The Personal Shopper (Annie Valentine #1 ) by Carmen Reid

I’ve decided to post my Scribd reviews on my blog, too. This is the first one I’m posting here.

About the Book:

There’s just one accessory Annie Valentine can’t find — the perfect man!

Meet Annie Valentine: stylish, savvy, a multi-tasker extraordinaire.

As a personal shopper in a fancy London fashion store, Annie can re-style and re-invent her clients from head to toe. In fact, this super-skilled dresser can be relied on to solve everyone’s problems . . . except her own.
Although she’s a busy single mum to stroppy teen Lana, and painfully shy Owen, there’s a gap in Annie’s wardrobe — sorry, life — for a new man. But finding the perfect partner is turning out to be so much trickier than finding the perfect pair of shoes.

Can she source a genuine classic? A life-long investment? Or will she end up with a mistake from the sale rack who’ll have to be returned?

Or maybe, just maybe, there’ll be someone new this season who could be the one…

My Review:

I love how each chapter of The Personal Shopper starts with a description of what each character is wearing, where it’s from and how much it cost. Annie’s take on what people around her were wearing and what was happening around her were hillarious at times. I loved her daughter Lauren’s take on life too.

Annie has two would-be love intrerests: who will she choose?

The Personal Shopper is a dream book plot come true for me. I have reviewed one of Carmen Reid’s books, Worn Out Wife Seeks New Life, and adored it. Carmen Reid is one of my favourite authors.

The Personal Shopper was a real winner for me, as it has a great heroine (Annie) and her family were realistic. The characters were all very well fleshed out. The plot has perect pacing and I really felt at home in The Store. I felt like I was there. I am a real shopaholic, and it would be my dream to have a personal shopper.

Each character’s backstory was something I was eager to find out about, as well as their life ups and downs. There were realistic insights into aspects of life such as school experiences, social life with and without family, being a teenager, and house hunting or apartment hunting as an adult.

The Personal Shopper was utterly fun and enjoyable.

5 stars, and I’d give it more if I could.

Where to Buy:

Escape to Bellbird Bay by Maggie Christensen @MaggieChriste33 @rararesources

About the Book:

Escape to Bellbird Bay: A heartwarming story of second chances
When successful university lecturer Alison Wells’ life unexpectedly falls apart, she follows in her brother’s footsteps and escapes to the coastal town of Bellbird Bay on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
Neil Simpson loves teaching and his position as principal at a prestigious boys’ school in Brisbane. But when scandal rocks the school, and he learns his father’s health is failing, he has no choice but to return to his hometown of Bellbird Bay.
Determined not to be a burden to her brother and his new partner, Ali is considering her options when her world and Neil’s collide. Having avoided commitment all her life, Ali is unprepared for the force of her attraction to the man who is trying to come to terms with the upheaval in his own life.
As fate conspires to keep them apart, can this small town work its magic on these two lost souls?

About the Author:

After a career in education, Maggie Christensen began writing contemporary women’s fiction portraying mature women facing life-changing situations, and historical fiction set in her native Scotland. Her travels inspire her writing, be it her trips to visit family in Scotland, in Oregon, USA or her home on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast. Maggie writes of mature heroines coming to terms with changes in their lives and the heroes worthy of them. Maggie has been called the queen of mature age fiction and her writing has been described by one reviewer as like a nice warm cup of tea. It is warm, nourishing, comforting and embracing.
From the small town in Scotland where she grew up, Maggie was lured to Australia by the call to ‘Come and teach in the sun’. Once there, she worked as a primary school teacher, university lecturer and in educational management. Now living with her husband of over thirty years on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, she loves walking on the deserted beach in the early mornings and having coffee by the river on weekends. Her days are spent surrounded by books, either reading or writing them – her idea of heaven!

Contact Maggie:

My Review:

I was pleased to be back in Bellbird Bay. Maggie Christensen has done it again in this next part of the series. Bellbird Bay is a beautiful fictional town and a great place to take some time out. This is what Ali hopes, as she takes some leave from her job at Perth University. I liked Libby and thought Clancy was cute, as was Milo the dog.

