This was a fun book. Gemma can see ghosts. She has to help them finish their unfinished business so that they can pass on to wherever it is they go after that. If she acknowledges them openly, then other people can see and hear them (they appear to be normal people, apart from they know that they’re dead). When she accidentally kisses the ghost Levi, she’s surprised to find that he’s been sent to help her, rather than needing her help himself. Levi wants to get back to his old life, so that he can save his sister from feeling guilty about his death. If he succeeds in his task of helping Gemma reconcile with her long lost sister, then he will cease to exist in Gemma’s timeline but go back to his sister. If he fails, he will never see his sister again. I wasn’t very well when I read this, and struggled to get into it at first – but that’s on me, not the book. I didn’t see how on earth they were going to get through to a happy ending, which was a really nice thing. It’s not often you have a conflict that genuinely feels insurmountable. Levi is such a kind (if grumpy) hero and Gemma is definitely the sunshiney one. I like this new(ish) genre of cosy paranormal romance with less fangs and claws. It leads to some interesting and thought provoking dilemmas. I hope there’s more. I received a review copy from the publisher via Netgalley. This is my honest review.
This book made me so hungry! Reena loves to bake. She doesn’t particularly love being out of work though, or the fact that her parents are trying to set her up with a husband. Again. Only this time, he lives across the landing from her and the first time she met him (before she knew her parents were intending for her to marry him), she liked him. Nadim likes a lot of things. Reena, for one. Also, bread. He really likes food. When Reena’s career hits a snag, she spots a cooking competition that would let her fulfill her dream of becoming a baker. But you need to be a couple to do it. After a night with too much beer, she and Nadim film an entry and send it in. When they get through to the next round, they agree to pretend to be engaged for the duration of competition.
There’s so much food in this book. I kept having to get up to have a snack. I liked that they discussed the Afro-Indian diaspora and Afro-Indian food in particular. I also liked that, during the course of the book, Reena healed her relationships with her family too.
Overall, this was a tremendously fun book to read. Just expect to need to eat while reading.
I picked this up after reading an article about books influenced by K-Drama. I love K-dramas, but when I watch one, it takes up all my concentration. I’m a bit busy right now, so I figured I’d get a quick K-drama hit by reading this book. Chloe goes to Korea for a job – which turns out to be a scam. Penniless and drunk, in the rain, she gets spotted by a talent scout and offered a job. She’s cast in a K-drama alongside a handsome actor … who knew her when she was a teenager. I wanted a quick K-drama hit and that was exactly what I got. I enjoyed reading this book and zipped through it. The only downside was that it didn’t fully end. I think you need to read all three books to get the full story with the happy ending.
Last month, I went to the RNA conference where there were many excellent talks. One of the talks I attended was on book covers. It was led by Stuart Bache, who is an expert cover designer. He offered to critique some covers that people had submitted. I sent in my cover for Snowed In. Stuart’s comments were:
The covers for small town romance have moved on a bit – here’s what the book covers in that genre have in common now:
The countryside takes up the lower third of the cover. The sky makes up the rest.
Interesting fonts, not always swirly ones, but always eye-catching.
Seasonal elements or foliage around the edges and at the top to ‘frame’ the image.
The author name is also in an interesting font and not always small. Sometimes it’s at the top of the cover, sometimes at the bottom.
He also suggested that I remove the banner behind the author name because it looks amateurish.
There was a lot more useful stuff in the talk. He’s an expert at what he does and his comments were insightful. So, I came home and spent some time trawling through Depositphotos trying to find the right sort of images to make covers that looked more like the covers I was seeing in the book charts right now.
This is where I ended up. If you wanted to try any of the books, just click on the cover and it should take you to a page that lets you choose your shop:
If you read on a device that’s not an Amazon one, I have news. I will be moving these books out of Kindle Unlimited and putting them on Apple, Kobo, Google Play Books etc over the next few months.
My alter ego, Jeevani Charika has a new book out today! Playing For Love is a romcom. Here’s a tweet that tells you all about it (in the style of a Reddit post):
I (28F) am in love w my computer game buddy (??M) but he’s not interested because he’s in love w someone IRL. Also, there’s this IT guy at work (30M) who’s asking me out. He’s cute, but he’s not gamer guy, is he? Advice please. PLAYING FOR LOVE. Out NOW: books2read.com/PFL
Ned is running a murder mystery weekend in his crumbling old mansion. Kitty, a well known actress, playing one of the roles in the cast. Everyone is expecting a fake murder, but they get a real one instead!
This is the second book in the series, but you could read it as a standalone. Molly and Connor, who are the main characters in book one are in this one too. Molly is the one who solves the mystery. Ned and Kitty are the romantic subplot for this book. Kitty is smart and outgoing and the perfect foil for Ned, who is rather shambolic. I love Ned. He’s such a delightful mess.
There’s a big house, glamrous guests and a murder. There’s also romance and jokes and quite a lot of Cornwall. I really enjoyed this book.
Usual disclaimer. I know the author in real life. We belong to the same writers organisations. I received a review copy of this book from Netgalley.
This is a lovely story about Josh (tech CEO) and Sarah (pie maker extraordinaire). Josh is throwing a pi day party in the hope that it will be the catalyst to healing the rift between him and his dad. He hires Sarah, from the Happy As Pie shop to cater for the event. The characters are all really well developed and I felt I knew both Sarah and Josh. I loved that Sarah has been working so that she feels she hasn’t made many female friends and these friendships are almost as important to her as her budding relationship with Josh. I also adored Josh’s mum. There is a lot about food in this book and I kept having to go fetch myself a snack. Very nice, low angst, (relatively) high heat, feel good romance. And there are maths jokes!
This is a second chance love story. Simon and Lana were married and then divorced. Now, in their mid forties they meet again when they’re both looking for somewhere to live. Circumstances lead to them sharing a lovely apartment. Their lives are sufficiently different that they don’t need to see much of each other, but they can’t stop looking for each other.
There are many things I liked about this story. The characters were so relatable. I loved that they were starting to feel old. Simon was often tired, not from doing anything especially tiring, but just from the day!
Simon was very sweet, if a little self centred. He grew a lot by the end. Lana is thoughtful and independent in a way that felt hard won. I liked that she was physically strong and this was hard won too.
There were a few little observations that I especially liked – like Lana taking the fact that she wouldn’t be the only Asian woman in the neighbourhood into consideration when thinking about moving. I usually like Ruby Lang’s books and this was no exception. A lovely read.
With thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for letting have an advance copy.
This week’s Inheritance Books are from romance and fellow cake aficionado, Jenni Fletcher. Welcome to Inheritance Books, Jenni. Have a biscuit. Why don’t you set things off by telling us a bit about yourself?
I’m from Aberdeenshire, but now live in East Yorkshire with my family. I spent seven years at university studying English and never wanted to leave so becoming a writer seemed like a good solution. I could happily spend every day in a library, although I spent a couple of years working in various admin jobs, writing in my spare time. My favourite hobby is baking and, because I have to do exercise occasionally, I like mountain biking and hiking. I also teach creative writing part-time.
Which book have you inherited from a generation above? Why is it special? My mother gave me her copy of Here be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman when I was fifteen. She was a history teacher so there were always a lot of historical novels in our house, and she knew I liked the Medieval era. It’s all about King John and Llewellyn the Great and I remember being absolutely engrossed, reading until 3am on a school night. Katharine by Anya Seton was the first historical novel I ever read, but Here Be Dragons is the one that made me fall in love with the genre. Fortunately, my mum also had most of Penman’s other novels so they kept me busy for a while. Then we got to have discussions about Simon de Montfort and Welsh history over cake – I was that kind of rebellious teenager!
That sounds like a lovely discussion to get into. Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why? I’m a bit wary about recommending books to other people because I think we should all read whatever we want, BUT having said that,The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon is one of my all-time favourites so I’d leave it as an example of just how wonderful and thought-provoking a book can be. It’s a combination of historical (it’s set just after WWI and looks at the psychological and practical impact of the war on women), crime (there’s a murder), and romance novel (with a truly gorgeous, but very flawed hero). It also has a sad ending, which is absolutely necessary to the plot and I’m so glad that the author wasn’t forced to write a happy one. I think you can tell when that’s happened and it can undermine the whole book. Fortunately, in this case there’s a sequel (The Woman in the Picture) which allows for a HEA eventually. So this is my ‘you really should read this book, book‘ – I hope to write one just like it someday. Oh, and if I’m allowed just one other, Horton Hears a Who by Dr Seuss. It’s my favourite book to read to my children at bedtime and I quote it way too often.
Oh, sneaky, getting an extra book in! But who doesn’t like Dr Seuss?!
Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us, Jenni. All the best with your new book … and huge congratulations for being shortlisted for a RoNA award with Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquess.