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.
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
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.
#BlogTour : Becoming Mrs Lewis by Patti Callahan @pcalhenry #BecomingMrsLewis #Review @HarperInspire
Hello my lovely readers! I have the very great pleasure to be today’s blog tour for Becoming Mrs Lewis by Patti Callahan, I can’t wait to share my review of this beautiful, poignant uplifting book. So, grab a cuppa and enjoy.
In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice.
From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy.
In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had.
At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer’s life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.
If ever there was a book that can touch a persons heart, that make them feel that they can do anything, that your own dream is only a step away, then this is the book. It is a real tender and poignant story about how a love can overcome barriers, how true friendship can be the saving grace a person needs in life. This is one of those books that can resonate in some way with every person, it’s a beautifully crafted story about two people who are so different, yet at the same time so similar.
I will be honest and admit that before this I didn’t really know a lot about C.S Lewis before this, but from reading this beautiful story it has encouraged me to learn more about the man behind Narnia. And likewise with Ms Callahan, I hadn’t read her work before, but I will definitely be tracking down her previous work now.
Becoming Mrs Lewis is a fictionalised account of the relationship between Joy Davidman and C.S Lewis (Jack). The story starts in New York with Joy not so happily married, as soon as the story starts you just know that there is something wrong with their marriage, You get a feeling that Joy and her passion is somewhat squashed by the life she has chosen with her husband. He isn’t necessarily a bad man, but he does have issues and help, with how the story is written through Joy’s POV you do get a real sense that at one time it was true love but as the years have gone by that has faded.
Joy instantly strikes you as a passionate, determined, intelligent woman who cares deeply, she has a big heart and loves her children and her husband – but not as she did – but she is a bit stuck, she has lost her way so to speak and it is these moment of finding who she is again and to regains something that she has lost, she begins writing to C.S Lewis. Over time they cosponsor frequently through letters, the more she writes to him and the more he replies you see a change in Joy, you see a spark come out. It is truly fascinating witnessing Joy go on this journey as the friendship between her and Jack develops through letters. I love the connection that Jack and Joy form just through the words that they share with each other, it is enchanting to see a true friendship form and watch it blossom into something more.
It is from these letters and their now firm friendship from across the Atlantic, that Joy makes a decision that will essentially change her life and that is she travels from her home in America to England to meet Jack. You instantly see that there is something very special between Joy and Jack, Ms Callahan has done an incredible job at re-creating their love in this book.
From reading this and seeing how much life writing to Jack and reading his replies it gave Joy, I feel that we have lost something now we don’t write proper letters to one and other any more, it has definitely made my fingers itch to write proper letters again.
This is a deeply loving, magical and enchanting love story, which is beautifully written, it has a real classic and timeless feel to it. Ms Callahan has obviously done impeccable research into both Joy and Jack.
Overall a beautiful story about friendship and true love, definitely a must read for all historical romance fans and off course for those who love C.S Lewis.
This was an Arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, as a part of this blog tour, thank you Bengono. x
Becoming Mrs Lewis is Available from Amazon.
Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times bestselling author of fifteen novels, including the historical fiction, BECOMING MRS. LEWIS – The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis and her upcoming contemporary Southern fiction novel—THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER, coming June 4, 2019.
Patti’s books include Losing the Moon, Between the Tides; Where the River Runs; When Light Breaks; Between the Tides; The Art of Keeping Secrets; Driftwood Summer; The Perfect Love Song: A Holiday Story; Coming Up for Air; And Then I Found You; The Stories We Tell; The Idea of Love, The Bookshop at Water’s End, Becoming Mrs. Lewis and The Favorite Daughter.
A finalist in the Townsend Prize for Fiction, an Indie Next Pick, an OKRA pick, and a multiple nominee for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Novel of the Year, Patti is published in numerous languages. Her articles and essays have appeared in Southern Living, PINK, Writer’s Digest, Portico Magazine, Birmingham Magazine and more.
Her essays can also be found in anthologies and collections such as Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy; Southern Writers Writing, and State of the Heart. Patti is a frequent speaker at luncheons, book clubs and women’s groups.
Growing up in Philadelphia as the daughter of a Presbyterian minister, Patti learned early the value of storytelling. At the age of twelve, her family moved to South Florida where Patti found the sanctuary of libraries and began her slow but steady journey into understanding the power of story to navigate confusing times in life.
Patti attended Auburn University for her undergraduate work, and Georgia State University for her graduate degree. Once a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, she now writes full time. The mother of three children, she now lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.
