Book Reviews

#BlogTour | The Ice Cream Parlour by @IsabellaMayBks #Review #TheIceCreamParlour @rararesources

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Hello everyone, I have the great pleasure to be today’s stop on this great blog tour and am very excited to be sharing my review of the delicious; The Ice Cream Parlour by Isabella May, do take a seat grab yourself a snow cone and enjoy.

The Ice Cream Parlour

Giovanna Tonioli is a successful stockbroker with a famous sports star boyfriend, but things aren’t as sweet as they seem. When life in the city of Bath goes from Vanilla to Rocky Road, she takes herself off to Italy for an ‘Eat Pray Love’ style tour of all things gelateria. What she doesn’t expect to find on her travels is one smooth, hot dollop of temptation that she just can’t shake.

How will her spiteful twin sister react when Giovanna returns to open a rival ice cream parlour? Will Natalia get her just desserts? Or will things become even stickier? All’s fair in love, war and ice cream. Isn’t it?

*Marian Keyes meets Paulo Coelho meets Nigella*

The Ice Cream Parlour is a mouthwatering tale of fate, family, love and jealousy – with a delectable drizzle of alchemy besides.

Purchase Here

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About the Author

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic.

Cake, cocktail, gelato, and travel obsessed, she also loves nothing more than to (quietly) break life’s ‘rules’.

Website / Facebook / Twitter @IsabellaMayBks / Instagram @isabella_may_author

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My goodness this is delicious….honestly, I will probably say that I lot through out this review, but there isn’t another term I can think of another word do describe it. I have to be honest that this is the first book I have read by Isabella May, it definitely will not be the last, this book is gorgeous as well as so delicious. It is a feast for the taste buds, especially if you are like me and have a ridiculously sweet tooth.

This is essentially a story about a young woman who sets out to find herself, I love the ‘Eat Pray Love’ vibe that it has, and along the way she not only discovers some delicious Ice Creams and makes some great friends her life becomes clear. Giovanna who after finding out that her boyfriend of ten years has cheated on her in the worse way possible, instead of doing what we all would do and hide under the duvet with the tub of Ben and Jerry’s and a whole host of Jaffa cakes while watching re-runs of soppy films, Giovanna sets off on a trip to Italy.

I felt the first part as great as it was, lacked the sparkle that the part where Giovanna was in Italy had, that part of the book was beautifully engaging, it is was shiny and new, like a new penny. The time that Giovanna is touring Italy is a piece of brilliant writing, I loved the descriptions in each scene, it made the story play out like a movie in my mind, you could see the vivid colours, the scents and most of all the tastes. I am a very visual person and I do find that a more visualised and descriptive scene really pulls me into the story and the characters far more and Ms. May has written a mesmerizing story that will be loved by many readers.

I really, really like this book, it has a warmth and wit about it that steals the readers heart….not to mention their taste buds. The writing is fluid, it flows with ease and confidence that captures the readers attention from the off. You genuinely care about and cheer the character’s on, I got a real sense that Ms. May has put her whole heart into this story, there is a real passion and emotion in the story, the characters and the journey they go on, it’s real and engaging.

Overall this is a great story, fabulous writing, characters that you can both love and hate, a definite winner in my eyes.

This was an Arc copy in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you Isabella and Rachel.

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#Review : Suffragette Planners And Plotter; The Pankhurts/Pethick- Lawrence Story by Kathryn Atherton #SuffragettePlannersandPlotters #NonFiction @penswordbooks

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Hello everyone! I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of this enlightening book; Suffragette Planners and Plotters, The Pankurst/Pethick-Lawrence Story by Kathryn Atherton.

By Kathryn Atherton
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 152
ISBN: 9781526722966
Published: 28th January 2019

Emmeline and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence were an extraordinary couple and theirs is an extraordinary political and personal story. Emmeline was treasurer of Mrs Pankhurst s militant Women s Social and Political Union. Fred was the only man to achieve leadership status in the organisation. Without their wealth, determination and skills we might never have heard of the suffragettes . Emmeline was always at Mrs Pankhurst s side whilst Fred was the Godfather who stood bail for a thousand women. Both were imprisoned and force-fed. They provided the militant movement with its colours, its home, and much of its vision, and it was their associates who initiated the hunger strike and who brought force-feeding to national attention.

But in 1912 the couple were dramatically ousted from the organisation by the Pankhursts in a move that has often been misrepresented. This book is a portrait of the couple and their relationship with the Pankhursts, and of their inspirational fight, not just for the vote for women, but for freedom and equality across the world. The Pethick-Lawrences were once as well known as the Pankhursts. But they have been neglected by history. This is the first book to give the Pethick-Lawrences the recognition that their part in the fight for the vote deserves, shedding new light on the development of the militant campaign.

It is also the first to address in detail the complexities of the dramatic split with the Pankhursts which has been misunderstood for a hundred years.

I am and always have been hugely fascinated by the Suffragettes and the Suffrage Movement, and I am slowly devouring as many books about that time that I can. I have find that as fascinating some can be, they can be long-winded with over enthused long chapters that even for someone who loves history, can be tiresome to read. I happy to say that this will not put you to sleep, it is a fascinated and enlightening book which really grasped my attention.

This book tells the remarkable story of Emmeline and Frederick Pethic-Lawrence, who were undoubtable a vital part in Suffrage cause, but i believe were a little over shadowed by the mighty and hugely renown Pankurst sisters, yet if it wasn’t for Emmeline and Fred the suffrage movement may not have gone the way it did, as this couple were hugely instrumental for the cause. I will admit that even though i had heard about the Pethick-Lawrence’s, I didn’t know the full extent of their involvement in the fight for equality. As the authors states in this, they seemed to disappear in history behind the more militant and well known fighters.

Emmeline begin to work as Mrs Pankhurst secretary in the WSPU, like the other members Emmeline was a hands on militant member, but unlike a lot of the other members her and Fred were very wealthy. Fred was known as the ‘Godfather’ in the WSPU as he was the man who dug deep in his pockets to bail out the suffragette’s when they were imprisoned, he must have really earned the women’s respect as he was the only man to be given a leadership role in the organisation, which to me shouts just how much power and influence these two had.

As fascinating as they were as a couple, for me it was Fred that really stood out for me, he seemed like a remarkable man. Not only did he actively support his wife, he stood by her, Fred was also an active supporter of the cause himself, he was passionate about equality for everyone, not only for women but he wanted equality for everyone no matter your sex, place in society or race, and I whole heartedly applaud him for that. From reading this he comes across as so passionate and always willing to help the cause and his wife when he could.

This is a fascinating book that goes into great detail about two equally fascinating people who don’t have the recognition for their work and their achievements in the suffrage fight as other individuals do. It is an engaging and very informative book that is brilliantly researched, there is not doubt that the author is deeply passionate about the history, her writing it vivid, it has a real warmth and realism to it that conveys not only the facts, but the authors opinion in a way that engages the reader.

A great book for anyone who is interested in Suffragette history.

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you Rosie. x

Suffragette Planners and Plotters is available from Amazon and Pen and Sword.

#Review | The Lengthening War: The Great War Diary of Mabel Goode by Michael Goode #TheLengtheningWar #GreatWarDiary #MabelGoode @penswordbooks

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Hello, thank you for stopping by! Today, I have the great pleasure to be sharing my review of this gorgeous and insightful book; The Lengthening War; The Great war Diary of Mabel Goode by Michael Goode.

Edited by Michael Goode
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 196
ISBN: 9781473851511

This is a strong narrative of the war, easy to read, mixing news with personal feelings and events (often revealing gap between official news and reality). The diary captures the authors’ growing disillusionment with the war, as it gradually encroaches on her life. The diary starts with great excitement, realizing its importance but expecting a short struggle, blaming treachery and incompetence initially but gets increasingly disheartened and eventually stops in 1916. Entries show growth of total war (seeing ominous Zeppelin’s directly overhead, shelling etc.), experiences of her two brothers in service (their privations and her ‘white-feather’ feelings), personal sacrifice and patriotism, reactions to casualty lists, women entering work (she does various war work), steady collapse of domestic service (Downton angle), reflections on recognizable events such as Lusitania and on the competence of the government.

Also included several poems written by Mabel and a love story in the appendix, giving a complete insight into the diarists life. NB. Mabel and her brothers lived in Germany for some time, meaning they could all speak German and knew ‘the enemy nation’ as many Britons did not.

As soon as I saw this book, I knew I had to read it, it shouted out to me to be read and I am so pleased that I did. I am a bit obsessed with this era, so you can imagine how excited I was when I saw this book, it is not only absolutely gorgeous to look at – it looks so pretty on my bookshelf, not that is not the only reason I chose to review this book, even though that is a bonus.

