Saturday 30 April 2016

Book Review - Perfect Weddings by Lynda Renham

Amazon UK
Title: Perfect Weddings
Author: Lynda Renham
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied review copy
Publisher: Raucous Publishing
Publication Date: 12th April 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

Every bride wants a perfect wedding and that includes Georgina Winters. Amy Perfect is the crème de la crème of wedding planners so who best to plan Georgina s wedding... except the man Georgina plans to marry is the same man who jilted Amy three years ago. Will her plan to give Georgina the most imperfect wedding backfire on her? Is this the chance for Amy to win back the love of her life, or will insufferable Ben Garret put a spanner in the works? Arab princes, spoilt brides and wedding catastrophes make Perfect Weddings a page-turning romantic comedy that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

Three years earlier, Amy is jilted on her wedding day. Completely convinced that it was because of her weight, she undergoes a major health kick and then has an epiphany when someone says something to her. She realises that instead of being a mortician, she should become a wedding planner, as she did such a good job on her own wedding (just a shame about the groom). 

Coming into the present, Amy has reinvented herself as Amy Perfect, and is the top wedding planner in London, specialising in making perfect weddings. That is until the day she has a phone call from a potential new client, Georgina Winters, who is marrying Amy's ex-fiance. 

To say Amy has a bit of a minor breakdown for the majority of the book would be putting it mildly as she flits from one funny situation to another, all because she is willing to risk the reputation of the company and try to get her ex back, without anyone realising who she is. 

Perfect Weddings is a fantastic romantic comedy that I couldn't put down. I had to keep turning the pages to see what sticky situations Amy was going to end up in next. The scene with picking up the Sheikh from the airport is memorable, for all the wrong reasons. I could help but laugh as I pictured it. 

Then there is the bride's maid of honor, who is bonkers, Amy's best friend who thinks everything is unhealthy, Amy's continual needing of Rescue Life pills, a lot of mentions of dieting and food, another new client from Saff-end and a whole mix of other clients to make things wonderfully chaotic at times. 

I love Lynda Renham's writing style which is fast paced, laugh a minute and very chatty, as though Amy was talking to her best friend. The question of course that ran through my head the whole way through was whether Georgina would get her perfect wedding, and just who would Amy end up with. 

With all manner of crazy outings, and outlandish situations, Perfect Weddings really hit my funny bone and had me amused the entire time I was reading it.  

Thank you to Lynda Renham for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Friday 29 April 2016

Funday Friday - Truth or Lie? - Lynda Renham - Month 1 Week 2

Welcome to the second ever edition of Truth of Lie. My name is Rachel and I will be your host, for this exciting new game show. Each Friday, I will have one contestant, and they will be answering at least 14 questions. There is of course one small twist, 

For three of the answers, they have to lie. It is your task as the viewer to guess which three answers are lies. You are allowed 3 guesses and I want them posted into the comments field. 

Every 4 weeks, I will close the guessing, count up how many correct answers each of you has, and create a leaderboard. Anyone who is top of the leaderboard, will go into a draw for a paperback of the winners choice (open internationally). 

Please do include a way for me to contact you (email or twitter or similar), so that I can let you know if you have won. 

The weekend after a 4 week period closes, not only will I produce a leaderboard, and announce a winner, I will also let you know into the true answers, and which were the lies.  

Closing date for the first month is 11pm on 19th May 2016. 

So without further ado, let's meet today's contestant. 

Good morning contestant, please can you tell me your name and a little bit about yourself?

Hello, I’m  Lynda Renham. I write romantic comedy.  My new novel ‘Perfect Weddings’ is now available. I have a fun blog and you can find me at

Please to meet you Lynda, I have read Perfect Weddings and loved it, and my review will be up tomorrow morning! 

Now onto the show, and remember everyone, Lynda hasn't been entirely truthful with three of these answers, so it is up to you to guess which ones they are (only 3 guesses per person though). 

 1) Who is your favourite author?
I have many but at present my favourite author is Tammy Cohen. I like a good gripping read

2) What book do you wish you had written?
The Godfather by Mario Puzo. What a brilliant read.

3) Tell me about any really memorable dream or nightmare you have had
A dream where my late father came to visit us. That was a memorable dream.

4) What was your most memorable holiday ever?
Two idyllic weeks in the Bahamas. Very relaxing and luxurious. 

5) If you could be an animal what would you be and why?
A cat. I could sleep a lot and let other people take care of me.

6) If you could be a fruit, what would you be and why?
A fig, because I would smell lovely, grown in a hot country and be around for Christmas.

7) What superpower would you love to have?
The power to make everyone peaceful, tolerant and considerate of each other, no matter what their religion, sexuality or beliefs.

8) What is the most annoying interview question you have ever been asked?
I don’t think there has ever been one.

9) Do you consider yourself to be an angel or a devil? 
Devil, I have no patience, I snap at the computer, snap at my husband when he can’t fix things on it. I’m totally intolerant of technology.  I’m an angel in every other way though.

10) What is your dream job, and have you tried to achieve it?
Writing for a living and I have achieved it.

11) Can you describe for me what your perfect day would involve?
A day out with my husband strolling around the villages near where we live and then lunch in a local pub, and home to a bottle of wine and a DVD.

12) Please name a cocktail that would describe you perfectly, and what’s in it?
Pink Lady. Because all my book covers tend to have shades of pink in them.  My blog has a pink background and I love the colour pink.

Main alcohol: Gin
Ingredients: 1.5 oz. Gin, 1 Egg White, 4 dashes Grenadine
Preparation: Shake ingredients very well with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.
Standard garnish: Cherry
Drinkware: Cocktail glass

13)If you could only read one author for the rest of your life (and I’m aware that’s a very scary world), who would you choose and why?
Iris Murdoch, because she writes perfectly and also philosophies at the same time.

13) If you could choose anybody famous to star in the story of your life, who would it be?
Michelle Williams

14) Besides reading, which I am guessing is a given, what other hobbies do you have?
Needlecraft and playing the piano, or at least learning to.

15) Who is your ideal Disney character?
Snow White

16) What is your best childhood memory?
My nan giving me a trinket box that I had stared at for weeks on her dressing table.

17) Did you have an invisible friend as a child? If so please tell me about them. 
Yes, his name was Fred and he went everywhere with me even to dancing school. My mum even laid a special place at the table for him at meal times

18) What would your ideal pet be?
Bendy my cat is my ideal pet. When he isn’t demented, of course.

19) What is your guilty pleasure when it comes to music? 
Lady Gaga nice and loud. And James Rhodes playing the piano (heaven)

20) If you could only look at one view for the rest of eternity, what or where would you like to be to see this view?
Cambodia, at Angkor Wat temples.

21) Who is the most important person in the world to you?
My husband Andrew

22) Can you let us in on an embarrassing secret?
My skirt fell down once when running for a bus in Oxford Street. I was left standing in my knickers and blouse

23) If you won the lottery, how would you spend the money?
I would give a lot to the children in Cambodia and other charities close to my heart. To my step children and family. I would then buy a farmhouse in Oxfordshire and invest the rest.

24) What are you most scared of?
Spiders and heights.

Thank you so much Lynda for taking part. I also love the colour pink, so think a pink lady could work for me too (shame I'm not a fan of Gin though!)

I hope you have enjoyed this edition of Truth or Lie? I will be back next week with another episode, and in the mean time...
Don't forget to guess the lies, to be in with a chance of a prize! 

Amazon UK

Please do pop back tomorrow to see my review of Perfect Weddings. 

Book Review - Forgotten Dreams by Susanne O'Leary

Amazon UK
Title: Forgotten Dreams (The Riviera Romance Series Book 3) 
Author: Susanne O'Leary
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied review copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 10th February 2016
Rating: 4 Stars

When Molly moves out of her brother’s house in St Tropez to set up home in her new apartment, she plans to spend the quiet off-season in Provence getting used to her new life and making a name as a designer of handcrafted gemstones. 