Blog Tour Schedule
Do check out the other blogs which are participating in this blog tour.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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!
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
Blog Tour Schedule
Do have a look at the over great blogs on this tour.
Follow Aria : Website / Twitter: @aria_fiction / Facebook: @ariafiction / Instagram: @ariafiction
#BlogTour : The Pursuits Of Lord Kit Cavanaugh (The Cavanaughs #2) by Stephanie Laurens #Review #ThePursuitsOfLordKitCavanaugh @MillsandBoon #MillsandBoonInsiders
Hello everyone! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on the; The Pursuits of Kit Cavanaugh blog tour, I can wait to share my review of this wonderful book with you all, so take a seat grab a cuppa and enjoy!
Bold and clever, THE CAVANAUGHS are unlike any other family in early Victorian England. #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens continues to explore the enthralling world of these dynamic siblings in the eagerly anticipated second volume in her captivating series.
A Gentleman of Means
One of the most eligible bachelors in London, Lord Christopher “Kit” Cavanaugh has discovered his true path and it doesn’t include the expected society marriage. Kit is all business and has chosen the bustling port of Bristol to launch his passion—Cavanaugh Yachts.
A Woman of Character
Miss Sylvia Buckleberry’s passion is her school for impoverished children. When a new business venture forces the school out of its building, she must act quickly. But confronting Kit Cavanaugh is a daunting task made even more difficult by their first and only previous meeting, when, believing she’d never see him again, she’d treated him dismissively. Still, Sylvia is determined to be persuasive.
An Unstoppable Duo
But it quickly becomes clear there are others who want the school—and Cavanaugh Yachts—closed. Working side by side, Kit and Sylvia fight to secure her school and to expose the blackguard trying to sabotage his business. Yet an even more dastardly villain lurks, one who threatens the future both discover they now hold dear.
I have been reading Stephanie Laurens for years, she is definitely a queen amongst the Historical Romance genre, she is in a league of her own for excellence and this is right up there with the best. For those who have read Ms Laurens will know what I mean, and for those who haven’t read a Stephanie Laurens book yet, why? You really must, for anyone who loves historical romance then this is the book and the author to go to.
1843, Bristol Kit Cavanaugh; after years of playing the rake, of building up a reputation that will keep all those pushy mama’s and debutantes at bay – but he did it all for reason, it was a way to protect himself from his manipulative and using mother. But with his mother’s death he and his siblings are free to do as they please, free to actually live rather then constantly looking over their shoulders wondering when the old coot was going to come down on them. Now he has found what he is passionate about and fully intend turning his back on the life his mother and all of the Ton would want and pursue his own, to build up his Yacht building business; Cavanaugh Yachts.
Kit and his business partner Wayland plan to rent out a warehouse on the docks, they have big plans not only to forge their new Yacht building business but rather admirably plan on using the destitute dock workers who are in dire need of work – I’m telling you, this man has stolen my heart. But, by doing so they unknowingly push out the charity which is currently using the space and whom have a week to move out for Kit and Wayland to move in.
Sylvia Buckleberry (don’t you just love that name?) runs a charity school out of the warehouse Kit has just stolen from her, and now she must either find a new place to relocate her school too or say goodbye to her noble venture which means letting down all those unfortunate children who rely on the school. She fully plans on confronting the man who has the nerve to take away not just her passion but the future of her children’s education – something she does with great gusto! What she doesn’t realise is that she has already met the devilishly handsome and very swoon-worthy Kit at the wedding between her best friend and Kit’s brother, earlier in the year. Kit is very taken with the feisty, intriguing and passionate young woman who has taken it upon herself to face him down and he vows to help her.
But all is not as easy as it may appear as it soon comes to light that there is a mysterious villain out there who not only would very much like to hurt Sylvia but also destroy both their ventures, can Kit and Sylvia find the truth?
I loved their relationship, they are sweet, loving and adorable. They both tread very carefully as they have found themselves in the company of another who they don’t usually find in their sphere. Sylvia is fresh parsons daughter who isn’t the usually glitzy butterfly that Kit is used to and as such he must be patient when wooing her, she isn’t usually his type but you can see instantly that he is fascinated by her. She knows all about his notorious rakish reputation, she is wary around him, but even she can’t deny that this gorgeous man with the twinkle in his eye has charm.
