Book Review: A Season for Love by Ally Sinclair

We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to be on this blog tour for Ally Sinclair’s novel, A Season for Love. A huge thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite and book arriving in Rosa’s Box of Romance so they could give an honest opinion. Everyone is still recovering from her ear shattering squeal when she read the blurb – Regency dating in our modern world, what more could she ask for?

Scroll down to see if A Season for Love hit her high expectations.

Book Review: A Season for Love by Ally Sinclair

Book cover for  A Season for Love by Ally Sinclair. Dark blue background, white title with tagline Can old-fashioned courtship flourish in today's dating world?
Heavily stylised illustration of a woman with long brown hair next to man in a blue shirt (for some reason they have no facial features except for her lips???)
A Season for Love by Ally Sinclair

Book title: A Season for Love

Author: Ally Sinclair

Publisher: Hera

Genre: Romance

Release date: 12th January 2023

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/3CZyknz

Apple: https://apple.co/3Txu7ys

Hive: https://bit.ly/3z9y8Ry

Blurb

Can old-fashioned courtship survive in today’s dating world?

When Emma Love’s mother retires, it is time for her to take the reins of the family dating agency and build on its success. And she has a fresh new idea: to host a Jane Austen-style Regency Season of glamourous events where potential lovers can actually take the time to get to know each other in person, with no apps in between.

Emma has no intention of becoming romantically involved herself, of course; she is a matchmaker on the hunt for the perfect partner for ladies like Annie (who thought she had missed her chance at love a long time ago), Jane (recently divorced and nervously stepping into her new life) and wild child Lydia (more interested in hooking up than finding Mr Darcy).

As the Season unfolds, there is only one fly in Emma’s ointment – the irritating Mr Knight, with his casual attitude and gentle cynicism. Why is she allowing him to ruffle her calm, ordered life and why can’t she stop thinking about him? She is far too sensible to take a chance on love – isn’t she?

Jane Austen meets Sophie Kinsella in this laugh-out-loud, captivating romantic comedy.

Thoughts from the Emporium

During those lockdown years, Bridgerton mania swept through the Emporium encouraged by the over excited Rosa, high on romance, the sexy Duke and the promise of a HEA with dancing and jewels. Willow watched it under duress but was sucked into its escapism and the allure of the Duke while Amber refused to admit she’d even watched it, never mind twice, and even then she was only watching for the costumes and creative inspiration for her art. This brings us to the reaction of the Emporium surrounding A Season for Love.

It was a hit and met the high expectations Rosa set. Matchmaker Emma drew them in with her Regency styled scheme for people to find love, after all everyone secretly longed to attend a ball with its glamour and then the other characters carried the plot with its surprises, warmth and underlying chemistry.

With multiple protagonists there was at least one each the staff could relate to whether it was because of their view on love or backstory. Each character was fully formed and realistic, giving the reader a snapshot into their often complex lives and making them root for their happy ever after ending.

Like the characters, each potential love match and chemistry between suiters was different from Annie with her lost childhood love to wild and fiercely independent Lydia and her hot barman. All share the realistic emotions, sensitivity to issues the characters face and sexual chemistry despite it being close door.  

The events Emma organised to promote love were inspired and only wish they were real and could come to Yorkshire.

A Season for Love is a warm romantic novel about connections, friendship and love blended with Regency ethics and humour. And like the Netflix Regency series, has left the Emporium eager to read the next one.* It will be a well-loved book in Rosa’s Box of Romance and on Rosa’s own physical forever shelf.

*Even Amber who only tends to enjoy romances if they’re dripping with vampiric chemistry or spellbound with magic or spookiness and horror.

Author Biography

Photo of Ally Sinclair. A white woman very smiley with brown shoulder length hair, wearing a black and white striped shirt
Ally Sinclair

Ally grew up on the North Yorkshire coast and now lives with her husband in Worcestershire, at least until she can persuade him to give into her yearning to live somewhere nearer the sea. No kids, no pets. She sometimes manages to keep a pot plant alive. Briefly. She has been writing professionally since 2013, and is also published as Alison May and, in collaboration, as Juliet Bell. Ally is a former Chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and currently works as an associate lecturer for the Open University.

Social Media Links –

@MsAllySinclair – https://twitter.com/MsAllySinclair

@MsAlisonMay – https://twitter.com/MsAlisonMay

https://www.facebook.com/allysinclairauthor/

https://www.facebook.com/AlisonMayAuthor

Instagram @MsAllySinclair and @MsAlisonMay

TikTok https://www.tiktok.com/@msallysinclair

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCihOmLXaNIqXKqdnekC4wJQ

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Book Review: There’s No Place Like Home by Jane Lovering

After chatting to Jane Lovering on Monday over a large mug of Yorkshire tea during our Monday Merry Meet, we’re excited to share our review of her new book, There’s No Place Like Home. Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for the blog tour invite and providing a copy to read.

Book Review: There’s No Place Like Home by Jane Lovering

There’s No Place Like Home by Jane Lovering

Title: There’s No Place Like Home

Author: Jane Lovering

Publisher: Boldwood books

Genre: Woman’s fiction, romance

Release date: 10th January 2023

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3FsnZU2 

Blurb:

Isabel, Izzy to her friends, has got nothing left to lose when she makes the bravest decision of her life.

A month living under canvas on the Yorkshire Moors with five strangers wouldn’t normally be her idea of a good time, even if there is prize money to be won at the end of it, but she’s all out of options.

Joining her in this wild goose chase, being filmed for a TV show, are farmer Seb, whose marriage is creaking but who is desperate not to lose his family. Sheltered Ruth who needs an opportunity to show she can make her own decisions. Glamorous socialite Kanga, who has been living a lie. American Junior who has his own secret that has led him there. And last but not least, mysterious and brooding Mac, who Izzy can’t help but be drawn to.

As the fickleness of nature tests them all to their limits, this disparate group come together to face the challenge. But when Izzy finally tells them the truth that has brought her out on the Moors, will that be the end of their adventure, or the beginning of her future? Because what Izzy really needs is a place to call home, and someone to share it with could be even better…

Thoughts from the Emporium

Last year The Forgotten House on the Moor appeared on the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf and we all loved it so when There’s No Place Like Home arrived in Rosa’s Box of Romance, Willow and her had to flip a coin to see who would read it first. Rosa won. With high expectations, this novel didn’t disappoint.

Within pages, both were hooked into Izzy’s life and the stark realities of camping in the Yorkshire moors in horrid weather, with strangers tracking down a potential mythical creature for a TV prize. Jane Lovering has a talent for world building and providing a strong sense of place. With knowledge of the locality, Rosa and Willow can both say it is an accurate depiction of the moors and its atmosphere. Even snuggled under the duvet, Rosa found herself shivering when Izzy and company are faced with bad weather thanks to the immersive writing.

Six strangers living in close quarters with sporadic appearances of the camera crew and film staff provided a memorable cast for this original novel, plenty of drama and clashes of personalities. They all have a backstory and reasons for joining the show, including Izzy. As a protagonist, she had depth and everyone connected to her and wanted her to have a happy ever after she sought after. Sprinkled with humour, deeper themes are blended in this uplifting novel with care and realism. Despite the weather and camping trials, romance blooms and the slow burn chemistry between Izzy and Seb is just right for their story.

This unique novel was an ideal read to start the year and a welcome addition to Rosa’s Box of Romance where the love will be shared with visitors to the Emporium. It will be a hit. After chatting to Jane on Monday, everyone is already looking forward to her next one and if you read her chat you’ll understand why.

Author Biography

Photo of Jane Lovering.  White woman with red dotty bandana cuddling a black and white Patterdale Terrier in a autumn background
Jane Lovering

Jane Lovering is the bestselling and award-winning romantic comedy writer who won the RNA Novel of the Year Award in 2012 with Please Don’t Stop the Music. She lives in Yorkshire and has a cat and a bonkers terrier, as well as five children who have now left home.

Social Media Links   

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Jane-Lovering-Author-106404969412833

Twitter https://twitter.com/janelovering

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/JaneLoveringNews

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jane-lovering

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Guest Post: Dialogue Tags and Other Irritations by Colin Garrow

As many of you know we love chatting to authors at the Emporium. Today we are delighted to pass our blog over to Colin Garrow to discuss dialogue tags and other irritations in writing. His latest book is The Watson Letters Volume 6: The Haunting of Roderick Usher which the enchanted bookshelf is looking forward to adding to its collection. Once you’ve read the blurb below you’ll understand why.

2 silhouette heads facing each other with books in the background
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Guest Post – Dialogue Tags and Other Irritations

I’m sure most writers work hard at their craft, constantly finding ways to improve their writing, to make their work better, more appealing, and more fun to read. From my very first novel – a children’s adventure titled The Devil’s Porridge Gang – I did my best to make the novel like one I would enjoy reading myself. To that end, I spent a lot of time reading the text aloud, trying to weed out those words and phrases that sounded odd, clunky or just didn’t sit right. Even so, there are still phrases in that book I’m not entirely happy with and will no doubt be expunged the next time I get around to re-reading it. And what is it I object to most? Dialogue Tags. This exchange, between Sam and Uncle Norman, for instance:

‘No,’ Sam shook his head sadly. ‘Dad said it was too late for us to be up.’

‘Aw, that’s a shame – it was great!’ enthused Norman.

If I were writing this now, I wouldn’t use the words sadly and enthused, as there are much better ways to show how characters say things. And of course, I’d take out the exclamation mark.

While this illustrates what I mean, it’s pretty tame compared to examples I’ve seen by other writers. Patricia Cornwell is one of my favourite authors. She’s a brilliant storyteller, but her dialogue tags are sometimes unwieldy. Here’s some examples from book 2 in the Scarpetta series, ‘Body of Evidence’:

‘Not exactly,’ I replied uncomfortably.

‘What is this about?’ I asked firmly.

‘Next’, Marino said like a drill sergeant.

To be fair, she also writes dialogue with the good old he said/she said, and some exchanges, when only two people are talking, without dialogue tags.

Crime writer Mark Billingham only uses dialogue tags to make it clear who is speaking. In Sleepyhead, the first in his Tom Thorne series, his characters hold lots of conversations where there isn’t a dialogue tag in sight, not even a he said or a she said. So long as we know who is speaking, they’re not necessary.

Ernest Hemingway, supposedly a stickler for cutting down his writing to the bare essentials, on some occasions littered his books with dialogue tags. At other times, however, he left them out. In this exchange, the first bit of dialogue in chapter one of For Whom the Bell Tolls, we have:

‘Is that the mill?’ he asked.

‘Yes.’

‘I do not remember it.’

At this stage we don’t even know who is talking, but the conversation is interesting enough to keep us reading.

Novels from the 1930s and 1940s are often crammed with clunky dialogue tags. Here’s an example from Agatha Christie’s Murder at the Vicarage, first published in 1930:

‘Griselda,’ I said sharply. ‘I will not have you speaking in that way.’

‘Darling,’ said my wife affectionately. ‘Tell me about him…’

The words sharply and affectionately, are unnecessary. If the author showed us how the characters behaved rather than telling us, the dialogue would be more interesting. It’s also likely that readers were not as demanding in those days as they are now, and to be fair, some readers aren’t demanding at all. The success of celebrity publications by people who haven’t a creative bone in their bodies, proves this beyond doubt. (I won’t list the titles – you know who they are.)

I’m certain there are some books that, if you removed all the dialogue tags, the word count would shrink by several thousand. Which might suggest the author is simply padding out the narrative. I’ve also heard it said that by using single quotation marks instead of double ones (as a lot of American authors do) that books can be shortened by several dozen pages.

But that’s another story.

The Watson Letters Volume 6: The Haunting of Roderick Usher book cover by Colin Garrow. Blue cover with half a man showing in a suit, waistcoat and cravat. Standing in front of a graveyard
The Watson Letters Volume 6: The Haunting of Roderick Usher by Colin Garrow

Title: The Watson Letters Volume 6: The Haunting of Roderick Usher

Author: Colin Garrow

Release date: 28th February 2022

Purchase Link – https://geni.us/dymvutk

Blurb

An invitation. A ghostly spectre. A criminal mastermind.

When Sherlock Holmes is invited to visit an old school friend, he and Doctor Watson are plunged into the first of three adventures involving the Dark Arts and the supernatural. From the ghostly spectre of a dead sister to the search for an ancient book of spells, the detecting duo learn that each case is connected, leading them into a final showdown with their deadliest adversary yet.

Adult humour throughout.

Author Biography

Black and white photo of Colin Garrow. White middle aged man with glasses

True-born Geordie Colin Garrow grew up in a former mining town in Northumberland and has worked in a plethora of professions including taxi driver, antiques dealer, drama facilitator, theatre director and fish processor. He has also occasionally masqueraded as a pirate. Colin’s published books include the Watson Letters series, the Terry Bell Mysteries and the Rosie Robson Murder Mysteries. His short stories have appeared in several literary mags, including: SN Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Grind, A3 Review, Inkapture and Scribble Magazine. These days he lives in a humble cottage in Northeast Scotland.

Social Media Links

Website (Adults) https://colingarrow.org/

Website (Children) https://colingarrowbooks.com/

The Watson Letters https://thewatsonletters.com/

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B014Z5DZD4

Twitter https://twitter.com/colingarrow

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/colingarrow

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/colingarrowthewriter

Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/colin-garrow

Cover Reveal: One Night With Her Viking Warrior by Sarah Rodi

It’s December and the emporium is getting dressed in all its finery to celebrate Yule. Rosa was excited to be invited to a cover reveal for a potential candidate for her Box of Romance when it’s released, One Night With Her Viking Warrior by Sarah Rodi.

Are you ready to find out more? Scroll down to see.

Cover Reveal: One Night With Her Viking Warrior by Sarah Rodi

Blurb:

Her forbidden love is back to claim her!

Once Lady Rebekah shared a life changing night with stable hand Raeden but he disappeared the morning after. Now she’s consort to a cruel Saxon Lord, and when Northmen lay siege to Ryestone Keep, Rebekah’s shocked to see Raeden leading the charge! This Viking warrior is not the man she remembers, yet she finds herself drawn to him again. Taken as his hostage, Rebekah must decide: can she trust him with her life…and her dangerous secret?

Cover for One Night With Her Viking Warrior by Sarah Rodi. A viking man with long brown hair scraped back is in an embrace with red haired woman.
One Night with her Viking Warrior by Sarah Rodi

If that has intrigued you and you want to read more the purchase links are here:

https://www.millsandboon.co.uk/products/hqnsingle-07248001

https://www.harlequin.com/search.html?w=sarah+rodi

Or pre-order from Amazon, out 22nd December

https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Night-Her-Viking-Warrior/dp/0263302083

https://www.amazon.com/Night-Viking-Warrior-Mills-Historical-ebook/dp/B0B1Z8C1HP/

Author Biography

Photo of Sarah Rodi. White woman smiling. Long mid brown hair loose.
Sarah Rodi

Sarah Rodi has always been a hopeless romantic. She grew up watching old, romantic movies recommended by her grandad, or devouring love stories from the local library. Sarah lives in the village of Cookham in Berkshire, where she enjoys walking along the River Thames with her husband, her two daughters and their dog. She has been a magazine journalist for over 20 years, but it has been her lifelong dream to write romance for Mills & Boon. Sarah believes everyone deserves to find their happy ever after.

You can contact her via @sarahrodiedits or sarahrodiedits@gmail.com.

Social Media Links

Website www.sarahrodi.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/sarahrodiedits

Book Review: The Gifts by Liz Hyder

Another beautiful book has landed on the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources. With a captivating blurb, the witches are looking forward to reading, The Gifts by Liz Hyder, and give their honest and unbiased opinion.

Scroll down to see if The Gifts succeeds in reaching the dazzling heights the cover suggests.

Book Review: The Gifts by Liz Hyder

Book cover for The Gifts by Liz Hyder
Beautiful cover with a map of London in deep blue in the background and a gold silhouette of a lady in Edwardian dress catching a feather.  There is also a gold frame.
The Gifts by Liz Hyder

Title: The Gifts

Author: Liz Hyder

Publisher: Zaffre

Genre: Historical fantasy fiction

Release Date: 10th February 2022

Purchase Linkhttps://loom.ly/HMM25ks

Blurb

A young woman staggers through the woods. Something is happening deep inside and as she’s thrown to her knees in agony, the world around her stops. When she comes to, she is astonished at the sight of her shadow – it has wings.


Meanwhile when rumours of ‘fallen angels’ cause a frenzy across London, a surgeon desperate for fame and fortune will find himself in the grip of a dangerous obsession, and the women he seeks in the most terrible danger . . .


THE GIFTS is the astonishing debut adult novel from the lauded author of BEARMOUTH. A gripping and ambitious book told through several female voices and set against the luminous backdrop of nineteenth century London, it explores science, nature and religion, enlightenment, the knife-edge roles of women in society and the dark danger of ambition.

Thoughts from the Emporium

Wow! What a beautifully written, evocative and original novel. It had both Willow and Amber on tenterhooks throughout as the women stumbled into danger and the tension increased. It was a book hangover in the making.

The detailed description of the locations provided the ideal backdrop for this deliciously dark tale and it enhanced the women’s predicament in a time when the unusual were seen as a commodity and something to be exploited, and women were expendable. The women came from different backgrounds but they all shared an admirable strength and depth making them relatable.

Neither witch could put this book down, resulting in no sleep. Despite bleary eyes on their shift, the novel triggered much discussion in the store, ranging from their views on the characters, to the role of society and power. This makes it an ideal read for book clubs.

Each witch required a copy of their own for their forever shelves, knowing they will both revisit it again and again.

Author Biography

Photo of Liz Hyder. White woman in a blue top, glasses and short curly hair. She's smiling
Liz Hyder

Liz Hyder has been making up stories for as long she can remember. She has a BA
in drama from the University of Bristol and, in early 2018, won the Bridge Award/Moniack Mhor Emerging Writer Award. Bearmouth, her debut young adult novel, won a Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Branford Boase Award and was chosen as the Children’s Book of the Year by The
Times
. Originally from London, she now lives in South Shropshire. The Gifts is her debut adult novel.

Social Media Links  

Twitter: @LondonBessie (https://twitter.com/LondonBessie )

Website: https://www.lizhyder.co.uk/

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