Belonging – more reviews

Here are some more reviews from when Belonging went on tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. They are so lovely.

“A short story that will leave you entertained, enlightened and reaching to make that call to a friend or love one who you haven’t spoken to in a while. ” Hayley Reviews 10

“The romance was sweet and emotional… and the ending to this little gem of a story was absolute perfection!” Audio Killed the Bookmark

“… an uplifting story which shows its best to open up and share your grief and deal with in head on” That Thing She Reads

“Rhoda Baxter gives her readers a deeper insight into the grieving process in this witty, heartfelt novella!” Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews

“My heart broke for Niamh.” Dash Fan Book Reviews

“A lovely heart warming read … Would definitely recommend, but don’t forget the tissues!” Stardust Book Reviews

 

Why not check out Belonging and see if you agree with the reviews?

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Goodreads book review: Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajkumar

Love Comes LaterLove Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

I chose to read this book because I know very little about the Qatari community, or about life as a Muslim in general. I was interested by the premise.

The writing is literary in style and very good.
Of the characters, I liked Abdullah a lot. He was a man who is still grieving for his lost wife and unborn child. He doesn’t particularly like the new wife that’s been chosen for him, but has to go along with it.
Hind came across as very self centred, but the way she felt was understandable, given the constraints that would be placed on her. Although, as her sister Noor points out, given the constraints, she could do a lot worse. She wants to go abroad to study, which she gets as a condition of the engagement.
Sangita was a good character too, although a little reckless in the way she continued to write her controversial blog. I liked Sangita more than I liked Hind.
Luluwa was lovely.

There were a lot of points of view characters, (if you read my reviews regularly, you know I get quite worked up about POV, so if it’s not something that bothers you, just skip this paragraph). I’m not sure we needed some of them. For example, Luluwa – lovely character, but did we need her point of view? There was nothing there that couldn’t have been fed in elsewhere. Also, the choice of which scenes were chosen was weird. For example, Hind is a POV character. We know, in depth, how she feels about her impending marriage and how she meets and befriends Sangita. Then she runs off to India with Sangita’s brother Ravi … and we don’t hear from her again until the end. Somewhere in there, Hind decides she wants to go back to Qatar and the limited life she hates so much, rather than elope with Ravi. We don’t get to see any of that, which seems odd. In the end she goes off to the diplomatic post that she wanted from the start but thought she couldn’t have… apparently all it took was for Abdullah to conveniently pull some strings and suddenly, it was possible. (There’s probably more to it than that, but we didn’t see it).
Likewise, Sangita is a fairly minor character until she suddenly becomes a POV character in the middle of the book.

I picked up the book because I wanted to learn more about Qatari culture. There’s lots of that, which is good.

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Inheritance Books: Rachel Dove

Rachel new 2Today’s guest on the Inheritance Books sofa is Rachel Dove. Hi Rachel, welcome. While I go put the kettle on, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.

I am 34, a wife and mother living in Yorkshire (Yay!). I used to work in law, then in the area of early years and special educational needs, and I eventually qualified to teach adults these subjects. I always wanted to be an author and a teacher, it just took me a while to get there! I have written horror shorts in the past, but romantic fiction is my real love. I write full time now, but between writing, reading, raising my children and running errands, I don’t know how I ever had time to work!

 Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?
When I worked in law, I used to commute on four train journeys a day. I read on every journey, and I remember dragging a huge library book about, totally enthralled. It was Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, and I still remember the feelings it roused in me when reading. Every generation should be fed books like this, they are timeless classics, more poignant with each passing generation.

Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?
I always come back to this book, but I would pick Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I reread this book all the time, I think that as well as a love story, it is a powerful book with a message about society, power, sacrifice and the importance of being a strong female. I have many others that sprang to mind, but this one is always the clincher for me. Bella from Twilight is all well and good, but young guys need to think more Katniss Everdeen than Kim Kardashian these days, and reading could be the key in a lot of cases. I remember reading about strong females since I was old enough to hold a book, and I think it has a lot to answer for – with the opinionated, independent woman I am today!
index2My great aunt went into a retirement home a couple of years ago (she is still doing fine) and when we were clearing her house, I found some old books, one of which being Virginia Woolf. I treasure them, and I found out that she was a writer too, and even had a poem published in a book. I still have the book at home. It’s nice to think I am following her lead in the family by chasing my own dreams. I have files of rejection letters she received, so I think I have some strong females in my family generations too.