I thoroughly enjoyed this, it was such a joy to read. As ever with a Stephanie Laurens you will not be disappointed, the plot is intricate, romantic and fun with a hint of mystery that will have you reading late into the night. But it is the character’s that really pull you in, they are beautifully written, charming and each adorable in their own way.
A definite must read, even though this is book two in the Cavanaugh’s series as with all of Ms Laurens work this can be very easily read as a stand-a-lone.
Enchanting and highly recommended!
This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you to the Mills and Boon’s Insiders team.
The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh is available now and can be found at Amazon.
Do have a look at the other blog’s which are participating in this blog tour.
#BlogTour : No Other Duke But You (Playful Brides #11) by Valerie Bowman #Review & Exclusive #Extract #NoOtherDukeButYou #PlayfulBrides @StMartinsPress
Hello my lovely readers! Do I have a great post for you today?! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this great blog tour for No Other Duke But You by Valerie Bowman, no only will I be sharing my review of this No Other Duke But You, with you all, but I have an exclusive extract for you all to feast your eyes on. So, do grab yourself a cuppa, take a seat and enjoy.
SINGLE LADY SEEKS DUKE
Lady Delilah Montebank has her marital sights set on the Duke of Branville. There’s just one problem: he barely knows she exists. But no matter, she’s got a plan to win him over with her charm, her wit—and perhaps the love potion she has in her possession wouldn’t hurt her cause…
Lord Thomas Hobbs, Duke of Huntley, thinks his best friend Delilah’s quest to become a duchess is ridiculous. He’s always said he’d rather give up all the brandy in London than commit to one person for life. Besides, he knows that Delilah’s love potion can’t possibly win over Branville…since she accidentally gave it to him instead. But perhaps this is the excuse he needs to show her he’s always loved her…
Delilah can’t believe she gave the potion to the wrong duke. Then again, Delilah could do a lot worse than win the hand of her handsome best friend. Could it be that the right duke has been before her eyes all along?
Delilah glanced up and down the dim hallway. It was well past three in the morning, she was still dressed in the pink ball gown she’d worn to the party, and she clutched the small vial of Cupid’s Elixir in her sweaty, guilty palm. She pressed her back against the shadowed wall not far from the Duke of Branville’s bedchamber. She could do this. More importantly, she would do this. She’d come this far, hadn’t she? What did a little sneaking about in the middle of the night matter?
She’d got detailed instructions to Branville’s room from Derek, who thankfully hadn’t asked any questions about why she wanted to know. According to him, the room was four doors to the right, just past the staircase on the third floor. The third floor was where all the bachelor gentlemen were sleeping. It would be a complete scandal if she was found lurking about alone at this time of night, but she’d waited until the household seemed quite asleep and then waited a bit longer for good measure. Anyone who saw her now would be skulking about themselves, which meant they would hardly be in a position to judge her. She briefly wondered if she’d run into Lavinia.
It was not as if she was out to do anything particularly scandalous. It was more silly and frivolous than anything else. She’d simply die, however, if Branville woke up and asked her what she was doing sprinkling pixie water in his eyes. She’d already decided to pretend as if she were dreaming, thinking she was Puck in the play. Sleepwalking. That would make all the sense in the world. Wouldn’t it? She swallowed hard. Probably not, but she wasn’t about to let the fear of being caught stop her. Besides, all of her and Lucy’s matchmaking had turned into a colossal mess. If a spray of perfume could sort it out, so be it. Of course, Delilah’s conscience reminded her that she hadn’t offered any of the perfume to Rebecca to use on Thomas. She didn’t want to even contemplate that. She’d already shared it with one other person, and that made her guilty enough. The image of Madame Rosa’s disapproving, craggy face had haunted her all evening.
Delilah shook off the thought and turned her attention back to the matter at hand. Pressing her empty palm against the darkened wall, she inched her way along until she came to Branville’s door. She felt like a spy. This was how professional spies did such things, wasn’t it? Too bad she was too embarrassed by her actions to ask the veritable house full of professional spies who happened to be asleep behind other doors right now.
She transferred the vial into her opposite hand and slowly reached to grasp the door handle. The metal was cold in her bare hand. She’d discarded her gloves, deciding that they would make her actions more clumsy. The last thing she needed tonight was to be more clumsy than usual. Decidedly, she needed to be less so.
She clutched the door handle like a lifeline and closed her eyes, steadying her shaking fingers on the knob. She was close, so close. Praying that the door wouldn’t squeak, she turned the handle slowly. The only sound was the thumping of her own heart in her ears.
When the handle was turned as far as it would go, she pushed it, praying fervently that it wasn’t locked. It took a moment before she realized the door was opening. Its hinges silent, merci a Dieu. Completely silent.
She slipped inside the cool, dark room. Steady, deep breathing came from the bed. Thank goodness, she hadn’t woken the duke with her entrance. She could barely see a thing, but she didn’t dare light a candle. A tiny stream of moonlight filtered into the room through a small opening in the curtains on the far window. She used that to identify the hulking bed in the center of the room. She tiptoed over to it slowly, taking care in case there was anything to trip over. No doubt she would find it if there was.
She made it to the foot of the bed without incident and paused, trying to quell her nerves and dispel her guilt. She clutched the vial more tightly in her palm, shaking with fear and anxiety. Now that she was here, she had no earthly idea how to drop liquid on a man’s eyes without awakening him. Besides, how much of it was she supposed to use? Surely not much. She would employ the tiniest drops possible so as not to disturb him, but she also needed to ensure the perfume touched his eyelids. Tricky business, this being a fairy. She had a sudden appreciation for Puck.
Holding her breath, she lifted her skirts with her free hand and tiptoed to the right side of the bed. Because it was summer, the bed curtains weren’t drawn. The window was open, and a slight breeze blew through the crack in the curtains.
The outline of the duke’s body was barely visible in the moonlight. He was turned away on his side, his back to her, his face toward the window. She would have to lean over his body to sprinkle the elixir on his eyes. The bed was tall. She must carefully climb up to do this task properly. She only hoped she didn’t jostle the mattress enough to wake him.
She waited in silence for a few moments to ensure his breathing remained steady, then she carefully lifted first one knee and then the other, bracing them on the mattress and pulling herself up, still clutching the vial. She winced as he moved slightly in his sleep, but he kept his face turned away. Blast it.
Once she was fully atop the bed, she paused and hoped the hammering of her heart didn’t wake him. He smelled good, a combination of soap and maleness that she wanted to breathe in. There was something vaguely familiar about his scent.
Shaking away that unhelpful thought, she moved gingerly across the mattress on her knees until she came to a stop at his side. His shirt was off. The beam of moonlight hit his smooth, muscled arm. She swallowed. The man’s chest was positively swoon-worthy. She took a deep breath to calm her nerves and uncorked the vial. Then she carefully leaned over as far as she could to locate his eyes. They remained shrouded in the dark, but she took a guess as to their general direction and tipped the little vial as slowly and carefully as she could. He turned then, and she was afforded enough light to see that the first tiny drop of liquid did indeed fall directly onto his eyelid.
He blinked, and she held her breath. When he settled back into sleep, she closed her eyes and said a brief prayer that she would get away with it a second time before tipping the vial once more to allow another tiny drop to fall on his other eyelid.
He blinked and rubbed at his eyes while Delilah held her breath again, paralyzed with fear. Soon, he settled back into his pillow and his breathing returned to its steady pace.
She pressed a hand to her throat. It was over. She was done. All she had to do was extract herself from the bed and the room without being seen or heard. The difficult part was behind her.
Still praying he wouldn’t stir, she backed away from the duke. Slowly. Slowly. She’d nearly made it to the edge of the bed when he flipped over to face her. A beam of moonlight slid over his sleeping features.
From No Other Duke But You. Copyright © 2019 by Valerie Bowman and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.
This is book eleven in the ‘Playful Brides’ series, and even though I haven’t read them all, I have thoroughly enjoyed all that I have read, these books are a lot of fun to read Valerie Bowman has a real witty way with words that never fails to amuse. She has genuine gift for her play on words and her imaginative storylines ….plus, not to mention her amazing heroes!
Delilah has come to the point in her life where she really must wed, after all she can’t very well keep going around like a feral child for the rest of her life now can she? She knows who she wants to marry, the only problem is to catch his attention. So, she devises a ‘not so’ brilliant plan to lace her intended with a love potion that will have him falling to his knees in love with her, then she can live happily ever after. Sounds like a good plan, right?
Unfortunately for Delilah her great plan doesn’t go to plan as the man she wanted doesn’t end up drinking her potion, but instead the man she has always seen as a best friend does. Oops!
Thomas has always had feelings for Delilah, he has never had any inclination to get stuck in the parsons mousetrap himself, yet when he sees his friend so adamant on becoming a duchess and her infatuated with another man he starts to have stirrings which shows themselves as true love for her. So, he starts to show her exactly how much she means to him.