Neil is a headteacher who ends up in Bellbird Bay with his daughter, Brontë.

There are so many emotions, happy and sad, as the characters navigate their lives. People in Bellbird Bay are very welcoming and helpful. I found myself wanting Ali and Neil to see each other again just as much as they did after their first meeting and I was happy for them that they’d met.

Escape to Bellbird Bay is written in Maggie’s signature relaxing immersive writing style is one I love.

Harry, Neil’s father, works at Bay Books. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the bookshop and how it in itself felt like a sub-community within Bellbird Bay. I liked how the doctor explained about Parkinson’s disease and felt that went a long way to raise awareness of the condition.

Thanks to Maggie Christensen, Cala Publishing and Rachel’s Random Resources for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review,

5 stars

Where to Buy:

Freya’s French Farmhouse (Blossomwood Bay #2) by Daisy James @daisyjamesbooks @rararesources

About the Book:

Welcome to Freya’s French Farmhouse, the second book in a brand new series from the author of the Hummingbird Hotel series and the Cornish Confetti Agency series.

Escape to the French Riviera!

After losing her aromatherapy studio in the BlossomwoodBay fire, Freya Farnham finds herself at a loose end, especially when her trusty Renault decides that it’s time to head to the scrapyard in the sky. Now she has no excuse not to agree to her parents’ request to head to the pretty village of Saint-Julien to find out why her late Uncle Toby’s gorgeous French farmhouse isn’t selling, even when the real estate agent, Xavier Deschamps, advertises himself as “the best in the whole of Provence”.

As soon as she arrives, Freya realises what the problem is, and so, with the help of handsome local car mechanic Jacques Jordan, she invests her last euro in a kaleidoscope of cleaning products and sets about transforming the drab and dusty dwelling into a chic and shiny château. Little did she know that in the process she would discover more about her family’s history than she bargained for.

Can she come to terms with her past? Or will the demons that have been snapping at her heels since childhood prevent her from seizing the chance to achieve a much-longed-for sense of belonging in the friendly community where she’s treated as one of their own?

Why not join Freya as she explores the lavender-infused Provençal countryside, and enjoy a trip filled with fun, fragrance, and delicious foodie treats with a dash of heart-warming romance thrown in for good measure!

Where to Buy:

US –

UK –

About the Author:

Daisy James loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. She especially likes to create sunshine-filled settings in exotic locations – the Caribbean, Tuscany, Cornwall, Provence – so she can spend her time envisioning her characters enjoying the fabulous scenery and sampling the local food and drink.

When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

Contact Daisy:



My Review:

I was so happy when I was sent the blog tour invite for Daisy James’ new book: Freya’s French Famhouse. It was so great to be back in Blossomwood Bay with Freya and friends. The devastating boardwalk fire was something that didn’t leave my mind since Tilly’s Tuscan Teashop, the first book in the series which I was also on the blog tour for.

Blossomwood Bay was the perfect place to spend time. Devon is a place I love and have fond memories of from childhood family vacations.

I really felt for Freya and the circumstances surrounding her leaving her cottage in Blossomwood Bay.

I was rooting for Freya as she tried to move on from what happened. Daisy James is brilliant at backstory, atmosphere and quirky, loving, fun supportive characters.

I liked Tilly, Freya’s best friend in Tuscany since the previous book and how she was so supportive. Jacques was handsome, helpful and easygoing. Daisy has so many unique experiences. I enjoyed the hairdressing experience and liked Esmée from the moment she was introduced. . Gérard was a great character, very wise.

I was praying that things could work out for Freya with her life and her time in France.

Freya’s French Farmhouse tugged at my heartstrings and was utterly enjoyable, as only a Daisy James book can be. Provence was beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed going on Freya’s journey of self-discovery and healing in a place where she spent some of her childhood as it was her uncle Toby’s house.