Those are excellent choices. I would definitely recommend Katniss over Bella any day! 

Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us, Rachel. All the best for The Chic Boutique!

 

chic boutique  Rachel’s new book The Chic Boutique on Baker Street is published by Mills and Boon and is available to by now. You can find out more about Rachel on her website, Facebook and Twitter (@writerdove).

Goodreads Book Review: Search For The Truth by Kathryn Freeman

Search for the TruthSearch for the Truth by Kathryn Freeman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s not often you find a romance novel set in the pharmaceutical industry. Also, I really liked the cover for this – the woman on the front reminded me of Donna from Suits.

Tess is the new Comms manager for Helix Pharmaceuticals. Jim is the returning R&D dude. Tess is hoping to uncover some dirt on Helix’s cancer drug because she feels that her mother’s heart attack was caused by the drugs.

As a lapsed biochemist, I found the setting and the background information hugely enjoyable. There’s mystery and suspense throughout the story. I’m not a big fan of the alpha male, but Jim was nice (and apologetic when he went too far) and Tess came across as a genuinely smart person who was good at her job and not a pushover, so that was okay.

A fun read with a really interesting insight into the world of big pharma.

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Inheritance Books: Monique Devere

Children Reading by Valerie Everett

This week on Inheritance Books, we’ve got Monique DeVere, who writes sweet and spicy fiction (which are a bit like those chili biscuits I had at Christmas, I imagine). Hi Monique. Grab a spot on the sofa. While I put the kettle on, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.

Monique DeVereThank you for inviting me on Inheritance Books to share the two books that had an impact on me growing up, Rhoda. I grew up on a plantation in Barbados and spent a lot of time exploring, looking for adventure, and getting up to a lot of mischief. Once I discovered books, I realised I could experience other people’s adventures and mischief, too. I moved to England with my mum and step-dad when I was fifteen, and by then I’d started penning my very own stories. At fifteen I wrote my first full-length novel called Love in a Mystery, about a diamond magnate who hires a female PI to find out who is smuggling his diamonds out of the country. By eighteen I changed my mind about becoming a doctor and started to pursue publication. I am married to an amazing guy and we have four kids. I’ve had stories read on radio, and I’m both traditionally and indie published. These days I write Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Romantic Comedy, and use my education in screenwriting to pen Christian Supernatural Suspense scripts.  

 

Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special?

IfTomorrowComes_InheritanceBooksThe book I inherited was If Tomorrow Comes by Sidney Sheldon from my mum who is an avid reader. It always amazed me how she worked so hard running her own consultancy business, and still always found time to devour books. Growing up with a mum who loved reading so much, it was hardly surprising that I inherited the same trait. Up until If Tomorrow Comes, I’d been reading teen romances, but it was only when I opened the Sidney Sheldon novel that something inside me clicked and I got a deep, deep desire to write my own novels. This is why If Tomorrow Comes means so much to me. It’s the book that started my dream to become an author. To this day, I still have that copy. It’s travelled with me from Barbados to the UK and from house to house. I don’t intend to ever part with my copy of If Tomorrow Comes.
Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why? 

OfMiceAndMen_InheritanceBooksThe book I’d like to leave to future generations is Of Mice and Men. I haven’t got a paperback copy but I do have it on Kindle, so here is a photo of the cover on my Kindle App. I read the book in school, and I can’t tell you how much it impacted on me. The emotion, the loyalty to friendship, the hopes and dreams unfulfilled. It brings a lump to my throat just remembering this story, and Lennie’s sheer dumb innocence.

 It’s the ultimate, and original, Bro Love story. It’s about loyalty and friendship, and protecting your loved ones no matter what it takes. The kind of unconditional love I pray the generations to come remember is possible.  

Excellent choices! Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us, Monique. Good luck with your own book.

PartyForTwo200x300Monique’s new book Party For Two is available to buy now. You can find out more about Monique by visiting her website, or catching up with her on Facebook,  Goodreads or Twitter (@MoniqueDeVere).

 

What are your inheritance books? Let us know in the comments.

Goodreads Book Review: Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Cafe by Milly Johnson

The Woman Who Gave Up ChocolateThe Woman Who Gave Up Chocolate by Milly Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book up after hearing Milly Johnson give a hilariously funny speech. I figured if she was that funny in real life, her books were worth a shot.

The story follows three (possibly four, if you count Ivanka) women – Della, Connie and Cheryl, all of whom are connected to the Diamond Shine cleaning company. It’s set in Barnsley and the Yorkshire accents took me right back to my teenage years in W Yorks.

An awful lot happens in the story, you’ll have to read and find out what. What stood out for me was the warmth of the writing. There was one scene where the ladies are all gathered in the Sunflower Cafe, where you could really feel the connection between them. It made me feel included and loved, as though I were one of them. It’s a rare book that achieves that!

The only reason I didn’t give it a full five stars was that there was a bit of changing heads mid scene, which annoys me (I’m a bear of very little brain and get confused). If you don’t mind that, I know most people don’t, then you’ll be fine. Go. Enjoy.

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Goodreads Book Review: Midsummer Dreams by Alison May

Midsummer DreamsMidsummer Dreams by Alison May
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m not big into reading Shakespeare (it’s meant to be watched, not read), but I do know A Midsummer Night’s Dream, thanks to A-level English Lit. It’s not all that relevant to the enjoyment of the book, really, because you can read this modern adaptation without needing to know the original.

I loved the two guys. Alex is bonkers, Dom is so, so sweet. I do like a clever hero. Of the women, I loved Helen and wanted to shake Emily. Really, Emily was incredibly irritating. It’s not until the end that you find out why she’s like she is, and when you do, you can’t help feel a bit proud of her for functioning as well as she does.

The two interlinked stories are good fun and, despite the slightly magical element, completely plausible. There’s a sword fight in a car park which made me laugh out loud. (Voice of experience – do not read this book on the bus).

I should make the usual disclaimers that Alison and I are both published by Choc Lit and she’s a friend. That doesn’t mean I can’t buy her books and enjoy them as a reader too. I believe, when I reviewed the first book in the series ‘Sweet Nothing’ I said the next one was going to be brilliant. I love it when I’m right! Now I just need to work out how to be right more often.

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Count down to launch #ReleaseMe

Book cover for Please Release Me - a bride at sunrise

The early reviews for Please Release Me are in now and so far they’ve all been 4 and 5 stars. It won’t be live on Amazon until the 10th of Sept, so there are no reviews there yet, but if you want to see what people are saying about it, check of the reviews on Goodreads and on Netgalley.

Please Release Me is a rom com, but it’s actually about grief and depression. When I submitted the book to Choc Lit for consideration, I wondered if it would be rejected because of this. For all our complaining about the frothiness of Chick Lit, do romance readers really want to read a book about sad things? Turns out they do (phew – I would have hated to be wrong). One reviewer said it had an ‘almost perfect portrayal of grief’, which is a wonderful description. Someone else said she laughed at the scene when Sally comes out of her coma. It’s not the traditional place for a joke, but the scene made me laugh when I wrote it. Good old Sally.

Book cover for Please Release Me - a bride at sunrise
The cover for Please Release Me, in case I haven’t bored you with it enough already.

It’s usual to do some jumping up and down and cheering when a book comes out, so (apologies) I’m going to be doing just that on Thursday. More importantly, some lovely friends have agreed to join me. They’re all going to post something on their blogs based on the theme of being stuck (and wanting to be released). I will be sharing their links with you as they come on line.

They all used the same prompts – I’m intrigued to see what different answers show up!

If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, follow the #ReleaseMe tag on the 10th to join in the fun!

The first Book Review of Please Release Me

Book cover for Please Release Me - a bride at sunrise

I saw the first review of Please Release Me today (the advance review copies have gone out to reviewers now and the book is on Netgalley.) I’m limp with relief that this reviewer liked it (4.5 stars! Yay!). I’m also delighted that she took from the story what I’d try to convey.

I tried to write a book that was about falling in love, falling out of love and inadvertently becoming friends with your enemy. A small part of me was worried that it had all come out in a jumbled mess. I’m very relieved to hear that it didn’t.

You can read the review here:

Book Review – Please Release Me by Rhoda Baxter.

And, of course, you can preorder Please Release Me here: myBook.to/PleaseReleaseMe  🙂

I’m off to celebrate by eating copious amounts of chocolate.