This is the private diary of a young woman; Mabel Goode, who thought to write down all her thoughts and feelings during the first few years of the great war. With a mixture of Mabel’s own personal views on key events, she gives the reader a vivid and passionate account of what she was experiencing during those harrowing years. The diary starts full of excitement and optimism In 1914, from this part you get a genuine and honest insight into the minds of the ordinary people, what they thought of what was going on, at first it is full of so much optimism that the war would be over by Christmas 1914, a view that was shared by many around the country. She tells of what she is hearing and what is going on at the front, her entry about the soldiers being gassed is harrowing.

For whatever reason her diary stops in 1916, whether this is because she is finding the whole war a strain or whether it was do to with something more personal, we may never know. But what we can take from this is a real sense of the time, for a brief moment we are transported into Mabel’s world of uncertainty, of growing frustration, of her family and of love.

This gives a real insight into her life, of the struggles and chaos which was going on around her, to the simple hope of love. I was completely lost in her words, she was a passionate diarist, there is a lot of emotion on the pages and the reader picks up on those feeling too as you read; from love, confusion, anger, sadness, she lays herself bare and for that we should be eternally thankful as without the likes of Mabel who felt compelled to write about what was going on, we wouldn’t see just how the war effected the ordinary folk.

This book is definitely one that everyone who has any kind of interest in WW1 should read it, it is emotional and real, there is a clarity and vividness that you don’t get from other works. I love how this is laid out too, it’s start with the fact of what Mabel mentioned, followed by her diary. The entire book is thoroughly engrossing, it is an easy book to read, it’s not taxing or overly complicated there is a very warm and loving feeling to it, while reading the diary part of the book it is so clear it is like Mabel is actually standing here telling you her story.

A fabulous addition to the bookshelf and one that I will be pulling off again to read.

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review, Thank you Rosie. X

The Lengthening War can be purchased from Amazon and Pen and Sword.

#BlogTour : Listen To The Wind (The Orphans of Tolosa #1) by @Susanne_Dunlop #Review & #GuestPost #ListenToTheWind #TheOrphansOfTolosa @HFVTB

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Hello everyone! I have the great pleasure to be todays stop on this wonderful blog tour for; Listen To The Wind by Susanne Dunlap. Let me tell you that I have a mammoth post for you all today; Not only will I be sharing my review of this splendid book, I also have an exclusive guest post by Susanne for you all – and it is an amazing post and there is a chance to win a cop of Listen To The Wind. So without further ado, sit back and enjoy.

Listen to the Wind by Susanne Dunlap

Publication Date: April 22, 2019
Publisher: Bellastoria Press
Format: eBook & Paperback; 388 Pages

Series: The Orphans of Tolosa, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction/Medieval

 

 

Sent away from their families for their own protection when they were very young, Azemar and Azalaïs become separated when they are forced to flee from the band of outlaws who served as their supposed protectors. Armed only with scraps of memories and the wits and intelligence that have helped them survive brutal conditions, they struggle to find each other again and discover the mysterious past that links them across distance and time. Who are they? And do they hold the secret of the legendary Cathar treasure? All they know is that knights and monks spell danger, and they must find a way to survive at all costs if they are to fulfill their destiny—and preserve their vanishing culture.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Kobo

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Guest Post by Susanne Dunlap

One of the best things about being a historical novelist is having the opportunity to delve deeply into a period and imagine the world as it was at that time. Perhaps that’s why, in order to put in the months (or years) of researching and writing a historical novel I have to become completely passionate about my subject and my characters—real or invented.

Most of my novels have taken place in the modern world, from the 17th-20th centuries. But something about the world of thirteenth-century Languedoc caught me and simply wouldn’t let me go.

It all started in grad school. I was studying music history at Yale University, working toward a PhD, and loving every minute of the research and writing. When in the medieval seminar I found out about the women troubadours (trobairitz) of Languedoc in the 12th and 13th centuries, I was utterly intrigued. Apparently all 20 of the trobairitz historians know of came from one small region of what is now southern France, but was then its own patchwork of political entities and its own culture. They didn’t even speak French, but spoke what is now referred to as Old Occitan, and was then sometimes referred to as Lemozin.

The troubadours and trobairitz wrote courtly poetry in very complex metrical forms. The subjects were love, of course, but in the case of the trobairitz, the love was decidedly earthly. They spoke of disappointments, of unrequited love, of friendship, and passion—where the men tended to go in a more esoteric direction, making the object of their love poetry the idea of a lady rather than an actual living, breathing, woman.

So, I thought, these women who weren’t afraid to be honest must have been strong, intelligent, educated, and imaginative. What’s not to like?

Very little is known about the real lives of the trobairitz, so I found myself creating characters and a story that integrated the poetry and music, and captured the volatility of the period. Because trobairitz came from the educated upper classes, Jordane de la Moux d’Aniort, daughter of a baron, is the trobairitiz in Listen to the Wind.

The Orphans of Tolosa trilogy (of which Listen to the Wind is book one) takes place as the culture of the region is being crushed by the inquisition, which not only sought to eradicate the Cathar heretics, but to impose the legal systems of northern France and subsume the region into the territories ruled by the King of France.

Although the region is now fully part of France, a modern version of the language is still spoken, and the descendants of those fiercely independent people cling to their cultural heritage. In recognition of this heritage, what used to be known as Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrenees is (as of 2016) now referred to as Occitanie, and if you visit there, you’ll see many street signs in both French and Occitan.

It is my hope that readers will not only be drawn into the adventures of the characters in Listen to the Wind, but also appreciate the culture that inspired the story.

More historical tidbits and a glossary of Old Occitan terms featured in the book is at https://orphansoftolosa.com.

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Well, what can I say about this book? Thrilling, engaging, illuminating and brilliantly entwined with history and a wonderfully complex story. It takes you on a real adventure through 13th Centaury France, the colourful writing makes every scene so beautifully detailed and vivid you can see it playout like a film in your mind.

I haven’t read any of Susanne Dunlap’s work before, but after reading this – or should that be; devoured – I will definitely be reading more, her writing is so imaginative and atmospheric that you become completely lost in the story and before you know it you have whiled away a full afternoon.

The story opens with siblings; Azalais and Azemar who are living in a orphanage in Tolosa, they live a happy simple life roaming around the woods and surrounding area, making up games with the other orphans abuts knights in shining armour and damsels in distress. Everything in their life is good, that is until a illness spreads throughout the area and the people who were supposed to be protecting them soon turn on them and the other orphans, thinking it them that has caused all this illness and death. The children flee for their lives and in the melee Azalais and Azemar become separated, promising to meet up.

But, all doesn’t go to plan and what should have been a simple meet each other again in the next town turns into years of uncertainty and adventure for our two youngsters. What at first appears to be a very simple story of these two young people trying to forge their way through such hardships and attempting to find one and other again, you soon realise that this is far more then that. There is a ethereal and magical quality to the story, that is both surprising and addictive reading. We soon see that there is more to these two then meets the eyes, they have secrets buried within them that even they don’t know and even though once they have separated and when they try to find their feet they are more intricately entwined to one and other then originally thought.

So when they meet again years later, which is an amazing and gorgeous scene their shared past and destined future soon becomes clear.

This is an intriguing and complex story with lots of secrets and lies interwoven within the characters personal stories, it is charming, exciting and mesmerising. Ms Dunlap’s writing is wonderfully immersive and brilliantly atmospheric, there is a real starlight quality to this book which will grab any readers attention.

Definitely a must read, I cannot wait to see what comes next in this series.

This was a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you Susanne and Amy.

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About the Author

Susanne Dunlap is the author of six works of historical fiction. Two are for adults (Emilie’s Voice and Liszt’s Kiss, both published by Touchstone books of Simon & Schuster). Four are for young adults (The Musician’s Daughter, Anastasia’s Secret, In the Shadow of the Lamp, and The Academie, published by Bloomsbury). A graduate of Smith College with a PhD in Music History from Yale University, Susanne grew up in Buffalo, New York and has lived in London, Brooklyn and Northampton, MA. She now lives in Northampton with her long-time partner, Charles, has two grown daughters, three granddaughters, a grandson, a stepson and a stepdaughter, four step-grandsons and one step-granddaughter—that’s a total of four children and nine grandchildren!

In her spare time she cycles in the beautiful Pioneer Valley.

For more information, please visit The Orphans of Tolosa website. You can follow author Susanne Dunlap on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, and BookBub.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Make sure you go back through the blog tour and check out all the blogs which have participated.