I really loved the house and the town. The fact the house had a perfume making business included was really original and so was Freya’s dream to open her own perfumerie. I loved the scene where created her own perfumes for people who were important to her.

There was a real sense of being somewhere so familiar and of treasured memories.

The attention to detail is always excellent with Daisy James books. The food and drink was amazingly detailed, as were the descriptions of French culture and mannerisms.

Thanks to Daisy James, Boldwood Books and Rahel’s Random Resources for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

5 stars.

Summer at Croftwood Cinema by Victoria Walker @4victoriawalker @rararesources

About the Book:

Patsy Clements lives in Croftwood. It’s been her sanctuary for three years while she rebuilt a life for herself that is safe and happy. Out of necessity, she has learnt to live without ambitions or dreams, but she does have her best friend Oliver who means everything to her.

Oliver Jones owns the trendy local coffee shop and establishes himself as the town entrepreneur when he buys the derelict old cinema in the park. Bringing it back to life is going to be a challenge and he wants his best friend Patsy to be his business partner. 

After lying low for three years is it a mistake for her to change the life that has kept her safe or is it time to start living again? Will stepping into the limelight tempt fate and mean her past catches up with her and can she survive if it does?

Join Patsy and Oliver in the small town of Croftwood for a summer where friendships are made, challenges are everywhere and romance blossoms at the cinema in the park.

Where to Buy:

UK –

US –

About the Author:

Victoria Walker has been writing romantic fiction since a visit to Iceland in 2014 inspired her first novel. As well as writing, she spends her free time dressmaking, knitting and reading an inordinate amount of contemporary romance, occasionally punctuated by the odd psychological thriller and saga.

In the past she has worked as a cinema projectionist, a knitting and sewing tutor and has owned a yarn store, all things which will no doubt appear in her books if they haven’t already.

Victoria lives in the Malvern Hills with her husband.

Contact Victoria:



Twitter -@4victoriawalker

Instagram – victoriamakes

My Review:

After having loved Victoria’s previous book, Hideaway in Iceland, I was very keen to review Summer at Croftwood Cinema. As if the title isn’t original enough, the blurb is that plus nostalgic and realistic. I loved the idea of buying an old cinema and Croftwood is a lovely homely place.

Patsy, Oliver, Ed and Toby were all distinct characters and I liked Patsy and was keen to be on her journey. Oliver was a good person.

Real life, nostalgia, teamwork and romance collide in this novel with romance too.

Thanks to Victoria Walker, Ever After Books and Rachel’s Random Resources for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

5 stars.

The Cruise by Caroline James @CarolineJames12 @rararesources #TheCruise

About the Book:


Three friends set sail on a luxury cruise… will they be able to catch a husband on the open seas?

Leaving behind the heartache, guilt and disappointment of their real lives, three friends decide that now they’re in their sixties, it’s time they finally did something for themselves!

Swapping Christmas turkeys and BBC reruns for crystal waters, white sandy beaches and smooth golden rum, Anne, Jane and Kath throw caution (and tradition) to the wind as they set sail on a luxury two-week Christmas cruise around the Caribbean.

Will the three friends find the comfort and joy they seek aboard the Diamond Star?

Purchase Link –

About the Author:

Best-selling author of women’s fiction, Caroline James, has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that often features in her novels. She is based in the UK but escapes whenever lockdown allows. A public speaker, which has included talks and lectures on cruise ships worldwide, Caroline is also a consultant and food writer. Caroline writes articles and runs writing workshops, is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association, the Society of Women’s Writer & Journalists and the Society of Authors. In her spare time, Caroline can be found walking with Fred, her Westie and in summer, wild water swimming. In winter, when not working, she relaxes with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.

Contact Caroline:

Twitter: @CarolineJames12

Facebook: Caroline James Author

Amazon Author Page


Under a Greek Sun by Mandy Baggot @mandybaggot @BoldwoodBooks @bookandtonic @rararesources

About the Book:

Eve Collins is looking forward to the holidays.

Her job as a counsellor has been as taxing as it has been rewarding, and she can’t wait for some downtime on the Greek island of Corfu with best-friend, Gabby. But between Eve’s brother, Ben, unexpectedly joining and Gabby’s job at the animal rescue centre keeping her busy, Eve might have to start mucking in…

When Gianni arrives in the village of Episkepsi, it’s like a model has stepped straight off the pages of Vogue Italia… with an uptight personality to match. He may be super-sexy but there are obvious chips on those broad shoulders.

As Eve and Gianni get to know each other and both start to lean into the Greek customs and avrio mentality, an initial attraction starts to turn into something more. But with so much family drama in both their lives, neither of them were looking for a holiday romance…

About the Author:

Mandy Baggot is a bestselling romance writer who loves giving readers that happy-ever-after. From sunshine romantic comedies set in Greece, to cosy curl-up winter reads she writes gorgeous heroes and strong heroines readers can relate to. Mandy splits her time between Salisbury, Wiltshire and Corfu, Greece and has a passion for books, food, racehorses and all things Greek! 

Contact Mandy:   




Bookbub profile:

My Review:

I’ve reviewed so many Mandy Baggot books over the years that I knew I wanted to review her latest novel, too. 

Under a Greek Sun is a novel that had me gripped at the start, and then the pace seemed to lag a little after Eve and her brother Ben’s arrival in Greece. Then it picked up again. their backstory was so interesting and I was fearful of their mother for much of the story. Then I felt for her with the reveal that came later on. I wasn’t expecting it.

I agreed that Eve’s family circumstances were ones where a break would be needed, and the way the Greek holiday was woven in seemed to be in just the right way and at just the right time. 

I always love how Mandy Baggot details Greece and everything about it seemed to jump off the page as it always does in her books. Food, weather, customs,, towns and cities….it was as if I was there. The animal sanctuary was so atmospheric and I loved all the parts where animals were cared for.

Italy was very immersive and breathtaking too. I wanted Eve’s ice cream she had in Italy!

The book was special in that it’s set in three countries. England, Greece and Italy. The links between the three were very well explored within the plot.

I liked all the characters and they were all very well fleshed out. They’re all people to root for at some time in the story. They all have clear personalities, strengths and weaknesses.

I did feel for Gianni and his backstory was and situation with his father’s death and the coffee company and his inheriting it was dealt with in a wonderfully sensitive way, as were most of the tougher life issues characters have to deal with or have been/are going through. 

The story had some very clever and emotional twists and turns and I was hooked. I could feel myself tear up at some points and it was like I couldn’t get enough of the story at many points.

Eve and Gianni…what can I say? They are an amazing and beautiful couple. Ben’s story was compelling too. And Gianni’s parents’ story was one that was well woven in to the plot and romantic. Pan’s story was unique.

I was sad to finish this novel and it’s the kind of story I’d go back to again and again.

Emotional, feelgood and unforgettable.

Thanks to Mandy Baggot, Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. 

5 stars. I’d give it more if I could! The perfect pick-me-up for any season or a great beach read.

Where to Buy:

Summer on the French Riviera by Jennifer Bohnet @jenniewriter @BoldwoodBooks @bookandtonic @rararesources

About the Book:

A family reunited after a twenty-year estrangement, will discover secrets that change their lives forever…

Gabriella Jacques, is happy to be back in her childhood home, Villa Espoir in the South of France ready to embrace fresh experiences with friends new and old and to heal some deep family scars.
Recently widowed Harriet Rogers, hopes to rebuild her family life and reconnect with Elodie, the daughter she abandoned into her mother Gabby’s care to follow her heart. But when an acquaintance from the past seeks her out, Harriet fears a secret from her past will ruin her plans.
Elodie Jacques, adores her new life in her Grandmothers old home as a freelance journalist. Her relationship with her mother is tense as she struggles to understand why her mother won’t talk to her about the past, as until their past is resolved, there can be no future.
Will these three women, all living under the same roof after two decades adrift be able to put aside the past and find harmony in the present together?

About the Author:

Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 12 women’s fiction titles, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and A Riviera Retreat. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.

Contact Jennifer:

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My Review:

I’ve now reviewed a number of books by Jennifer Bohnet and loved them all. They are immediately feel-good and have an amazing attention to detail. Jennifer really gets inside the characters.

In Summer on the French Riviera, I really felt for Elodie as Harriett was back in her life. Gabriella was a wonderful grandmother and I felt the supportive relationship between them, although sometimes it was full of home truths too because of what every character had been through. This made it very true-to-life for me.

I found the whole decision to move to France very moving, as well as how that affected all three of them.

There was a sense of “coming home” as well as trying to move on, and each character had their personal battles.

Some moments were truly heartfelt. I found the last fish and chips with a glass of wine at their local pub poignant, as was the sight of the ferries and the memory that evoked for them all.

I was reminded of many a holiday to France throughout this book, although I’ve never been to the exact area mentioned in this book.

Jennifer Bohnet such a talent for showing the French way of life and her settings are always believable. I was left with the desire to travel after having reviewed this book and certainly feel like the plot made me travel to France. I feel something on the French Riviera was one of Jennifer’s most heartfelt and emotional books. I was cheering the characters on . The pace was quick and immersive which made me love the book even more.

Thanks to Jennifer Bohnet, Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

5 stars

Where to Buy:

Somebody Like You by Donna Alward @DonnaAlward @rararesources

About the Book:

Come home to Darling, VT, and a new heartwarming series by New York Times Bestselling Author, Donna Alward!

When Laurel Stone’s garden center is targeted by vandals, she comes face to face with the man who once broke her heart: Aiden Gallagher. Aiden’s now one of Darling’s Finest, but the memory of how he hurt Laurel back in high school has stuck to his conscience. Helping her get back on her feet is the least he can do to make it up to her. And as time goes on, he realizes how much he cares for the woman she’s become: strong, resilient, and compassionate.

Laurel’s willing to forgive Aiden’s past transgressions, and before long it’s clear the old attraction between them still sizzles. But it’s harder for her to move past the loss of her dreams now that her divorce is finalized, and her ex is remarrying. Ever accommodating, Laurel has kept things amicable, but attending the wedding has all her resentments and disappointments bubbling to the surface. Aiden tries to be supportive, but what Laurel needs most is to stand on her own two feet, and she pushes Aiden away.

When their friend George meets with trouble, Laurel and Aiden must work together to get him back on his feet. Is this the opportunity for them to salvage their relationship, or is it goodbye for good?


About the Author:

While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer and Judith McNaught.  Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers.

Donna lives on Canada’s east coast. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking…and is a Masterpiece addict. 

Contact Donna:

You can visit her on the web at and join her mailing list at .

Facebook: DonnaAlwardAuthor

Instagram: @donnaalward


About the Narrator:

About Leanne: 

I’ve been behind a microphone for more than 35 years in commercial voiceover, narration, and radio.

I’m a single parent to an amazing daughter and we love to discover the theater, art, music, and bookstores of Asheville, NC where we live. When I’m not “working”, I explore the “real” world with hikes into the wild and dangerous culinary experiments.

I’m a certified personal trainer, swinging kettlebells and maces. Playing tennis is my passion and I love to get outside with my dogs.

I’m studying French – just to see if I can make my brain explode. Someday I’ll make it to France.

Social Media Links – FB:


My Review:

After The Playboy Prince and the Nanny, The Crown Prince’s Bride (Royal Duology 1 &2) and Deck The Halls, all Donna Alward books I reviewed in the past, I was overjoyed to receive the audiobook of Somebody Like You.

Somebody Like You has great attention to detail, and is very romantic. Realistic storyline and characters. Aiden and Laurel had interesting backstories and plotlines. There are hard times as well as romantic moments. 
The narrator was perfect for the book. 

Overall, Somebody Like You was an amazing start to a new series, and I am looking forward to the next books. 

