There is of course the dishy Lars to provide some new romance along the way.

It’s a good read with a writing style that makes it easy for Martha to pull readers with her and join her on her romantic and self-discovery adventure.

 

#Review By Lou of – The Lighthouse Bookshop By Sharon Gosling @sharongosling @BookMinxSJV @simonschusterUK #TheLighthouseBookshop #BlogTour

The Lighthouse Bookshop
By Sharon Gosling

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Lighthouse Bookshop, set in Aberdeenshire provides heartwarming escapism, which will whisk readers away for awhile to uncover what is there. Discover more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in my review below.
Thanks first to the publisher, Simon & Schuster for inviting me to review for the blog tour and for a copy of the book.

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Blurb

At the heart of a tiny community in a remote village just inland from the Aberdeenshire coast stands an unexpected lighthouse. Built two centuries ago by an eccentric landowner, it has become home to the only bookshop for miles around.

Rachel is an incomer to the village. She arrived five years ago and found a place she could call home. So when the owner of the Lighthouse Bookshop dies suddenly, she steps in to take care of the place, trying to help it survive the next stage of its life.

But when she discovers a secret in the lighthouse, long kept hidden, she realises there is more to the history of the place than she could ever imagine. Can she uncover the truth about the lighthouse’s first owner? And can she protect the secret history of the place?

Review

Toby Hollingwood is a writer who has arrived in Aberdeen with aspirations to write about the lighthouse that’s falling into disrepair. Dora McCreedy, however has a story to tell and Toby is eager to discover more. Beauty amongst tragedy and a slight air of eeriness unfolds within a beautifully described setting on the Aberdeenshire coast.

Sharon Gosling whisks readers to the heart of the community and the gossip and the grumbles of residents and issues of landowners and property owners having so many homes lying empty.

Cullen Macdonald on the other hand seems a generous soul in the way he helps Rachel out of a sticky situation.

There is a real sense of community and small village ways where everyone knows everyone and that feeling of, once an incomer, always an incomer is perfectly observed, when it comes to Rachel. There is also romance simmering away, sometimes in the background and sometimes in the foreground. Amongst that is a sense of history and heritage as the past starts to be uncovered as it releases some secrets. It’s a delight to read and good escapism, but isn’t whimsical by any means in its mystique as there are elements of trepidation and danger.

In what is an occasionally thought provoking story and at times, mildly humorous, it is, above all heartwarming in a way that is sure to melt even the stoniest of hearts.

#Writeup of an #authortalk with Chris Brookmyre and Jenny Colgan, #Books, #Music #Festivals #Writing and more @jennycolgan @cbrookmyre

A Write-up of a talk between Chris Brookmyre and Jenny Colgan
Event took place on 27th July 2022

The event was held by Stirling Waterstones upstairs in a pub in Stirling, Scotland called The Curly Coo (or The Curly Cow for those abroad wondering what a coo is).
Chris Brookmyre’s book is – The Cliff House and Jenny Colgan’s book is – An Island Wedding.
Both are available to purchase now!
Review Link for The Cliff House – link is also after my write-up here as are links to The Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, Bloody Scotland and website and social media links.

Jenny and Chris books

Although both authors do not have the commonality of crime fiction/mystery within their new books, they do share the theme of a party.

The talk covered their books, writing, music and more…

I have included a link to my book review of The Cliff House By Chris Brookmyre within this for those who haven’t seen the separate post of it. I am yet to read The Island Wedding by Jenny Colgan.

Me and Jenny

Me and Chris

Me and Jenny Colgan

Me and Chris Brookmyre

The atmosphere was jovial and warm. The talk was mostly humorous and they treated those who attended to a reading of extracts from their books. They talked about the last time they met to do a talk together was in 2006 in Shetland. Chris Brookmyre recalled that William McIllvanney was on the audience guestlist and how that felt.

They talked about if and when they re-read their books. 2008 was the last time Chris Brookmyre last read one of his old books as he was writing a sequel.
A rather scary aspect of the talk was when Jenny Colgan talked about a book she had written and how the USA branded the 1990s as historical fiction.
They talked about each others books and how Chris Brookmyre writes books from different characters points of view, which you will see in The Cliff House.

Weddings and Parties

What is interesting and was brought up as they talked, was the fact that in lockdown, weddings were cancelled and people postponed them (a family member of mine, included) and how everyone knew what that was like, and how now there are many books set around parties.
I, myself have seen and got some books to review that are and seems to be quite a big theme this year as Chris Brookmyre talks about how people are writing vicariously about parties after being in lockdown and mentions authors such as Lin Anderson and Claire MacIntosh.
Jenny Colgan talked excitedly about how she writes about all different weddings; she also loved doing the research for them, especially for the most extravagant weddings and just to enjoy wedding again. It was interesting hearing how her attitude has changed to wanting to go to them all and with a gift, from pre-pandemic and wondering whether she wanted to or not and the cost of a gift etc.
Chris Brookmyre interestingly talked about how he was inspired by people going to private islands. His island is fictionalised and he seems to like that he could make up his own rules. He talked about this for the many genres he writes.
Jenny Colgan also creates a bit of fiction in her places and advised people not to write about where you live, unless perhaps it is a city and alluded to how that would be different as there isn’t so much of a very tight-knit close community, whereas people may recognise themselves or think they do in somewhere small.
Chris Brookmyre talked a bit about his book and its concepts of his character Jen getting married again and can’t accept the concept of happiness as seems all too good to be true, but has a hen party anyway. He talked about friendships and how there are different levels of this, some you see a lot, but don’t actually truly know and people who you may not trust, which are concepts within the book.
The island itself, he describes is as like an upmarket Airbnb. It is a book of 7 points of view. When asked about why the characters were all women, he stated he wanted to write about women and not men and alluded that it would be a very different story if the characters were men.
He talked a bit about “And Then There We’re None by Agatha Christie” and how books, such as his are often compared to this, but talked about how they differ and one of the ways is that was a story of retribution but his book is essentially about forgiveness of themselves.
He later talked about liking mismatched crime books.

Writing and Marketing

The talk moved onwards to the interesting topic of covers, but without getting into it all too deeply and heavy. They mainly focussed on the pink covers, since both of them have pink on them and there are a few around in many genres just now. They pointed out that the “pink” etc doesn’t necessarily show much about what is lurking inside the content of a book.
They talked about marketing a little bit in-terms of genres, marketing spaces. Jenny Colgan declared she didn’t really believe in genre. For Chris Brookmyre, he said the term “Tartan Noir” was good for marketing but his book – The Cliff House is more uplifting and about friendships, so less “noir”.
They talked about timers within books. The writer has got to solve the murder at a certain stage, in a rom-com the writer has got to get their characters together before Xmas. When writing different genres, Jenny Colgan reckons she doesn’t find that too difficult, but does however find it hard to kill off characters.
She also alluded that it is a bit different for Doctor Who as this is an already created person. It was fascinating hearing about the pecking order and the way Doctor Who works for writers.
Like Jenny Colgan, and perhaps even more so, Chris Brookmyre writes in many genres and how he is Ambrose Parry when he writes historical fiction, with Marissa, his wife, who sounds like she likes rules, plotting and planning, so he revealed he does a bit more of that now, but still likes the element of surprise in the direction his characters take him in. He also talked about something exciting happening with Netflix.
Jenny Colgan on the other-hand isn’t a fan of overly researching, but does do some.
Jenny Colgan added to how she writes and had a bit of advise for new writers and says you can start at 200 words and write to that target and then get on with the rest of the day (she writes thousands and then gets on with her day, but says hundreds is also fine). They both talked about getting the first draft down, in brief, they say that this needs to be finished and then it can be fixed after that and also write about what you know.

Music 

Chris Brookmyre is a member of the Fun Lovin’ Criminals and they will be playing at The Edinburgh Fringe 2022.

Jenny Colgan can play the piano and recently learnt how to play the harp.

Thanks

I thank both authors for the photos and for signing my books, which I now treasure.

 Links