Monday, May 13
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Tuesday, May 14
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, May 15
Interview at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 16
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, May 17
Review at Bookish Sarah
Review at Comet Readings
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, May 20
Review & Guest Post at Clarissa Reads it All
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, May 21
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, May 22
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, May 23
Interview at Donna’s Book Blog

Friday, May 24
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, May 27
Review at Macsbooks
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, May 28
Review at Coffee and Ink
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review & Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away one copy of Listen to the Wind by Susanne Dunlap! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – Listen to the Wind

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

#Review : Severed Knot by @CryssaBazos #SeveredKnot #HistoricFiction #HistoricalRomance

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Hello my lovely readers! I have the massive pleasure to be sharing my review of this amazing book, my goodness this is good! I know that I have babbled a fair amount through this review, but when you come across such stunning quality like we have here, then it is very hard not to rabbit on a bit, apologies in advance.

Barbados 1652. In the aftermath of the English Civil War, the vanquished are uprooted and scattered to the ends of the earth.

When marauding English soldiers descend on Mairead O’Coneill’s family far, she is sold into slavery. After surviving a harrowing voyage, the young Irish woman is auctioned off to a Barbados sugar plantation where she is thrust into a hostile world or depravation and heartbreak. Though stripped of her freedom, Mairead refuses to surrender her dignity.

Scottish prisoner of war Iain Johnstone has descended into hell. Under a blazing sun thousands of miles from home, he endures forced labour in the unforgiving cane fields. As Iain plots his escape to save his men, his loyalties are tested by his yearning for Mairead and his desire to protect her.

With their future stolen, Mairead and Iain discover passion and freedom in each others arms. Until one fateful night, a dramatic chain of events turns them into fugitives.

Together they must fight to survive; together they are determined to escape. 

My goodness this is good! Honestly, this is way beyond the meagre word of ‘good’ there is a shining star-like quality about this book and I can’t seem to find the appropriate words to describe what I want to say. I feel like after reading this my whole perception of what a historical should be like has changed, Cryssa you may have ruined me for other authors now.

I was completely blown away by just how incredibly hard-hitting and powerful this book is, its thrilling, heart-breaking, emotional, original, cleverly written, there is a sadness that pulls you in and then amongst the heartache there is a real wit and natural humour, plus a soul melting romance; Mairaid and Iain will undo you with their tantalizing love. This is how a historical should be written; meticulously researched history, gripping plot, beautifully crafted characters, gorgeous scenery. Ms Bazos is a master at dynamic and realistic historical which take the reader on a gorgeous journey to the end.

Cryssa Bazos, I bow down to your excellence, this is stunning!

Set in 1652, just after the English Civil War; Scotsman Iain Johnstone and his band of soldiers have been captured by the English first kept on as POW then sold into slavery and transported to Barbados, where he, his brother in law; Glencross and their comrades find themselves owned by a sugar cane plantation owner. Forced to work in the fields, doing back breaking work in the burning heat, practically starved and beaten they have found themselves in the inner circle of hell.

With the English invading her precious Ireland, Mairead O’Conneill is sent to live with her aunt, uncle and cousins in the country to try and protect her from the English. Unfortunately, the English arrive at the house and take her and her cousins; Bronagh and Ciara prisoners, which sees them sold into slavery and sent to Barbados – on the same ship as Iain, which is where our couple first meet. Mairead is heartbroken not just to be stolen away from her home, branded like a work horse and sold she is separated from her cousins and finds herself amongst strangers who most hate her. She made a promise to her cousins that one day they, all three of them will be reunited and find their way back home.

My heart goes to all of them, they are stolen away and treated like cattle, it is heart-breaking to witness such brutality toward them. Iain is a proud man and the mere thought of being ‘owned’ and being slave does make him feel like he has failed not just him but his men. He vows that whatever it takes he will find his way back to Scotland, that he will not die as a slave he will escape. I love Iain, no matter what he is faced with he sticks to his guns, he shoulders a lot of responsibility, but he is loyal, Protective and caring for his men. He does come across as a growling, brooding, monosyllabic bear at times but that is just to cover the raging emotions below the surface.

Mairead is so strong, she is patriotic, loyal, feisty and defiant. She faces everything with a brave and stubborn tilt of her chin and gets on with whatever is thrown at her. Like Iain she has faith that she will see home again, she won’t be defeated and she won’t be used like the other girls have been.

They are a brilliant couple, they have to face so much together but yet they feed of one and other, they see kindred spirits in each other. Those little moment when they are able to just be themselves and don’t have to worry about what is going on around them, is so beautiful. You will be cheering these two on the moment you meet them, if ever there were a couple who deserved a happy ever after then these two are it.

Severed Knot is astonishing, it is far more then just your standard historical romance there is a real life and death, raw, gritty and deadly undercurrent to it, that is all consuming. You feel every emotion, sadness, fear, heartache, pain, laughter, joy, happiness, empathy – all the human emotion that makes a great story is all here. At times it’s intense, violent and difficult reading, especially when it comes to how Mairead and Iain are treated. I will say it is not for the faint hearted, but if you are like me who likes to become entrenched in historic realism then you need to read this book.

Ms Bazos has done an astounding job at reeling the reader into her world, its all so vivid and real you can see the plantation in your mind, you can practically feel the heat of the sun burning into your back as you watch Iain and his comrades toil away in those sun baked fields. You can feel smell the evil that is emanating around the whole Vale property, it’s intense and graphic and will certainly give you goosebumps.

Honestly, I cannot praise this enough. Severed Knot is one of those books that you just know from those first few pages will be a classic. It will be enjoyed again and again, I know that I will be pulling off my bookcase again. I can say for a certainty, that this will be going on my best books of the year.

I am just so in love with this book, I cannot recommend this enough. If you love your more daring, brutally honest and tenderly loving historical’s then this is the book for you.

This was an Arc from the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you so much Cryssa.

Severed Knot is to be released on 7th June and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

#Review : Tempted By His Secret Cinderella (Allied At The Altar #3) by @BronwynScott #TemptedByHisSecretCinderella #AlliedAtTheAltar @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

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Hello my lovely readers! I am very excited about sharing my review of this utterly gorgeous book, I have been avidly reading this series and was so exited to meet Sutton and Elidh and it does not disappoint. So, without further ado grab yourself a cuppa and enjoy!

He’s falling for a princess…
But she’s a commoner!

An Allied at the Altar story: A madcap scheme to secure a patron for her father’s play finds Elidh Easton at a house party, dressed as Italian royalty! But Elidh catches the eye of their dashing host, Sutton Keynes, who has four weeks to find a noble bride. He’d never look twice at her normally – poor, plain and untitled – but in the moment, it’s easy to imagine they have a future!

My goodness, Bronwyn Scott you have gone and done it again! I am, as ever in complete awe at the excellence of this fine lady’s writing. I have been so excited about this book and it did not disappoint; Tempted By His Secret Cinderella blew me away, its stylish, seductive, intriguing and utterly romantic, honestly its perfect!

This is book three in the Allied At The Altar series, I cannot believe that we are on book three already, how can that be? It only seems like yesterday that I first opened the first book, this series is so engaging and that you literally just fly through book after book. A lot like devouring a full share bag of M&M’s, you keep reading then you want to weep when it comes to an end – I don’t want this series to end!! As with the previous two, Tempted By His Secret Cinderella can be read very easily as a stand-a-lone, as the series is linked together with specific characters which appear or are mentioned in each book when the story calls for them.

Sutton has been informed that if he is to inherit he must marry within four weeks, but not just marry anyone – oh, no! There are clauses that state very specially the type of women he is to marry, but also that they must stay together – well, I never! Sutton isn’t exactly averse to marrying, but he would rather it be on his own terms and that the lady be agreeable to him and his project. So he decides to host a house party where he can do proper ‘research’ on his prospective brides, but the one that catches his eyes isn’t on the list at all, the girl in the red dress fascinates him from the moment he sets eyes on her.

Elidh and her father are destitute, they are practically broke. Her little wage which she gets for sewing isn’t near enough to keep them going through the winter and her play write father hasn’t sold a play in so long, that Elidh is worried. Even more so when she hears of her fathers newest scheme. He plans to gate crash Sutton Keynes house party in the disguise of Italian royalty so that he can find a new patron for his latest play. No amount of persuading can change his mind so Elidh must done the mask of confident, stylish, sexy; Principessa Chiara and w her way into Suttons world and she is soon caught in the gaze of Sutton himself.

I really, really like Sutton, he is a man who knows his duty, he knows what he must do and he isn’t one to shirk that duty. He has loyalty to his family ingrained in him right down to the core, he is loyal and honest and just wants to do what’s right. But it’s the other side of his personality that caught my eye and drew me to him – like a moth to a flame, he is highly intelligent, he prefers science and fact over whimsical and the ton. He has a passionate side of him that willingness to work that is very seductive.

The instant chemistry between Elidh and Sutton just jumps off the page, it sizzles those little glances and touches that pass between them are wonderfully vivid that you can feel the tingles along with them. Even though Elidh is trying to be disinterested in him, she can’t deny that she – like the rest of us – is transfixed with the quiet and at times brooding Sutton.

I have been completely in love with this series from the beginning, the further we go along the better and better it gets. It takes the reader on a beautifully crafted journey as Sutton and Elidh traverse the great road towards their happily ever after.

I adore the premise of this, the Cinderella-esque storyline isn’t at all what you would think it to be, there is an imaginative twist to it. I really like how Ms Scott has gone deep into the reason why Sutton must marry within weeks to inherit, it is a brilliantly dark secondary storyline, one that is constantly present in the background throughout the story, it is the driving force of why Sutton does what he does.

Overall this is a magical love story; its enchanting and fun, as well as being highly addictive reading, its one of those will they, won’t they gripping romances that will have you turning the pages with lightning speed.

I cannot wait for the fourth and final…..weeps for ten minutes …..book in the series, I am eagerly awaiting that one!

This was an Arc copy via the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you Bronwyn.

Tempted By His Secret Cinderella is to be released on 30th May and can be pre-ordered now.

#BlogTour : This Is Me by @ShariLow #Review #ThisIsMe @aria_fiction

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Hello everyone! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this amazing blog tour for; This is Me by Shari Low. Not only am I sharing my review of this gorgeous book, I also have an exclusive extract for you, so with out further ado, enjoy.

This is…Denise.

Married to Ray, her first and only love, Denise has never for one moment regretted putting the husband she idolised on a pedestal above everyone and everything else. But, after forty years of marriage, he is gone, leaving Denise to discover that their perfect marriage was fatally flawed. Now she faces a future alone, but first she must face the betrayals of the past.

This is…Claire.

The estranged daughter of Denise, the woman who put her husband before her children, Claire took the opposite path and devoted her life to raising her family, sacrificing her marriage along the way. With her teenage sons about to flee the nest, she realises she may have left it too late to find her own happy ever after.

This is the story of two women, both alone, both cautionary tales of one of motherhood’s biggest decisions.

Who is more important, your partner or your children? And what happens if you make the wrong choice?

Buy links: Amazon / Kobo / iBooks / Google Play

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Exclusive Excerpt

Of course she’d lost people before. Her parents. Ray’s parents. But in those cases, their houses had filled with family and friends who came to offer sympathies, to share the loss, to bring casseroles and bread and tales of the times they’d had with the person who’d passed. Mourning was a time for gathering, for coming together to celebrate a life and share the sorrow of a passing.

No one was knocking on her door.

No one had come in the week since she’d returned home from the hospital, bereft, clutching only his bloodstained clothes, his watch and his wedding ring.

She snatched up her phone again, the second glass of red wine making her bold, pushing her to take action, to find someone – anyone – to share this grief. She scrolled through her contacts. When was the last time she’d talked to her siblings? Five years ago? Ten? Had she really not spoken to anyone else in her family in all that time? Of course, they had so little in common, and hadn’t been close for years before that anyway.

No, she couldn’t call them now. What would be the point? So they’d feel obliged to come, to sit awkwardly in her kitchen, giving fake sympathy and platitudes about a guy they’d never particularly liked in the first place? No. Ray would hate that. He hadn’t liked them when he was alive, so he wasn’t going to want them there in death.

She flicked through more numbers on the screen, then stopped when one name brought on another flash of pain. Doug. Her son. She could hear Ray’s roar of rage if she called that number. It had been many years since she’d heard his voice, seen his face, but that was his loss. She knew that. Hadn’t she and Ray discussed it so many times? Claire and Doug had walked out of their lives for the same reasons. She didn’t even want to think about that now. Hadn’t Ray told her again and again that they weren’t worthy of her? Only Ray deserved her time and her love.

Numbers exhausted, she threw the handset on the bed, her eyes drawn to Ray’s mobile phone, which had been sitting on the charging dock on his bedside table since the morning she’d called the ambulance.

Reaching over, she picked it up, switched it on, then watched as the screen came to life with the image of the two of them, toasting each other with champagne on the deck of the Queen Mary 2 as it set sail from Southampton en route to New York just a few months ago. Their fortieth wedding anniversary. The captain hadn’t believed them, said she looked far too young to have been married that long.

She punched in the code to open the phone, realising it was the first time she’d ever done that. She’d seen Ray doing it so many times that she knew the code by heart, but he’d have been furious if she’d ever looked through his phone, so she never had.

She went to contacts, the names coming up in alphabetical order. Restaurants. Hotels. Car valet. Architects. The tradesmen who sub-contracted for him on bigger jobs. Joiners. Landscapers. Painters. Plumbers. X. Y. Z. The end.

Or not.

The ‘Z’ category was empty, but there was one number in the preceding group, identified with only a Y. That was it. Just Y. It was all Denise needed to identify who it belonged to. That woman. Her.

He’d kept that bitch’s number.

A guttural sob escaped her. A whole fucking set of contacts and there was not a single person she could call for comfort, for help, to listen to her pain, until the very last contact in his phone. Y. It was a cruel bastard irony. The only person who might have just a glimmer of understanding about how she was feeling right now. And it would be a cold day in hell before she made that call.

She quickly searched his messages and past calls for any contact with Y, but there was nothing. Small consolation. He still shouldn’t have saved that bloody number.

She tossed the phone across the bed, the thud as it hit the duvet breaking through her red mist of anger, then she picked up her wine again and climbed into bed, still fully clothed, hoping that the warmth of the duvet would make the shivering stop.

She reached over to Ray’s side and picked up the tie that she’d left there, wrapping it around her neck, desperate to have a part of him touching her.

How was she to live? What was she to actually do with her days? Her dreams had been their dreams. Her plans had been their plans. How was she to move forward on her own, to have a purpose in a life without him in it?

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First confession time; I haven’t had the pleasure to read any of Shari Low’s work before, but from reading this one I will be reading more of her work in the future. I was fascinated by the sound of this and that was enough to draw me and want to read it and am I so pleased that I did, this is a hugely emotional and very poignant book that is so relative to our times and our lives.

This is Me is such a heart-warming story that so many women can relate to, it’s bursting with huge amounts of emotion. Its real and at times haunting, and it will certainly make you evaluate your own life and the choices you have made. It’s all about the two women; mother and daughter Denise and Claire and their choices in life; motherhood and relationships, the choices they have to make and the consequences that arises because of those decisions.

Denise has always put her husband; Ray first above all else, which did include her daughter Claire. Denise idolized her husband and when he passes she soon realises that her marriage was the idyllic haven she had always thought it to be. She sees that over the years her and daughter Claire have drifted further and further apart and they are at the stage that their relationship may never be fixed. Claire has always resented how her mother treated – or not treated her and she vowed that she would never be like that with her own children. She has always put her sons first, even at the cost of her own marriage but now they have flown the nest she starts to see that she has isolated herself and worries that she may missed her chance for happiness for herself.

This is a powerful, thought provoking read that so many can relate to in one way or another, it really focus on the estranged and fragile relationship between mother and daughter. Questions arise throughout that really make you think, and look at your own relationships through fresh eyes.

This is written through both Denise and Claire’s POV, you see both sides of the story and see the damage that has been caused on both sides. The question of who was in the right does pop up many times during the book, and to be honest I think both were wrong in ways, but This Is Me is one of those books that will open conversations and make people talk. The characters are perfectly written, they are real and relatable and I thoroughly enjoyed going on their personal journeys with them and when we find out what kind of man ray really was….well he was horrid!

There is sadness, tears, laughter, confusion, frustration, honestly you will go on a roller-coaster ride of emotions with this, the writing is so clear and vivid that you will feel every emotion as thought your are living it yourself.

Very highly recommended!

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About the Author

Shari Low is the No1 best-selling author of over 20 novels, including One Day In December, A Life Without You, The Story Of Our Life, With Or Without You and her latest release, Another Day In Winter. And because she likes to over-share toe-curling moments and hapless disasters, she is also the shameless mother behind a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. Once upon a time she met a guy, got engaged after a week, and twenty-something years later she lives near Glasgow with her husband, a labradoodle, and two teenagers who think she’s fairly embarrassing except when they need a lift. For all the latest news, visit her on Facebook, twitter, or at http://www.sharilow.com

Follow Shari : Website / Twitter: @ShariLow / Facebook: @sharilowbooks

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Blog Tour Schedule

Do have a look at the over great blogs on this tour.

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