Thanks to Donna Alward, HQN and Rachel’s Random Resources for my audiobook in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. 

5 stars

Where to Buy:

Take the Lead by Alexis Daria

About the Book:

From Alexis Daria, author of the critically acclaimed, international bestseller You Had Me at Hola, comes a fun, sexy romance set against a reality dance show.

Gina Morales wants to make it big. In her four seasons on The Dance Off, she’s never even made it to the finals. But her latest partner, the sexy star of an Alaskan wilderness show, could be her chance. Who knew the strong, silent, survivalist-type had moves like that? She thinks Stone Nielson is her ticket to win it all—until her producer makes it clear they’re being set up for a showmance.

Joining a celebrity dance competition is the last thing Stone wants. However, he’ll endure anything to help his family, even as he fears revealing their secrets. While the fast pace of Los Angeles makes him long for the peace and privacy of home, he can’t hide his growing attraction for his dance partner. Neither wants to fake a romance for the cameras, but the explosive chemistry that flares between them is undeniable.

As Stone and Gina heat up the dance floor, the tabloids catch on to their developing romance. With the spotlight threatening to ruin everything, will they choose fame and fortune, or let love take the lead?

My Review:

Alexis Daria is a new-to-me author. I was immediately drawn to Take the Lead.. The novel is immediately immersive. Gina is strong, determined and she has an amazing dance talent, both for teaching and dancing. Stone is mysterious and self-centered. He took longer to feel for.

The attention to detail is amazing. We see a challenging, cautious, then caring side to both of them. I liked this, as it gave their relationship a playful angle.

Is this strictly business or pleasure?

The writing style was very good and the attention to detail was perfect. Every word was chosen for maximum effect, whether that is to create atmosphere for setting or character development. The only thing is I found that the book seemed long for the type of plot it was.

Thanks to Alexis Daria and St Martin’s Griffin for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. Take the Lead was thoroughly enjoyable.

Really looking forward to more books from this author.

4.5 stars.

Where to Buy:

Ten Dates by Rachel Dove @rararesources @WriterDove @bookandtonic

About the Book:

Is it the end of their love story or just the beginning?
Callum and Alice McClaren have spent two wonderful years building a life and a home and making plans for a future together. But when Alice is involved in a car crash, Callum fears that he has lost her forever. As he sits by her bedside he promises he’ll do anything if only she’ll open her eyes…
But when Alice does finally wake up, she has absolutely no memory of being in love with Callum or the life they once shared. In fact, all she remembers about him is how incredibly annoying he once was! How can she have forgotten him if she really did love him so deeply?
Callum is determined to prove to Alice that what they had was special, so he makes her a deal: he’ll recreate their first ten dates and make her fall in love with him all over again!
Alice isn’t sure Callum can fill in all the gaps in their story.And what if going back to the start only means the end?

About the Author:

Rachel Dove lives in leafy West Yorkshire with her family, and rescue animals Tilly cat and Darcy the dog (named after Mr Darcy, of course!) A former teacher specializing in Autism, ADHD and SpLDs, she is passionate about changing the system and raising awareness/acceptance. Loves a good rom-com, and the beach!

Social Media Links

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My Review:

I wasn’t sure about requesting this at first, because I feel the coma-followed-by-amnesia storyline is overdone in books. That said, the success of the novel depends on the author’s writing style and plot development.

I have to say, I was hooked by the atmospheric start of the book. I was holding my breath in anticipation as to whether Alice would wake up or not. I have had a lot of hospital stays myself, and the hospital atmosphere, the doctors’ words and reactions were incredibly realistic.

Of the main characters, I warmed more to Callum than Alice. Callum did everything he could to show Alice she was his world. and I loved his nickname for her, Sparrow, as I thought it was original.

Callum’s idea to have ten dates was a good one, and each date was imaginatively recreated.

Rachel Dove is a new-to-me author, and I enjoyed her writing style. I’ll be checking out more of her books.

Thanks to Rachel Dove, Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

3.5 stars

Where to Buy: