Off The Bookshelf Reviews

A Lady For Lord Randall (Brides of Waterloo #1) by Sarah Mallory | #Review #ALadyForLordRandall #BridesOfWaterloo #OffTheBookShelf | @SarahMRomance @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

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Hello, Sunshines, I am super excited to be sharing my review of another book which has been sitting on my bookshelf for way too long, plus another book by one of my favourite authors; A Lady For Lord Randall by Sarah Mallory. I adored this book as soon as I set eyes on the cover, I can’t wait to share this gorgeous book with you all.

Plus, do visit the blog over the weekend as I have two more Sarah Mallory books to share with you before that take a look at this beauty!

A Lady For Lord Randall by Sarah Mallory

Series: Brides of Waterloo

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: Mills & Boon, Harlequin Books

Format: ebook, paperback

In a time of war…

Mary Endacott has no intention of ever surrendering to a man, especially when she meets stubborn yet infuriatingly handsome Lord Randall! But with a major battle fast approaching, normal rules dissolve, and Mary gives herself to him.

…can true love survive?

Justin is renowned for his authority on the battlefield, but Mary is a challenge of a whole new kind! He’s determined to seize every moment of happiness while he can, but when the fighting commences, will the promise of Mary’s kiss be enough to keep him safe?

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Review

Firstly, Look at that cover!!! #TripleSigh

Isn’t it wonderful? And to be perfectly honest it was that cover which caught my attention, I fell in love with it and it is what made me pick up the book in the first place, closely followed by the fact that it is written by one of my all-time favourite authors.

Seriously though, if you read my reviews, then you will have a fair idea about why I was so taken with this book. For those who have just joined my ramblings (hello, and welcome) then; Its the handsome, grizzled chap in uniform….honestly, gets me every time. I blame a childhood of watching far too much Sharpe…other kids had posters of 90’s pop stars on their bedroom wall, I had Sean Bean in THAT uniform side by side with Jon Bon Jovi 😉

I think, I may have trailed a little off course there, honestly, you don’t want to hear about my childhood bedroom walls life’s story, you want to hear about this gorgeous, gorgeous book…and another thing, why is it I have only just discovered the Brides of Waterloo series?

Where has this book been hiding?

It’s true I walk around with my eyes closed, no wonder I walk into things…LOL!

So this is apart of a trilogy which was written to commemorate the 200th year anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, I’ve not read the other books in this series, but that didn’t impede in my enjoyment of the book, I would say you can read these easily as a stand-alone. I will definitely be reading the other two books as soon as I am able to.

During the Battle of Waterloo, we have a couple who are made for each other and yet have been pulled apart and not just by the war, Mary isn’t your stereotypical little miss, she isn’t a wilting wallflower by any means. She is strong-willed, free-thinking and like her parents goes against all conventions of society. She is determined not to follow the other ladies of the ton and find a husband, she has other more important things on her mind, most importantly her school for young ladies, but then into her life struts the peacocking, handsome, seductive, dashing, charming, arrogant, rich and rascally Lord Randall and no matter what her mind tells her rapidly beating heart is saying something completely different, but which will win?

Well, if it were me I would throwing myself at the feet of the handsome soldier, waiting to be ravished 😉

There’s aren’t enough words for just how wonderful Justin is, and easily one of my favourite heroes to date; handsome, proud, intelligent, caring, loyal and yet there is a certain vulnerability hidden beneath that oh, so sexy titled confident exterior….Gawd, he is just fabulous!! Is it wrong to say I hated Mary just a little? Because once he set eyes on that free-thinking young miss he was lost to all, he is intrigued by her, he wants her deep down in his soul but she doesn’t make life easy for him…poor Justin, even if at times he did act like an arse, but still he wanted her and only her.

Yup, I will admit of being jealous of a character 😉

I really like how Justin’s little command is called; Randall’s Rogues, which is basically what it says on the tin, here we have a battalion of Rogues, of ruff and ready men who make the enemy shiver in fear, and women….well, they shiver too but in an entirely different way. Again, Randall’s Rogues reminds me of Sharpe’s Chosen Men; a group of misfits, of rebels who are damn fine soldier’s. Such a shame our Randall’s Rogues aren’t in green 😉

Honestly, I do have an obsession with a certain green uniform!!

Sarah Mallory is easily one of the finest historical romance authors around, time and time again she creates beauty with her words, but personally speaking I think she outdid herself with this one (even though there have been many books after this, many of which I have loved) but this one is easily my favourite to date. I love the story, the setting, the chemistry between Mary and Justin, the exquisite attention to detail and I especially love rascally, ravishing, rugged Randall…my goodness, how much do I love him?

A Lady for Lord Randall is an exceptionally great historical romance, it’s beautifully written from start to finish. It’s meticulously researched which makes the entirety of the story realistic and engaging, it pulls the reader right into the centre of each scene. You can almost smell the gunpowder, you feel the urgency of the moment, the drama, the tension, the love and lust.

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And The Stars Shine Down by Melinda Hammond | #Review #AndTheStarsShineDown #OffTheBookShelf | @SarahMRomance

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Hello, Sunshines, I hope you are all well? I am super excited to be sharing my review of the gorgeous; And The Stars Shine Down by Melinda Hammond. This little novella completely curled itself around this little reader’s heart I have had this book on my kindle shelf for way too long, now I can’t wait to share it with you all.

And The Stars Shine Down by Melinda Hammond

Genre: Romance Novella / Pages: 50 / Format: Ebook

This is Laura Grantham’s big chance, reporting on the first flight of a Spitfire that was lost for 70 years. But the story that unfolds is one Laura can never write. Who would ever believe her?

A bitter-sweet short story of two people who should have been separated by a lifetime….

Sensuality rating: sweet romance

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Review

This is such a sweet little novella, at a mere fifty pages it’s a blink and you’ll miss it a tale that spans span’s 70 years. It’s a beautiful little story of true love, one that will bury itself into your heart and rest there for many years to come. As the back blurb says; this is a bittersweet story, and no truer words have been written, like Laura, I was whisked away and became fully absorbed into the past, my heart was completely stolen by one certain person – I refuse to say who or even tell you about this character, as that would spoil the little ‘twist’ to the story, but believe me he was adorable, a proper gent!

I was completely taken with this story, not only has it so much within it I love; Spitfires, men in uniform (yes, you know me, I am a sucker for a uniform, especially those flyboy  blues, I do love an aviator jacket on a man….deep guttural, almost feral sigh!!)

Hmm, went slightly off topic there!

Laura is covering the story of the first flight of a ‘lost’ Spitfire, her grandfather has spent his whole adult life in repairing his old girl to be able to take to the skies 70 years after the Battle of Britain. Laura has her dress for the 1940’s party, she has her notes and the story ready now all she has to do is wait for the big day. Only things don’t exactly go to plan, especially not when she meets a handsome man in uniform sitting looking all forlorn beside the airfield. A moment which will change her life forever and which creates a story she can’t tell.

I know it’s all very short and vague, but as I do keep saying I don’t want to spoil the book for you, and if you go and give this story a try you will understand why I can’t go into too much depth, you won’t be disappointed!

I have to say that by the last page there were a few tear’s, it hit your heart hard and you really feel for Laura, the ending has a real twist and in that, there is a moment of clarity and peace, plus sadness. Again, I can’t say too much more as it would give away the entire plot and I really don’t want to ruin this for anyone. It’s a great read, a beautiful and all too short glimpse into a moment in time, but one which will stay with me for a very long time.

Melinda Hammond never fails to amaze, she is a wonderful author who puts so much passion and real heart into her writing and that is exactly what she’s done here, there is so much emotion threading through the story.

I loved this, I would have liked there to be more of it then there was, but it works and more importantly, it’s a wonderful little read, one which I cannot recommend highly enough, it’s perfect for that spare crucial ‘me time’.

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#Review | The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore #TheGreatcoat #OffTheBookShelfReview

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Hello, Sunshines, I have raided the bookshelf again for another of my; Off the Bookshelf Reviews and I have the pleasure to be sharing my review of the spooky; The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore, I hope you enjoy it!

A terrifyingly atmospheric ghost story by the Orange-prize-winning Helen Dunmore.

In the summer of 1954, newly wed Isabel Carey arrives in a Yorkshire town with her husband Philip. As a GP he spends much of his time working, while Isabel tries hard to adjust to the realities of married life. Life is not easy: she feels out-of-place and constantly judged by the people around her, so she spends much of her time alone.

One cold winter night, Isabel finds an old RAF greatcoat in the back of a cupboard that she uses to help keep warm. Once wrapped in the coat she is beset by dreams. And not long afterwards, while her husband is out, she is startled to hear a knock at her window, and to meet for the first time the intense gaze of a young Air Force pilot, handsome, blond and blue-eyed, staring in at her from outside.

His name is Alec, and his powerfully haunting presence both disturbs and excites Isabel. Her initial alarm soon fades, and they begin a delicious affair. But nothing could have prepared her for the truth about Alec’s life, nor the impact it will have on her own marriage.

I am a big fan of Helen Dunmore’s work ever since I read; The Lie, many years ago and was so very saddened to hear the world had lost her a while ago. That book haunted me from the moment I read it, right to today. So when I saw this in a local charity shop, I knew I had had it, the cover alone compelled me to buy it.

I think this book is proof that you should never judge a book by its cover alone, which is what I did. Yes, it is by Helen Dunmore, but what really grabbed my attention was the cover, and to be honest, the cover may just be my favourite thing about this whole book.

Oh, Gawd! That sounds awful.

The underlining story of this is all about how deeply unhappy Isabel is, the war is over, Isabel and her husband; Phillip has moved from everything she knew to a little Yorkshire village in the middle of no-where. They take up rooms not so far away from the old airbase, one cold night she finds an old RAF greatcoat in their little apartment, using it to keep her warm this is when life takes an unexpected turn. The greatcoat is the start of all what happens to Isabel, she starts having disturbing dreams leaving her unsettled and feeling more thane then ever. Then one day she hears a tapping at the window and right there is a handsome man pilot called Alec who wants to come in, it’s when he crosses the threshold that the whole story takes on an unexpected turn and we are soon plunged into a realm of what’s real and what’s a dream, what’s a memory and what’s a ghostly encounter as Alec and Isabel start their illicit affair where past and present merge together.

I have to be honest and say that this was a bit of a disappointment, it didn’t have the same haunting feel that The Lie had. The start of the story started off on the right foot, it has everything you want from a mind-bending ghost story with a touch of heartbreak and romance. When Isabel first encounters the ghostly man staring into her window it does send chills down the spine, even more so when she ‘meets’ him but then the plot sort of twisted into something else completely.

To say it wasn’t what I was expecting was an understatement!

But, beneath the initial disappointment, I did actually enjoy it, I was completely glued to Isabel’s and Alec’s rather unsettling affair, it’s heartbreaking and tender, yet at the same time, there are darker moments where Isabel thinks she may be going mad. It isn’t a light read, there is a more sombre feel to it, as the reader you really get a feel of what post-war Britain was like, there was still rationing (I believe rationing didn’t stop in England until around 1956) so people were still living on the bread line, there is a very melancholic feel to it too especially with Isabel who I do think shows signs of depression.

It’s hands down not one of Helen’s best, but it’s a sweetly romantic and enjoyable short read.

#OffTheBookshelf #Review Almost Forever: An Emotional Debut Perfect For Fans Of Jojo Moyes by Laura Danks @auradanks #AlmostForever #Romance @HQDigitalUK

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 This is my first ‘Off the Bookshelf’ post, I am so pleased to be able to share with you all my review of Almost Forever by Laura Danks.

Perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, Cecelia Ahern and Jojo Moyes

Can love truly conquer all?

When a vicious attack leaves Paul in a coma on his wedding day, the doctors fear he will never wake up. But his fiancée Fran will never give up hope.

Fran has always known Paul is the only man for her, from the first moment they locked eyes as children to the day he finally told her he loved her. Paul can’t leave her, not now their lives are just about to begin.

Love will always find a way… won’t it?

My goodness me this is an immensely emotional book to read, the writing is incredibly powerful, raw and heart-breaking. What surprises me most is that this is Laura Danks debut. Which really is unbelievable as this is good – no good doesn’t really justify just how stunning this book is. It pulls at the heart-strings and I can guarantee that you will be reaching for the tissues, especially with lines like this; “Why isn’t my love enough?

Francesca and Paul are your dream couple, child heart sweethearts who after all the years together they are still very much in love. On the day of their wedding, the day starts off just like an other for them. They are getting ready to elope to Las Vegas for Fran’s dream wedding, under the moonlight with her beloved Paul beside her. When tragedy strikes, Paul is maliciously and cruelly attacked by a gang of thugs when he tries to save a woman’s life at the corner shop, leaving him in a coma fighting for his life.

The story is told through Fran’s eyes, we see her go from waking up that morning full of excitement knowing she will be marrying her one true love, to having to see her husband-to-be in intensive care facing an unknown future. I absolutely love how the story goes from the present day to glimpses of Fran and Paul throughout the years. Those memories showing how they met, spending holidays together and touching moments between them are beautiful and takes the reader on a poignant journey through Fran and Paul’s past and really showcases just how much they truly love one and other, which makes the outcome of their story all the more heart-breaking.

The writing is spectacular, Ms Danks has a true gift, she has captures Fran’s emotional state of mind with so much raw realism that you feel every tear, every laugh every turmoil that she goes through. I literally read this in one go, I couldn’t put it down. It grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let me go. It’s mesmerising and compelling, the writing is flawless. I cannot recommend this book enough and I will definitely be reading more from Laura Danks, she is an amazing writer and a kind one too as a potion of her royalties for the sale of this book will be donated to the Stroke Association.

Stunningly beautiful.

Almost Forever is available now from Amazon.