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Let’s travel to Italy

Dreaming of Rome by
T.A. Williams
Romance , Women's Fiction
Canelo
Pub Date 06 May 2019

Rome is where the heart is… The heartwarming read of the summer

Jo has had enough of handsome men. After a painful break-up, she’s decided she doesn’t believe in love.

Then, while on a professional trip to the magical city of Rome, she meets Corrado, a scientist and her brother-in-law to be, who doesn’t believe in love either. To him, it’s just a biochemical reaction. So what’s the problem?

Well, he’s gorgeous for a start, as well as charming, generous, intelligent and attentive, and she feels herself immediately falling for him, despite her new outlook.

The majesty of the Eternal City brings them ever closer together. But is their relationship doomed, or will love conquer all?

Heartbreaking and hilarious in equal measure, Dreaming of Rome is a joyous and uplifting read from T.A. Williams, perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Tilly Tennant and Jenny Oliver

Oh how I remember Rome in July/August – hotter than you can imagine – not the place to be – hotter than this novel implies too.

This novel was in many ways predictable – pleasantly so – with many nice diversions. I liked the sailing around the islands and their descriptions; the butterflies; and the science about the environment (such as there was) a very current and important theme.

I also thought that the story was a good length – often romance novels are too short, barely more than a novella – always ending with the ‘and Jack was free’ like TV crime stories – with none of the real explanation. For me, this would be a good holiday read and with some envy thrown in if you are in Cornwall and it is raining!

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Something Magical?

The Wolf, the Wizard and the Woad Book Cover The Wolf, the Wizard and the Woad
(Highland Healer Book 4)
Florence Love Karsner
Sci Fi & Fantasy , Women's Fiction
BooksGoSocial SeaDog Press, LLC
(12 Sept. 2018)

This prequel to the Highland Healer Series takes readers back in time, to the beginning of the line of healers from whom Caitlin—the fiery, determined protagonist at the heart of the series—has come. Who were these people? Where did they come from? And most importantly, who was this grandmother, Ci-Cero, that is spoken of in the series? What was so special about her? Does Caitlin possess some of her traits, her character, or her abilities? How is it that Caitlin finds herself in Scotland?The Wolf, The Wizard, and The Woad is a magical tale, unique in its presentation, and delves into even greater questions that have been with humanity since the beginning of time. This exciting story will engage you on page one. The time period is the 1600s and the story opens on a desperate note. Caitlin’s father, a Viking, and her mother, a Woad, have traveled from their home in the isles of Scotland—land of ancients and druids—to a new land seeking a better life.Their journey to this far away land has been an arduous one. Many have died, and death is anxiously waiting to wrap its arms around their young daughter as well. In order to save her, a desperate father and mother leave their small daughter on the shores of North America–a dangerous and primitive land—with only a wolf to protect her. This beginning, though heart wrenching, is necessary and sets your thoughts afire wondering what comes next. This coming of age tale, the story of a Chosen Child whose destiny was written eons ago, moves quickly and takes many unexpected detours and follows unmapped territory. This special girl must survive, though her chances are slim as she is alone in her quest to find her place and reason for being. Fascination abounds when we meet her mentor—an old wizard, a shaman— who resides in a cave. Who is this warlock? His spirit has been with her since her birth. Is he psychic? Telepathic? Or is he simply a figment of her imagination? How does he fit into the overall picture? Why is he of such importance for our healer, Caitlin, later on?The favorite character in the Highland Healer Series is the wolf. He is an integral character in this prequel as well. His sole purpose is to protect this child, a task he was assigned the moment she was born. Like Caitlin’s grandmother, Ci-Cero, this wolf is the first in his line and his offspring are present in each novel in the series. Follow them all—the wolf, the wizard, and the woad—and you’ll engage on a most interesting and exciting adventure that will stay with you for an eon or more!

An interesting preview to a series I am not familiar with.

However, whilst I liked the Native American Lore and the mix with some Viking theology, the actual ‘magic’ element seemed rather thin.

Yes, there was a wizard – one must suppose that as he turned out to be white skinned with blue eyes, tat he was in fact a Druid. Which didn’t fit with all the other theologies.

I did wonder if it was aimed at a YA audience, but it seems not, which surprised me, as the level of knowledge seemed at this level.

In the end, I found it a little disappointing. Too many pantheons and theologies mixed up together.

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Not so Sweet

Cake Book Cover Cake
Mrs. Nicole Brooks
General Fiction (Adult) , Women's Fiction
Erid Press Inc.
(7 April 2019)

Would you give to someone who desperately needed it, that which you could live without?Keely is the epitome of a self-made woman, her ability to make the right choices her superpower. She doesn’t believe in looking back and has the drive, ambition, and financial means to create the exact life she wants to live—regardless of what her kids and her husband, Andrew, want or need. Michelle lives in stark contrast to Keely’s life. She believes she was doomed from the start with a heartbreaking, poverty-stricken childhood. A string of bad choices in adulthood only intensifies her lack of faith in herself. With her daughter safely away at college, she is left alone with her abusive husband, Ray. As the days drag on, she struggles to find a reason to continue. Until she meets Andrew. The two women’s worlds eventually collide, courtesy of their daughters, and both are forced to contemplate a time-worn question: is the comfort of a familiar self-constructed prison safer than the risk of trying to live a life of true freedom and potentially failing? Cake asks how much the world has really changed for women—and for which women—by evaluating the progress of modern feminism. This novel examines privilege, the haves and have-nots, the ideals we choose to embrace, and the facts we forcefully decide to not see. This story entices the reader to contemplate whether our material and emotional conditions arise from childhood environments, personal choice, systemic inequality, or a combination of them all.

I found the first half of the book rather slow but the second half improved as things began to come together in the storyline.

Keely is clearly a rather nasty self-obsessed character, but other than Michelle, for me, the rest of the cast of characters were too slight. I felt that Andrew was not complex enough for his role in the story.

I also got bored at the 80% mark and kipped to the last chapter as I wanted to end the book.

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Are you really fine?

I’m Fine and Neither are you Book Cover I’m Fine and Neither are you
Camille Pagan
women's fiction
Lake Union Publishing
(1 April 2019)

Honesty is the best policy…except maybe when it comes to marriage in this brilliant novel about the high price of perfection from bestselling author Camille Pagán. Wife. Mother. Breadwinner. Penelope Ruiz-Kar is doing it all—and barely keeping it together. Meanwhile, her best friend, Jenny Sweet, appears to be sailing through life. As close as the two women are, Jenny’s passionate marriage, pristine house, and ultra-polite child stand in stark contrast to Penelope’s underemployed husband, Sanjay, their unruly brood, and the daily grind she calls a career. Then a shocking tragedy reveals that Jenny’s life is far from perfect. Reeling, Penelope vows to stop keeping the peace and finally deal with the issues in her relationship. So she and Sanjay agree to a radical proposal: both will write a list of changes they want each other to make—then commit to complete and total honesty. What seems like a smart idea quickly spirals out of control, revealing new rifts and even deeper secrets. As Penelope stares down the possible implosion of her marriage, she must ask herself: When it comes to love, is honesty really the best policy?

A very nice exposition of the strains on a marriage of children and a partner working a really difficult, and for her, stressful job.

As a reverse home-maker – ie house husband – he quite clearly clearly is not as home-making as could be expected as she has to come home and cook, do the washing and general tidy. But then he claims to be a writer and working at his next big article – which never quite gets published – and then there is the ‘book’. All of which prevents him from getting up in the night to the children – as he is too tired. A husband who lacks emotional sensitivity and understanding of what his role should have been when she pulls in the big bucks that enable him to stay at home and ‘work’.

I enjoyed this story-line and thought that the impact of lack of sleep and job stress were well told in a humorous but also truthful manner – as we never got a full night’s sleep until our oldest was over 5 years old and know so well the strain that that brings.

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Eat up!

A Slice of Magic Book Cover A Slice of Magic
The Little Magic Pie Shop #1
A. G. Mayes
Romance , Women's Fiction
Harper Impulse and Killer Reads
Pub Date 25 Jan 2019

A plea she can’t ignore, a town of secrets and a magical recipe for love – or disaster…

Susanna Daniels has spent over twenty years wondering why her beloved Aunt Erma disappeared from her life. When Aunt Erma leaves a voicemail asking for help at her pie shop, Susanna thinks she’s finally going to get the answers she’s been waiting for. But when Susanna arrives in the small town of Hocus Hills, Aunt Erma is gone, leaving only a short note, her mischievous dog, Mitzy, and a pie shop with a mind of its own to run…

The first book in The Little Magic Pie Shop series

Well the name of the small town should have given the game away – Hocus Hills – really?!

How do you keep people happy eating pies everyday and yet not worry about putting on weight? Especially if you have the Gym owner badgering everyone to lose weight and win the challenge cup that year?

And then what happens when your estranged aunt asks you to come and help and then disappears? And you really don’t know how to make pies? But are willing to learn..

A cosy story with a bit of humour and mystery. And some magic.

A sweet, charming and magical small town romance for 2019!

4 stars.

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