Wednesday, 3 March 2021

✿ A Week To Remember ✿ Esther Campion ✿


 

 A converted stone farmhouse on the Irish coast is about to receive its first guests in this warmly captivating story for fans of Maeve Binchy and Monica McInerney

Whether it was the lure of the rugged coastline or the comforting image of the house, he wasn't sure, but he couldn't remember the last time he'd taken a holiday. . .

With its brightly painted front door, white-sash windows and garden path sweeping down toward the sea, Lizzie O's guesthouse promises a welcome escape from the world. Aisling and Mick Fitzgerald are travelling all the way from Tasmania to celebrate their wedding anniversary, but Aisling is burdened with a secret that could ruin their marriage. Declan Byrne, exhausted from an unhealthy routine of long hours, takeaway and too much red wine, has spontaneously taken the week off to visit the village of his childhood summers. Katie Daly returns to West Cork after an absence of 35 years to care for her ageing mother only to find she must confront her painful past. Finally, Mia Montgomery is taking this holiday without telling her husband.

Each of this group of strangers is at a crossroads. And one week in the middle of winter may change all of their lives.

  

ARC received from Hachette Australia for an honest review 

If you have read Ms Campion's previous books, you will have met the owner of Lizzie O's B & B, Ellen. But if you haven't, this does stand alone, and you won't be missing out on things.

A Week To Remember brings together a group of strangers, and this one week will change all their lives.

Because sometimes you need to travel half way around the world to find your "home".

There are quite a few characters, so it will take a little time to get to know them all, but once you get your head around each of their stories, you won't even notice them all, as they all have such unique personalities that come off the page

I adored each and every bit and piece we get of all their stories. Though at times predictable, and we kind of knew where things were all going to end up, it was interesting and intriguing the whole way through.

I do feel that I need more of one character, Mia, I want more of her story.

A lovely story that will whisk you away to Ireland for a wonderful week.

I am looking forward to more from this author.



Esther Campion is from Cork, Ireland and currently lives in north-west Tasmania. She attended North Presentation Secondary School in Cork and has degrees from University College Cork and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Esther and her Orcadian husband have lived together in Ireland, Scotland, Norway and South Australia. They have two grown-up children in Adelaide and the youngest at home in Tassie. Esther loves sharing her life on a small property with an over-indulged chocolate Labrador, a smoochy cat and a couple of ageing mares, all of whom she firmly believes are living proof that dreams really can come true. Esther's heartwarming debut novel, Leaving Ocean Road, was followed by The House of Second Chances.
 
 



Tuesday, 2 March 2021

✪ ONCE WE WERE STARLIGHT ✪ Mia Sheridan ✪

 ©  Bianca ✰  




• 28 February 2021
• standalone dramance 
★★★★★
5 Stars

A bed posed on a stage under a dazzling spotlight. An audience of hungry eyes. And him, the other half of my soul, our supple bodies moving as one . . .


Sundara: the lush and forbidden oasis in the desert where men travel to watch acts of sexual deviancy, and the only existence seventeen-year-old Karys has ever known. But despite a life where secrets and sin are in high supply, and freedom remains far beyond their reach, Karys and her partner Zakai find safety in each other, their passionate love the light that helps them both survive the darkness.

Very suddenly, Karys and Zakai find themselves in the bright and confusing world of New York City, navigating separation, school, and relatives who are all but strangers. If they’ve been found, why do they still feel so lost? As their new lives threaten to drive them apart, and Zakai spins out of her grasp, Karys must figure out who and what can be trusted in this strange city, seemingly filled with more venom than the desert they once called home.




From the prologue - at a book awards show - we go back in time seven years.
Karys and Zakai.
17 and 20 years old.
They've been living in this desert compound ever since they can remember.
They, and the others who live there, are forced to 'perform' for foreign rich guys a few nights per month.
The place is everything they know. Karys and Zakai are each other's everything. They love each other. They've been told the outside world is dangerous and they need to stay until their debt is paid.
But Zakai knows that there is more than this.
And there is. But being rescued and sent to New York to go to college and a normal life is not exactly the 'more' he was hoping for.
Their lives will change drastically ...

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO KARYS & ZAKAI?
WILL THERE BE A HEA?
READ THE BOOK TO FIND OUT 



What can I say?
It's a Mia Sheridan book. I LOVED reading it!
I think I cried for roughly 99% of the story. 
๐Ÿ˜‚
Ugh. Mia. You and your cry-books!
This was so heartbreaking!
At first it's all so sad and shocking in that desert place. But it's also so sweet and innocent. Their love is just so pure. But then we're in New York and things change so much. Poor Zakai doesn't get the same rescue-happy-ending that Karys gets. He has to fight for himself. And it's so sad and heartbreaking the way he tries to make sure that Karys stays where she is. In college, learning, making something of herself.
Ugh. I just wanted to jump into the book and rescue that poor guy again!

Okay ... Nothing more I can say without spoiling the story!
READ IT! It's just beautiful. A typical Mia Sheridan heartbreaker and -healer!

And Netflix?! Please come and do this!

ONCE WE WERE STARLIGHT was such a beautiful & heartbreaking love story! I just adored Karys & Zakai! Run to your nearest amazon asap - they'll be sold out in no time! ☺

 
A tiny little thing that bothered me a bit. Not about the story, but about word-choice. The word SINGULAR. The first time it was mentioned I thought, huh, weird word-choice for that sentence. And then it happened eight more times and only once or twice was it used correctly in my opinion. Or rather in a way that didn't sound silly. So very weird. It's as if Mia has one of those a-big-word-for-every-day calendars and she decided she has to put at least 9 of those singulars in this book. LOL! But nobody will even notice this, so don't worry - I'm weird!


 LINKS TO THE BOOK AND AUTHOR 

 


#MustRead - Archer's Voice


Where Book #1

  


Where Book #1



Most of all You

  

https://www.instagram.com/miasheridanauthor/?hl=en



Mia Sheridan is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. Her passion is weaving true love stories about people destined to be together. Mia lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband. They have four children here on earth and one in heaven.

Monday, 1 March 2021

๐Ÿ’œ BUSY BEAN #1 #2 ⭐️ Steamy Small-Town Series - Standalones ⭐️ #Excerpts ๐Ÿ’œ

   ©  Bianca ✰ Janeane 



The New Busy Bean Cafรฉ Series is a complete standalone series, but it is part of the new World of True North Series and slightly connected aka a spin-off to Sarina Bowen's True North Series!
So if you're weird like us - read Sarina's #Bittersweet first ☺



• Book #1 in the Busy Bean Series
 • 1 March 2021
• Standalone Sexy Small-Town Romance


★★★★★
4.9 Stars

I just wanted to get my hands on his beans

Four years ago, I had a ridiculous crush on my sister's boyfriend. But when they moved away together, I put Beck out of my mind and my heart. But now he's back, and roasting the best coffee in Vermont. I need to convince him to supply the Busy Bean. And I need more of those kisses we accidentally shared outside the coffee shop. He still makes my heart race faster than a triple shot of espresso.

She should be off limits, but instead she's pushing mine

Her sister burned my life to the ground, so Haley Elliot is the last woman I should bring into my bed. Although our business relationship is giving way to something more than a fine grind. Neither of us can help ourselves. And what’s worse, I think I’m falling for her.

But it’s a small town, and ours is a big secret. And when her sister blows back into town, suddenly the coffee isn’t the only thing brewing...




ARC received for an honest review
 
Annnd now we are back in Shipley-land, an my favourite fictional coffee shop (though I am only here for the baked goods, I hate coffee!)
 
Haley has had an unrequited love for her sister's ex since forever, and now it is her turn to get all the goodness that is Beck.
 
But firstly, don't get me started on the sister, Jess (the ex).  Ugh, I hate, hate hated her for most of the story, and the way that all this time later, she is still affecting her family and her ex.  I wanted to slap her around the head with my Kindle for it.  The more we learn, the more I dislike her really. We learn more and my feelings change - slightly - but sheesh.
 
And really, she is not the only one who frustrated me, but she is the worst of the lot.
 
I adore both our lovelies, and I hurt for them as the complications of the past come to haunt them in the now.
 
But I am telling you now, you are gonna love them, even when you heart is hurting for them.
 
But we get there.  We get the smiles and the love and the happy, so I can get over the frustratin parts!
 
I am really invested in this whole World of True North / Busy Bean series, and I hope we keep getting them for the next 30 years! 





We're back in Vermont!
We all remember the Busy Bean Coffee Shop/Bakery from Sarina's True North series. Audrey and Zara are the boss ladies.
And now Haley has her first day there too. She needs to make some money while dreaming of making a living with her own shoe/boots/belts/bags creations.
Beck is her model sister's ex. The guy she's had a crush on years ago. And suddenly he's back in town and right in the middle of Haley's new professional coffee-shop-life. LOL!

LET THE FUN TIMES BEGIN!!! 



 
Adorable!!
I was really excited to get started with this new coffee series. And it's so very coffee-y! Beck is a coffee roasting hottie! I could almost smell all the roasting coffee goodness through the pages!
The romance part is also very adorable and very sexy. But also so very complicated. Haley's sister Jess and Beck did not end their relationship on good terms. We don't yet know what happened back then, but it wasn't good. For Beck. Jess seems to be the bad guy here. But she's Haley's sister, she'll always be in her life, and so we just know that it won't be an easy road to that happy end for our darlings!
But we love every single page of that journey!

Great start into this second series of Sarina Bowen's True North World.

I could read these kinds of books every day for the rest of eternity!

I also wouldn't mind seeing this whole world on Netflix one day!

Can't wait to get more Vermont soon!

SWEETHEART was such an adorable + sexy + coffee-y romance!!! I loved reading it! Run to your nearest amazon for your own Beck - he'll be sold out in no time!


♥ EXCERPT ♥

You know that thing where the rational part of your brain decides on a sensible course of action and commits to it, but then the murky, primal, unsupportive part of your brain refuses to get on board? The Germans probably have a name for it, something hard to pronounce with lots of umlauts. All I had was a feeling, and it hit me on a regular basis over the next couple of weeks whenever Beck set foot in the Busy Bean.

Every time I saw him propped in the kitchen doorway sharing a laugh with Zara, I felt it.   When I realised Roddy had started using Beck as a taste tester for recipes he was developing, even though they barely knew each other, I got a big, hard dose of it. And the day I left the cafe to find Beck and his dog playing with Audrey and her two kids down by the river bank, I was awash with it.

If I had to parse this feeling into its component parts, it would be made up of nine-tenths envy and one-tenth wistfulness. With a sprinkle of sexual jealousy thrown in, just for kicks and giggles.

Because I wanted Beck to laugh with me the way he laughed with Zara. I wanted us to have the kind of relationship where I could run ideas past him, the kind of friendship where I could come upon him and his dog down by the river and feel free to hang out with them.

I was fully aware that this stupid, stubborn longing I was experiencing was at complete  odds with my decision to respect his obvious desire to have as little to do with me as possible, but no matter how many times I told myself I didn't care, the lump of concrete in the pit of my stomach said otherwise.

The problem was that Beck was just one of those people that other people wanted to be around. He'd always been that way, hence the fact that my sister had wanted him, and the fact that I'd developed my ridiculous, hopeless-cause crush on him in the first place.

He had a natural ease and charm that made people smile, even if they were having a shitty day.  He gave good banter, and he knew how to tease people in a gentle, utterly harmless way that made them feel like they were special because he'd noticed them.  And he was curious about people, asking lots of questions and genuinely listening to their answers.

It probably didn't hurt that he was extensively easy on on the eyes, either.

All of this worked together to make him a warm, real presence that people wanted to get closer to, like campers gathering around a fire at night.

I witnessed the power of his charisma over and over, in the way Audrey stood a half-foot closer to him than she did to other people, even though she was madly in love with her husband Griff, and in the way Roderick launched into an amusing anecdote whenever Beck arrived with his delivery, as though he'd been waiting to share the story with him.  Even snarky, cynical Zara wasn't immune, spending extra minutes chatting to him on the phone when she called through our bi-weekly order, her laughter ringing through the cafe.

Everybody loved Beck, and Beck loved everybody - with the notable exception of me.

 
 LINKS TO THE BOOK
 


__________________________



• Book #2 in the Busy Bean Series
 • 1 March 2021
• Standalone (mature) Sexy Small-Town Romance


★★★★
4.233 Stars

Pregnant at forty-two? Back the cow up...

Harland Bull Eaton has lost many things
his first wife, his beloved mother, those three women he proposed to . . . Oh, and there was that time he almost lost the family dairy farm due to a scandal. Hes losing faith in just about everything, especially love.

But one night, his friends give him a dare. No commitments. No heartbreak. Just buy that gorgeous redhead a drink. The big-city bombshell he’s set his eyes on swirls him into a tailspin that lands them in bed for a one-night stand he’s pretty sure he’ll never forget. But this time, he swears, he won’t let his heart ride herd on his common sense.

Recently separated and newly unemployed, Scarlett Russell is at a crossroads. With no other plan than visiting a friend in Vermont, the last thing she expects is a hunky, silver fox offering to buy her a drink. Even less expected is when she raises that offer to “take me to bed, cowboy.” She just wants one night to forget everything gone wrong.

Turns out once won’t be nearly enough. Won’t ever be enough, feeling the way she does. But secrets and an unexpected surprise are a lot to handle . . . unless these two can break a trail to an unexpected happily ever after.




ARC received for an honest review
 
Yes! A book that has characters closer to my age than younguns who I could have birthed!

Scarlett really takes the Bull by the horns when it comes to her love live, and boy are there consequences to that!

Our lovelies really do things barse ackwards when it comes to getting together, but I loved how they fought their way to friendship and more. Her life is kinda messed up at the moment and he is her sexy anchor, and the start of her new life.

I adored Scarlett's bestie and Bull's brothers.  I need to get more of their stories in my life.

I just love everything about these World of True North installments, and it has been a great way to introduce me to new authors, as this was my first LB Dunbar story - but it won't be my last.

I look forward to returning to the Busy Bean Cafe soon





Scarlett & Bull.
Bull is a 42 year old dairy farmer. He tried the relationship thing many times, but it has yet to end up in his happily ever after.
Then he meets Scarlett at the bar one night.
She just left her cheating husband in Boston - after she got fired from her job - all in one day!
And now she's newly single, 42, living in her college bestie's little Vermont town trying to figure out what to do with the rest of her life.
And if that's not enough to worry about ... suddenly she's kinda pregnant too.

LET THE FUN TIMES BEGIN!!! 



 
That was so adorable.
I loved that this was a my-age kind of thing. ๐Ÿ˜‚ A mature romance. I long ago out-aged all those young romance stories -  with people in their twenties or even thirties. 
It was so fun to read. How they kind of start their relationship backwards and then try to fight their way through all those hurdles. We SO need that happy end for our two darlings! But of course it won't be easy!
I loved reading this. I loved his brothers - his whole family. Her family sucks! ☺

I didn't love LB's overuse of the word AS. In this weird british use of it. Like: I couldn't come to the meeting, AS I was having to go the bathroom all morning. Know which AS I mean? No idea why this bothers me so much, but I just hate it - and without trying to, I highlighted over 60 of those.
Same with her overuse of the word However at the beginning of a sentence. You can say it. Of course! But over 30 times? After a few it just starts to sound weird! ☺ BUT - that's just me and my weird reading brain - nobody will notice that!

But still, this was a great 2nd book in Sarina Bowen's 2nd series in her new True North World!

Like I always say when it comes to books in the True North World: I could read these kinds of books every day for the rest of eternity!
And I also wouldn't mind seeing this whole world on Netflix one day!

Can't wait to get more Vermont soon!

COWBOY was such an adorable & cowboy-ish later-in-life baby romance!!! I loved reading it! Run to your nearest amazon for your own Bull - he'll be sold out in no time!

 
♥ EXCERPT ♥

“A coffee, black, no sugar, no cream, and a caramel macchiato with exactly five drizzles of caramel, fifteen pumps of vanilla syrup, whipped cream, and an extra shot.”

What the . . .

Thank God, I did not take that order. I don’t even know what that is. There’s a pause and I’m wondering what’s happening when Bull says, “You have a little something . . .”

I just want to die a slow death as I imagine him swiping at the corner of her lip or wiping off her nose and that sweet, tender touch will be all the spark she needs to want to pounce on this man behind me. Bull has these deep blue eyes and that silver speckled scruff, plus his hair that looks artfully streaked with gray. He’s just all around sexy and he doesn’t even know it about himself. Then, his touch. The soft strokes down my body and the delicate dips of his fingers, I just can’t—

“Have either of you seen Scarlett?” Audrey asks.

Frick.

“Scarlett?” Bull chokes behind me.

“Yeah, Scarlett. She’s our newest barista and I swear she was out here.”

“I didn’t see anyone,” Vermont Barbie states. “But then again, I’ve only been looking at Bull.”

Okay, that’s enough.

“Found it,” I say, popping up from behind the couch and holding my fingers pinched together like I’ve just found gold in them there wood floorboards.

“Scarlett?” Audrey blinks at me with those expressive eyes of hers . She’s a petite blond with a lot of power behind her personality. I slowly stand but find myself dizzy as I do and grip the back of the couch for support.

“Whoa.” I blurt, unable to stop myself as the room spins and my legs tremble. My skin runs cold, but I break out in a full body sweat.

“Scarlett, are you okay?” Audrey asks, rushing to the edge of the couch while Bull quickly stands to face me.

“I . . . yeah, I just think I stood up too fast.” However, that isn’t the full explanation because that rush to my head has now settled back down to my belly.

“You sure you’re okay? You look a little gray,” Audrey asks.

“I . . . excuse me.” Rushing around the couch, I fight the pull to look at Bull, as I disappear behind the counter, bypassing our waiting customers with one finger in the air, and then press out the door to the grassy area behind the building for some much needed fresh air. Once outside, I promptly bend forward and heave.

“Oh my God, are you okay?” Audrey says behind me and I close my eyes, embarrassed by my position in front of my boss. Audrey’s younger than me, but a good, business woman and kind-hearted. She took me on without any prior experience in the coffee industry.

“Yeah. Just something I ate, I think.” I honestly don’t know. It’s been a few weeks like this, nausea, fatigue, and then if I do get sick, which doesn’t always happen, I feel a million times better once I vomit. “I just have a little stomach bug, but I don’t have a fever. I’m so sorry about this.” I point to the grass which holds no evidence of how my stomach felt. “And that.” I nod toward the cafรฉ.

Audrey’s brows crease as she examines my face. “What else is wrong? As far as how you are feeling?”

I consider it a second and then answer. “My boobs hurt. My back kills. And I had a tuna fish sandwich for breakfast the other day. I think there was something wrong with the mayonnaise.” Then I reconsider what I’ve said. That sandwich the other morning had been the best damn tuna fish in the world and the last thing I’d ever eat when it comes to a breakfast item.

Audrey’s lips slowly curl and her eyes spark like she knows something. “Scarlett, could you be pregnant?”

“What? No. Heaven’s no. Absolutely not. I . . .” I stare back at her, horrified at the notion. I’m forty-two. I’m recently divorced. I cannot be pregnant at this stage of my life.

“No. I am definitely not pregnant.”

 LINKS TO THE BOOK
 
__________________________


• Book #3 in the Busy Bean Series
 •  24 May 2021
• Standalone Sexy Small-Town Romance


★★★★★
4.9 Stars

Love isn’t always a cakewalk ...


Gigi Hawthorne is starting from scratch. She just didn’t realize until her crappy car broke down that she was going to be doing it in a small town in Vermont.         With an eye for design and some serious decorating skills, she’s managed to land a job making delectable treats for the patrons of the Busy Bean. Now she’s up to her elbows in sugar and flour, but her thoughts are never far from her gorgeous, brooding landlord.

Holden St. James swears he isn’t a recluse. He goes to the local coffee shop three times a week, doesn’t he? Yeah, maybe he never actually talks to anyone, but with a backstory of loss, pain, and regret like his, he’s pretty sure he wouldn’t be very good company anyway. Yet something about his new tenant makes him wonder if maybe it’s time to let someone open the oven door and release a little heat into his closed-off world.

But both are hiding secrets as dark as an espresso mocha cupcake and they’re not sure if they can trust each other. Will the truth break their delicate relationship into sad, sweet crumbs--or will it turn out to be the key ingredient in the recipe for a new life?

____
 
 LINKS TO THE BOOK
 


Books by Sarina Bowen:

๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ True North Book #1 ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ



๐Ÿณ️‍๐ŸŒˆ Wes & Jamie ๐Ÿณ️‍๐ŸŒˆ

Good Boy


The Company Book #1
  

Hockey #6

  


YA Rockstar Romance-ish

   





Sarina Bowen writes steamy, angsty Contemporary Romance and New Adult fiction from the wilds of Vermont.

She is the author of The Ivy Years, an award-winning series set amid the hockey team at an elite Connecticut college.

Waiting for more Ivy Years? You can read more about upcoming volumes in the four book series at http://www.sarinabowen.com/theivyyears

Also, the Gravity series.

Sarina enjoys skiing, espresso drinks and the occasional margarita. She lives with her family, eight chickens and more ski gear and hockey equipment than seems necessary.

To be kept abreast of new releases, please feel free to sign up for the mailing list at http://www.sarinabowen.com/contact.

Or visit the her Facebook page, or tweet her @sarinabowen