But an unexpected offer from a US chain of mass market fashion stores ruins the prospect of a quiet winter season. Molly has to work hard to meet a deadline while at the same time attempting to deal with intrigues to steal her designs. Adding to her problems, a man from her past comes hurtling back into her life, forcing her to face both painful memories and unresolved emotional conflicts. 

Set against the backdrop of the French Riviera in winter with its mellow sunshine and beautiful vistas, this is the third book in the Rivera Romance series. 

Forgotten Dreams is the third and I believe final book in the Riviera Romance series, and is just as enjoyable as the previous two stories. Sometimes I will read a three book series in a weekend and can see blatant structural similarities between the three books, but these all felt and read quite differently which is always great to see. 

Although a few characters from the previous two books do pop up, this is predominately Molly's story, and as a result this can easily be read as a standalone story. 

I loved how Molly was a jewellery designer, who has a tricky decision to make when a huge US chain store offers her the chance to design a range for them, but whether that means she can keep up her bespoke work and the reputation she is building is another matter. 

Molly is hiding a big secret in her past, and it leads to there being up to three potential love interests for her in the book, and I really wasn't completely sure in which direction she would go.  There is a man from her past, a man that works for the US chain store company and the man that lives in the house she has moved into on a temporary basis. 

I really enjoyed Molly's story and the descriptions of her new home, and also the insight into the French Riviera in winter. I loved the French Christmas celebrations, and there was plenty going on during the book to hold my interest. 

A very enjoyable third book of the Riviera Romance series. 

Thank you to Susanne O'Leary for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Thursday 28 April 2016

Character Q&A with Jack Chatham from The Drought and The Flood by Steven Scaffardi - Blog Tour

Jack Chatham is the happy-go-lucky cockney character from the Sex, Love and Dating Disaster book series, and good friends with the main protagonist Dan Hilles. Today he has popped into Rachel’s Random Reads as part of the Lad Lit Blog Tour…

Welcome to Rachel’s Random Reads Jack. Thanks for joining us, please tell the readers a little bit about yourself.
Thanks Rachel, I’m excited to be here. Out of the four boys who star in The Drought and The Flood, I’m the joker in the pack. I’m the one who keeps the banter full to the brim. Girls love a man with a sense of humour, you know?

Is that right? In The Drought you are known to favour chat-up lines when attempting to woo a lady. What is your best chat-up line?
There are so many Rachel, but it’s all in the delivery. Allow me to demonstrate (clears throat, licks his finger and wipes it down Rachel’s top). Let’s get you out of those wet clothes! And if that one doesn’t work I normally just invite the girl back to my place for pizza and sex. If she says no, at least I know she doesn’t like pizza.

Really? That’s your best chat-up line? No wonder your friend Dan experienced a sexual drought if that was the sort of advice he was getting! 
What are you talking about? That is top grade material right there. It is not my fault Dan is hopeless with the ladies. 

Tell me a bit more about Dan and how he comes to end up in this predicament.
Basically you either have the golden touch with the girls or you don’t, if you catch my drift Rachey babe. Dan’s problem was that he stupidly got himself into a relationship and wasted three years when he could have been playing the field like me! So when he broke up with his ex-Stacey – which by the way was hilariously messy – he had completely forgotten how to go on the pull. It was embarrassing to be honest; watching him get into one ridiculous situation after the next. Do you know that he once went on a date and was unable to seal the deal because he got chased away by a sausage dog? True story.

In an attempt to help Dan get over his drought, you and the boys take him on a road trip. You created a set of rules for you and your friends to abide by. What is the most important rule you have to obey on a road trip?
That one is easy Rachey babe…

Stop calling me Rachey babe.
…What happens on tour, stays on tour! When you’re away with the lads, you can’t go blabbing about every little detail when you get home.  In The Drought I delivered a 10 point rule all men should follow when they hit the open road for the ultimate lad getaway. You can read it here.

Things are a little bit different for Dan in The Flood as this time round he makes a bet with you and your friends that he can date four girls all at once. What can you tell us about that?
Watching him transform into a nervous wreck trying to keep each girl from finding out about each other was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Dan never makes things easy for himself. Instead of finding himself four quiet and unassuming girls that would have been easy to deal with, he goes and dates a stalker, his crazy ex-girlfriend, the office ice queen, and a girl so hot she could melt the polar ice caps.  The problem is, when you are as unlucky-in-love as Dan is, it is never going to be smooth sailing!

Okay, time for a quick-fire question round before we wrap this up. Who would you be stuck on a desert island with? 
Cheryl Cole. 

What is your greatest ambition? 
To be stuck on a desert island with Cheryl Cole. 

What's your greatest fear? 
That if I made it on to that island with Cheryl Cole, she might be good at boat making. 

Thanks for joining me Jack and good luck with promoting The Drought and The Flood.
It was my pleasure Rachey babe. Hey, do you like pizza?


Download Sex, Love & Dating Disasters: The Drought by Steven Scaffardi for FREE on April 28-May 2 at Amazon and pre-order The Flood eBook for just 99p before it is released on April 30.

See the trailer for The Flood

Or click here to read the first chapter of The Flood 

About Steve

"But a man wouldn't do or say that!" 

This was a common rant that could often be heard coming from the lips of Steven Scaffardi over the last couple of years after he was forced to endure yet another rom-com movie at the hands of his girlfriend. 

"And he definitely wouldn't turn into a vampire or a werewolf! That is just plain ridiculous!"

So after suffering yet another Matthew McConaughey chick-flick, Steven decided enough was enough and it was time to stand up for men the world over and write a book that spoke about the male perspective on relationships, and The Drought was born...

Published in September 2011, Steven's debut novel The Drought received fantastic praise for its hilarious take on how the male mind works when it comes to the opposite sex, being labelled chick-lit for men.

To help promote the book, Steven took to the open mic stand-up comedy scene in and around London in 2011, sharing his funny observations and self-deprecating humour about life as a 30-something man.

Steven is now busy working on his second novel, a follow-up to The Drought called The Flood. He is hoping to emulate the success of fellow lad-lit writers such as Mike Gayle, Danny Wallace, Nick Spalding, and the undisputed king of lad-lit, Nick Hornby.

My review of the Flood is now live as part of this tour too, so please do check it out. Please also follow along with the rest of the #LadLitBlogTour

Thank you so much to Jack Chatham and Steven Scaffardi for giving me such a hilarious interview.  It had me in floods of laughter the first time I read it, and gives a real indication of the sense of humour of the book.

And phone number is XXX XXXX XXXX! Call me! 

Book Review - The Flood by Steven Scaffardi - Blog Tour

Amazon UK
Title: The Flood (Sex, Love and Dating Disasters Book 2) 
Author: Steven Scaffardi
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied review copy
Publisher: Lad Lit Press
Publication Date: 30th April 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

One bet, four girls, eight weeks, multiple dates. What could possibly go wrong? 

Following his traumatic eight month dry spell, Dan Hilles is back in the driving seat and ready to put his dating disasters behind him. 

But if only it were that simple. 

After a drunken afternoon in the pub, fuelled by the confidence of alcohol, Dan makes a bet with his three best pals that will complicate his love-life more than ever when he brazenly declares that he could juggle multiple women all at the same time. 

With just eight weeks to prove his point, Dan is about to find out how hard it is to date a flood of women without them all finding out about each other, especially when they come in the shape of an ex-girlfriend, a stalker, the office ice queen and the one that got away. 

My only slight regret with regard to this book, is that I didn't make the time to read The Drought first, and that is purely because I loved the writing so much in The Flood, that I'm already longing for more. The Flood can definitely be read as a stand alone and enjoyed as such, and I was smiling the whole way through. 

My first impressions of this book, was that it reminded me a bit of that 90s TV programme, Men Behaving Badly, especially with regards some of the humour. I find that humour is subjective, so although this didn't have me rolling on the floor with laughter, as I may have been hoping, I did find it very amusing, and there are some brilliant one liners. 

In fact any time Olly or Steph said something they got either a giggle or an eye roll from me, depending on the exact level of stupidity they were displaying. They are loveable characters, just unfortunately a bit dim, or as Olly said for himself at one point, that he needed to work on his "vocadbury". 

If you are a person who doesn't like reading about men dating multiple people at one time, then this may not be the best book for you. However this is fiction, none of these women got hurt in the making of the book, and it is all a bit of fun, especially for a group of four lads in their twenties, as a result of a very drunken bet. 

The Flood is a brilliant example of the Lad Lit genre between its sense of humour and the overall storylines and situations the characters find themselves in. This is emphasised by Dan and the four women he attempts to date simultaneously which include his ex-girlfriend, a stalker, the office ice queen who loves bad boys and the girl he has previously messed up two previous dates with. 

We also get to know all of Dan's friends really well, and with the introduction of reasonably naive lad into the group, who needs Jack's expert tuition to be better with the ladies. There are chat up lines galore in this book, as well as drunken hijinx, a very weird flatmate, the stalker's stalker, and all manner of weird and wonderful happenings. 

All I am going to say at this point is that books ends with those three words can really bug a person, and I am really looking forward to the next edition of this Sex, Love and Dating Disasters series. I think Steven Scaffardi is definitely a talent to be watched in this genre. 

Thanks so much to Steven Scaffardi for this review copy. This is my honest opinion.

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Book Review - Borrowed Dreams by Susanne O'Leary

Amazon UK
Title: Borrowed Dreams (The Riviera Romance Series Book 2) 
Author: Susanne O'Leary
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied review copy
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 27th June 2015
Rating: 5 Stars

Upset after the end of a stormy relationship, Daisy Hennessey jumps at the chance to house-sit the villa of a billionaire in glitzy St. Tropez. It will be the perfect place to recover from the emotional trauma.

But not even beautiful gardens, a swimming pool, and a private beach can keep her mind off her troubles, and when she finds a collection of designer clothes that seem made for her, she can’t resist trying them on. By sheer coincidence, invitations to glamorous parties begin to arrive and Daisy gives in to the temptation to mingle with the international jet-set. She soon discovers, however, that even the most glittering façade has an ugly side. 

Her growing attraction to a handsome Irishman and the arrival of a mysterious Russian woman to the villa add further complications to what started as a playful prank. Daisy finds herself caught in a web of lies she can’t escape. 

I feel as though I have just returned from a dream trip and dream life in St. Tropez, from the descriptions of the local markets, to the variety of glamorous parties and the impressive residence that Daisy finds herself in, I could have been there alongside her. 

There is a bit of a mystery in this story, when someone appears in the villa which a vaguely believable story as to why they need to be kept secret, but it didn't take me long to work out the truth of the matter. Once I had convinced myself about the mystery, I kept seeing things that looked very obvious to my mind, but that Daisy didn't seem to pick up on. 

This is the second book in the Riviera Romance Series and can easily be read as a standalone. During the explanations as to why Daisy is house sitting in St. Tropez, it catches you up on the current circumstances of the previous main characters, but apart from that its a completely separate story, set a few years later. It was a fantastic opportunity to get to know Daisy a lot better, and it shes a lovely character. 

During this wonderful romance, we meet a dashing Irishman who seems to be incredibly attracted to Daisy, as well as many colourful people that make up the rich and famous jet set in the French Riviera. In particular Marianne, who has so much more depth to her, than what she first appears. 

I am absolutely loving this series of books by Susanne O'Leary, and I have found this to be a very easy to read romantic comedy, with a hint of intrigue, and all set to the most wonderful backdrop. St. Tropez really is the playground of the rich, and with Daisy a relatively normal person, who just can't help but dip her toe into the scene while house sitting, we get a terrific look at how the other half live. 

Thank you so much to Susanne O'Leary for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

My review of Selling Dreams, Book 1 of the Riviera Romance series was posted earlier today. 

Book Review - Selling Dreams by Susanne O'Leary

Amazon UK
Title: Selling Dreams (The Riviera Romance Series Book 1)
Author: Susanne O'Leary
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 16th December 2014
Rating: 4 Stars

The pristine blue waters and sun drenched shores of the French Riviera provide a stunning backdrop to the story of two women, Chantal and Flora, both struggling with the heartache of a lost love. 

Chantal Gardinier runs her real estate agency in Antibes with an iron fist. A tough businesswoman on the surface, Chantal is hiding a tragic home life and a secret love affair. When faced with a moral dilemma, she is unsure which path to choose. 

Flora McKenna arrives in town with high hopes of finding happiness. When she immediately lands a great job, she decides that this exotic paradise might be just the place to help her heart heal. Selling houses to expats looking for a dream home in the sun would be the ideal existence if it weren't for her demanding boss, Chantal—a woman with no scruples when it comes to bending the rules. 

But Chantal’s personal life catches up with her, and she is forced to ask Flora to run the agency. 

While trying to cope with French property laws and red tape, Flora is thrown into a love affair that threatens to break her heart. 

Set against the glamorous backdrop of the French Riviera with its stunning scenery, Selling Dreams is the story of two very different women travelling on paths filled with unexpected twists as they search for love and happiness.

Selling Dreams is a fabulous story set in Antibes, in the French Riviera. I loved the setting of this story, and really felt as though I was in France. Susanne O'Leary has a lovely welcoming style that draws you into the story, and really transports you into the world she has created. 

Selling Dreams features two main quite contrasting stories. There is Chantal who lives a double life, and runs an estate agency, with the philosophy of covering up the truth about the properties she is selling, however when her personal life becomes her highest priority, she leaves the running of the agency to her new hire, Flora. 

Flora has come over from Dublin, and has a difference in house selling philosophy, She also meets a Frenchman on the plane who she is rather enamoured with, until she finds out how he makes all his money. 

There is a great mix of the rich and famous, as well as those struggling a bit, in this story, so when there are restaurants mentioned, one day it could be one of the top places in the area, and the next they could be eating equally delicious sounding peasant cuisine in a small cafe. 

Flora also strikes up a friendship with a young rich man, when she takes him on her first viewing of a large house, with amazing views. However its clear he is hiding something, and I really enjoyed his story. 

There is a lovely cast of characters, and I felt as thought I really got to know some of them. I suspect others may pop up again in the rest of the series, which I am really looking forward to reading. It has been  years since I last read a Susanne O'Leary book, but I'm going to try to make sure I read a lot more by her, as  I really enjoy her writing and how she will take you to lovely locations and make you want to book a plane there.

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Book Review - The Disappearance by Annabel Kantaria

Amazon UK
Title: The Disappearance
Author: Annabel Kantaria
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: 21st April 2016
Rating: 3.5 Stars

In a family built on lies, who can you trust?
Audrey Bailey will never forget the moment she met Ralph Templeton in the sweltering heat of a Bombay café. Her lonely life over, she was soon married with two small children. But things in the Templeton household were never quite what they seemed.

Now approaching 70, and increasingly a burden on the children she’s never felt close to, Audrey plans a once-in-a-lifetime cruise around the Greek isles. Forcing twins Lexi and John along for the ride, the Templetons set sail as a party of three – but only two will return.

On the night of her birthday, Audrey goes missing…hours after she breaks the news that the twins stand to inherit a fortune after her death. As the search of the ship widens, so does the list of suspects – and with dark clues emerging about Audrey’s early life, the twins begin to question if they can even trust one another…

The first part of this book jumps around a lot, between the events leading up to the cruise, and also Audrey's early marriage, how she met Ralph Templeton, and just what went on behind closed doors. 

I found myself the whole way through really hating Lexi and John, Aubrey's adult twins, who seemed to resent their mother, and determined to put her in a home years before it would be necessary. I found there was no warmth to either character, and it took until almost the end of the book for my opinion of Lexi to change. John was just horrible man, and seemed to share characteristics with his father. 

The second part of the book is the cruise in detail, and as a huge travel fan, cruising, fan and lover of the Greek Isles, I enjoyed reading about the ports of call, and trying to guess what real world cruise ship the ship they were on was based on. The descriptions in this part of the book really spoke to me and the first few days of the cruise was my favourite section of the whole book. 

I found the disappearance in question to be ultimately disappointing, I didn't feel any tension, or the must read pull that I normally would with a book of this nature, and although there were some surprises, I found they really were just potential motives of a far nastier theory. 

Although I didn't quite guess the outcome, I was hoping for it to turn out how it did, so I didn't even get a a proper shock at the ending. 

I found The Disappearance had a lot of promise but that it just fell short as a psychological thriller. As a book about family dynamics, that had a family holiday in it, I found it an enjoyable story, with quite a few positives, but found my lack of empathy towards any of the main characters a bit worrying, and this didn't really connect to the book as a whole. I did find it to be a surprisingly fast book, and although I wouldn't say it was compulsive, I did read it in one evening, and was shocked how quick I seemed to be getting through it. 

Thanks so much to Netgalley and MIRA for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

Monday 25 April 2016

Book Review - Sailing Solo by Emily Harvale - Rachel Reads Randomly Book #23

Amazon UK
Title: Sailing Solo
Author: Emily Harvale
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Crescent Gate Publishing
Publication Date: 21st July 2013
Rating: 5 Stars

Love isn’t always plain sailing. 

Willa Daventry knows what she wants. She’s thirty-two, single and determined to make her singles sailing holidays a successful part of her family’s travel business. 

She doesn’t usually mix business with pleasure but the attentions of three handsome men under the blazing Greek sun are enough to turn any girl’s head. Should she keep things professional, or risk a little flirting and get what she wants into the bargain? 

She needs to negotiate a new deal with Greek hotel owner, Aristaios Nikolades. Advertising executive, Harry ‘Banner’ Bullen’s skills could prove useful, and a five-star review from award-winning, travel writer, Mark Thornton would be a dream come true. 

Unbeknown to Willa, the three men make a drunken wager to see which of them can get a date with her. Aristaios and Harry don’t play fair but Mark is determined to win. He’ll have to keep sex-mad Pilates instructor, Blossom Appleyard and divorcée, Suki Thane at bay though, if he is to stand a chance of sailing off into the sunset with Willa. 

When Willa learns of the bet will she decide to play the men at their own game and teach them a lesson they won’t forget, or … will she just feel she’s better off sailing solo?

Well I'm single, I love Greece, holidays and sexy men, and I don't mind sitting on a boat while someone sails, so a Sailing Solo holiday would be a fantastic fit for me. Based on what I was reading I would have loved every second of my trip, had I really gone on one of these holidays. 

Willa runs the singles sailing holidays and wants to make it a successful part of her family business, despite her father not letting her forget an incident from her first summer season when she was 18 years old. She generally won't mix business and pleasure, unlike her good friend and colleague Blossom. 

However this is the summer where things change, and within the first week of the season, there are three men all so determined to date Willa, that they make a bet. Needless to say it isn't exactly all fun and games for Willa, although it is for the reader, as we see the men compete for her attentions. 

I had strong feelings towards one of the men right from the start, and there is a clear connection between them even if they are both determined to mask their true feelings with large amounts of witty banter. There are a lot of laughs to be had in Sailing Solo, and I definitely felt transported to the coast of mainland Greece. 

There is great Greek food, lovely scenery and sexy greek men, in addition to the other fantastic looking men. Although there isn't a whole deal of sex in the story, there is a large amount of suggestion, and flirting.  I felt utterly transported to the scene of these singles holidays including the magnificent hotel that was being used as a base, and the writing was very descriptive and a joy to read. 

This is another superb book by the very talented Emily Harvale and I loved every minute of it. 

Thank you so much to those of you who voted for Sailing Solo to win. I honestly thought when the choices came up last week that the Freya North would probably win, possibly by a landslide, so I'm very impressed that this was the winner. Incredibly enjoyable book, and please if you take part again this week, see if you can pick something I will enjoy just as much (or not if you are feeling mean!). 

Rachel Reads Randomly - Vote #24

Thank you everyone for your input last time. The results of the last vote were:

0 Votes - My Sort-of-Kind-of Hero by Emily Harper
1 Votes - Caught in the Act by Gemma Fox 
2 Votes - Irrepressible You by Georgina Penney 
7 Votes - The Turning Point by Freya North
8 Votes - Sailing Solo by Emily Harvale

Nice outright winner this week and one that I was delighted with. I love Emily Harvale's books and am convinced she should get far more recognition than she does get, so really happy that for whatever reasons, you voted for Sailing Solo.  

This week I am randomising from review books that I just haven't got to in my continually pursuit of posting reviews close to publication dates. There are always some that slip through, or I get afterwards, and its about time I tried to get at least 1 of these reviewed. (Note to authors, I promise they will all get reviewed, I just need to clear a gap in the schedule to get to them, which is easier said than done!)

Below is my initial theory for this feature, and then a bit further, what you are all waiting for... This weeks's vote! Enjoy!

I am also awful at deciding what book to read next, as I often have about 10 titles or authors jumping into my brain at any time, shouting at me to read them, and I tend to worry I have made the wrong decision while reading a perfectly good book. I am hoping this will save me having to make at least 1 choice a week, while possibly providing a review to the site of a book you all either love or are curious about yourselves. 

So what I am proposing, is my lovely loyal readers of Rachel's Random Reads, select one book for me to read a week, and I will post the review the following week. 

This weeks random numbers are...

And the books these numbers correspond to are...

So the 5 choices with my gut feeling responses are:

13 - My DisOrganised Life by Nina Whyle - I've heard its meant to be a funny book, and its own I've almost started a few times. 
14 - What To Do If He's Having An Affair by Molly Hopkins - I loved Molly Hopkins previous books and was happy to accept a review copy of her new book
20 - Truth or Date by Portia MacIntosh - I loved her previous book, and she was on the blog last week talking about dreams. 
21 - One Moment At Sunrise by Karen Aldous - Received my review copy too late for me to review for the blog tour, and just haven't managed to pick it up yet, which is a shame as like the other authors I do love Karen Aldous books. 
23 - Summer at the Cornish Cafe (The Penwith Trilogy, Book 1) by Phillipa Ashley - This is out on 5th May, and really looking forward to seeing what this is all about. Hoping its going to be great, and the cover is definitely summery! 

Well obviously since I have opted to review all of these, I would like to read them all, and I will read the winner as always for the review to go up next Monday. This time though, I am intending to read and prioritise the 2nd and 3rd place books as well, on the assumption that some of you will be interested in the reviews and will try and have them available within a few weeks. (May not happen, who knows what can change in a week in book blogger land!). 

Pick your favourite or the one you most want me to review, or just the one you are curious about, and leave me a comment below, before midnight on Wednesday. 

I look forward to seeing what I will be reading over the weekend, courtesy of you all.

The explanation if you haven't seen the feature before. 

How is this going to work?

Every Monday, I am going to have a post like this, which is going to have some choices on it. I am planning on using to select 7 random numbers, to coincide with my spreadsheet of unread books.  

I will from that produce a list of hopefully 5 books, I reserve the right to veto any books, and will give reasons for them, if it occurs.

I will take screenshots and post them, of the chosen books, and also give you my instinctive reactions to the choices (without checking blurbs or any other info about them, which could be interesting as there are probably many forgotten about books on my spreadsheet!). 

Your task is to post a comment on this post, with the book you would like me to read this week. At midnight on Wednesday I will take a tally of the votes and the book with the most, I will read and review for the following Monday, where you will also get a new choice post. 

In the event of a tie, I will chose which one appeals most, for the Monday review, and possibly try and read and review the other to appear when I can. 

I am hoping this will provide some variety to the books appearing, and will let me potentially read or discover some great authors that I have wanted to read but not got around to yet.
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