Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm by Rebecca Raisin

secrets at maple syrup farm

Story Outline:

Secrets…we all have them.

Clay’s inheritance of Maple Syrup Farm came at the perfect time. Leaving city life behind he headed for maple-tree surrounded Ashford, Connecticut. Getting the farm in working order again might be back-breaking work – but it seems to be the only way for Clay to finally forget about the girl who once broke his heart…

Lucy’s had enough of rules and the stress of planning her life down to the very last detail. Looking for an adventure she stumbles upon Maple Syrup Farm and its gorgeously gruff owner. This could be the perfect place to hide out…!

But the tranquillity and warmth of Maple Tree Farm is enough to heal even the most battered of hearts. There are very few problems in life that can’t be cheered up by maple syrup!

The new standalone novel from bestselling author of the Gingerbread Cafe trilogy and The Bookshop on the Corner, Rebecca Raisin.

 

My Review:

Like the previous book of Rebecca’s (The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Élysées) that I had the pleasure of reading. This book was not just a story of budding romance but a book that captures the imagination and engages all your senses. I have never been a huge fan of romance in the past as it conjures up all sorts of images of heaving bosoms and manly protrusion, but it is not the case with this authors books. She writes her characters in such a way that the readers grow to love them as you get to know each of them.

I loved this book so much that I did not want it to end. My heart actually felt like it was going to break because I have to leave these characters behind. I truly wish that these people were real and the town of Ashford was an actual place. You do not just read Lucy’s story, you live it with her. Lucy’s adventure is one that will grab you by the heart and leave you wanting more. From her personal struggles being separated from her mother and wondering how she will make it through a whole year on her own. To finding a love she was not looking for and becoming part of a community that welcomed her with open arms. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry but more importantly, it will leave you feeling like Lucy, you have found friends for life.

Rebecca Raisin is a true master storyteller of the romance genre. Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm was a truly joyous experience I hope to repeat in the future.

The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Élysées (The Little Paris Collection, #3) by Rebecca Raisin

rebecca raisin

 

Story Outline:

What is French for falling in love?
When Del leaves small-town America to compete in a perfume competition in Paris, she thinks it is just the next step on her five-year-plan. It’s an exciting opportunity. What started out as just a dream for Del and her twin sister is nearly in her grasp. If she wins this competition, they are on their way to opening their very own perfume boutique!

Arriving in Paris, watching the sun glinting off the Seine and wandering the Champs-Elysees, Del discovers the most perfect perfumery she’s ever seen. Yet, as the competition dawns Del realises that whilst she might have had the best nose in her small village, her competitors seem to know more than she could ever have dreamed. This competition isn’t going to be easy…

Del has the romance of Paris to sweep her away from her worries, but as the competition heats up, so does her desire for that which she cannot have! If only the dashing owner Sébastien didn’t smell so seductive, look so handsome and make her heart flutter like it never has before. They say love smells as sweet as a red rose in bloom, but Del would tell anyone that true love can’t be bottled – it’s beautiful and unique to everyone…even herself. With everything on the line for her future, can Del really let a little attraction get in the way of securing her dreams?

 

My Review:

Reviewed for NetGalley and HQ Digital

Due for publication 30th March 2018

Seeing as it is “the month of LOVE” I thought I would read books with a romantic touch to them. Rebecca Raisin’s book was the perfect way to start.

I have not read any of the authors books up to this point so I had no idea what to expect. What I discovered was an amazing heartfelt tale of loss, friendship and belief in your own abilities and finding the strength to change your life even when it feels you are making all the wrong decisions.

It is not just a tale about all those things, it is also a journey of the sensory kind, all the aroma’s Del’s experiences in the challenges set out for her make it a story not just for the eyes alone. I was so drawn in immediately to this adventure. I too could smell and see what Del could. There is nothing that pleases me more as a reader than to be able to connect to a character that way. It is also an emotional journey. Del had me laughing, crying and sometimes cringing.

The characters are bold, heartwarming and inspiring, I even had a soft spot for the not so nice Clementine who eventually showed her true colours when things didn’t go the way she planned. It is a rare thing for me to like a mean character but in this case, I did.

There are so many reasons you will fall in love with the story but I will let you find out for yourself. All I will say is once you read one Rebecca Raisin books you will want to read more.

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa De La Cruz

 

P and P and Mistletoe

Story Outline:

Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her dad and little brother.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32 and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

 

My Review:

Reviewed for Netgalley and Hachette Australia

Publication date: 31st October 2017

When the title of this book caught my eye, I was interested in reading it to see what it was like. Being a huge fan of the original Pride and Prejudice I thought it would be interesting to see how the author handles the re-telling in a modern setting. Another thing that enticed me to read it was the role reversals of the main characters Darcy is a female and the male is Luke Bennet. I have previously read books based on Pride and Prejudice which I have enjoyed. This re-telling did not disappoint either. 

With a storyline that flows well keeping the reader engaged and wanting to find out the fate of Darcy and Luke. Although I had a fair idea how the story would finish, it had a few interesting twists to keep the reader guessing to the end.

The characters were a delight to get to know. I found myself wanting things to work out for Darcy when it looked like her fate was sealed with Carl. I absolutely loved the banter between Darcy and her best friend Bingley Charles. At one point when Darcy was giving dating advice to Bingley, it felt like the author was paying homage to another Jane Austen classic “Emma.” Whether this was deliberately done or not I do not know.

All in all, a great read. I believe that fans of the romance genre and Jane Austen will really enjoy it.

New Moon by Stephanie Meyers

new moon

 

The second book in the Twilight series was an enjoyable experience.

I know some might say that that is a strange thing to write seeing as for over half the book Bella is like a zombie and on the edge of madness at times from her loss of Edward, but I have a very good reason for enjoying it. I did because it shows what a great author Stephanie is in the way she can describe what it feels like to suffer a loss so great that you do not know whether you will survive it or not. It takes a great deal of understanding of what that feels like to write about it in the way that she did. I honestly felt for Bella, what Edward put her through would have killed most people, but she was strong even though she did not really believe it herself.

Try as I might though I can not find it in me to like or support Jacob. To me, he came across as a self-centered and egotistical character. I had the impression of him being sincere all wrong. I truly believe he didn’t want Bella because he cared, I honestly feel that he wanted her so Edward couldn’t have her. I know that the whole werewolf and vampire thing is behind it, but if they were just ordinary men, I could easily see Jacob as the kind of character that would stalk someone just because they could. I really have no connection to him at all.

The introduction of the Volturi into the story gave it a fantastic twist, it was great to see other vampire characters brought in.This and Bella’s impending transformation has really peaked my interest in this series.

Besides a few editing issues, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. As with the first book, the characters are beautifully written and the story flows well and kept me interested.

Highly recommended.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

PandP

Pride and Prejudice is one of the most well known and treasured love stories in the world today, and with very good reason. Jane Austen had a talent for making her characters very real, with lots of faults. From Elizabeth to Mr Collins, there are characters galore for the reader to fall in love with and despise. She also understood how to use humour in a way that makes the reader laugh at something even though they know they probably shouldn’t. It is a book that totally polarises the reader, you either love it or you hate it. I personally believe that a lot of readers do not understand the complexities of the time. I have read some reviews of the book which stated that they could not understand why Mrs Bennet was so obsessed with her daughters finding husbands. We live in totally different times to the characters in the book. If you were a gentleman’s daughter you were expected to marry and to marry well. It is that simple, there was very little freedom in that and if you happen to find someone you love, then you were very lucky indeed.

If you are new to Austen’s works and do not quite grasp what all the fuss is about, a bit of research on the time period the books are set in, looking up the manners and etiquette of the time period, might help to understand how all the relationships in the book work. It is a great study of human nature, its success, its failures, and its prejudices.

Highly recommended.