Will Thomas finally prove to her that he has always loved her? And will they finally have their happily ever after?
The story which follows is a fun, clever and imaginative and quirky; friends to lovers romance. Even though this is a very fun, light-hearted and easy to read book and there is a real playful element to it which I found very entertaining, yet for me it wasn’t the best I have read of the series. It did feel as though there was something lacking, it didn’t quite have the same magic as the other books did. It has all the ingredients of a brilliant Valerie Bowman book; imaginative and fun plot and sensual, charismatic and lovable characters. But whether because it’s the last book, it has lost some of that much loved sparkle.
Overall this is a charming, little story that has a real warmth and wit to it that will entertain, those who love Ms Bowman’s work will devour it in one.
This was a complementary copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour.
About The Author
Valerie Bowman grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her mini-schnauzers, Huckleberry and Violet. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS.
#BlogTour : The Duke And The Imposter (The French Orphans’ #5) by Michael Stolle @MichaelStolle16 #TheDukeAndTheImposter #TheFrenchOrphansSeries @Bookollective
Hello, everyone! I have the great pleasure to be todays stop on this amazing blog tour for The Duke and The Imposter by Michael Stolle. I can’t wait to share my review of this amazing book with you all, so grab yourselves a cuppa and let me tell you a little about this book.
The Duke and The Imposter (The French Orphans Series #5) by Michael Stolle
It’s a beautiful day in the seventeenth century. Pierre, Marquis de Beauvoir, Duke of Hertford and his small family arrive for a picnic on the banks of the River Loire in the grounds of his castle of Montrésor. It is a garden Eden – beautiful and peaceful. But fate strikes and, taken by surprise, the lunch party is ambushed.
Pierre is found later by his faithful valet, barely clinging to life, but his wife and only son have vanished without a trace. Beyond consolation, Pierre is convinced that his family has been annihilated. Luckily his friends François and Armand rush to the castle from Paris to his aid – and to investigate.
The quest leads to the coast of France and then on to the shores of England, a country torn apart by old loyalties to the Stuart king and the rise of the new Puritan gentry.
As the friends come closer and closer to the viper’s nest they must find out the truth, and track down the mastermind behind the ambush, who is prepared to stop at nothing until he has taken Pierre’s place and styled himself the next Duke of Hertford. A man not known to take prisoners. Soon Pierre and his friends are not only fighting against an enemy who’s ruthless and vile, they’re racing against time, the biggest enemy of all.
I will first start by saying that this is the first I have read by Michael Stolle, so I did go into this book with eyes wide open and with caution as I always do with new to me authors. I loved the sound of this from the back blurb, it gripped me which is why I decided to be apart of this blog tour. I was fascinated by the description of it, it sounded thrilling and I can very happily say that I was not disappointed.
The Duke and The Imposter is book five in The French Orphans series, as I hadn’t read any of the previous books in the series I can say without a doubt that this can be very easily read as a stand a lone, there was hints of previous book plots but nothing that hindered my reading and enjoying of the story. It does make me want to go out and start reading the previous one though as I am fascinated as to the other stories in the series.
The story opens up to our hero; Pierre, Marquis de Beauvoir, Duke of Hertford waking up in his bed severely wounded after being attacked and nearly killed. He and his family were ambushed and he was shot and left for dead while his wife and young son disappeared without a trace. Those moments when Pierre comes to realise what happened is heart breaking, you genuinely feel his pain and his despair that he has lost the two most treasured things in his life. He right there and then decides that he won’t fight to get well he will just starve himself instead. Which is where his two closest friends come in; Armand and Francois ride hell pent from Paris to Montresor to go to their sick friends aid and to find out what the hell happened to Marie and little Pierre.
Once they start to investigate the three friends begin to see that this is far more than just a murder kidnap scheme, there is a dastardly plot in place to put the villain in Pierre’s shoes and take not just the title but to literally be him. Their investigation takes them from France across the channel to England, a country very like their own France which is full of danger as it is torn apart. But will they find the truth of what happened and why? But, most importantly will Pierre find his family?
I have to say, these three guys are great! I love the relationship between Pierre, Armand and Francois, there is a lot of friendly, brotherly fondness, lots of joking they don’t hold back when they are taking the mickey out of each other. But, more than that they are loyal, they have a great bond. I just love how their friendship is written!
Michael Stolle’s writing is fresh, fast and vivid, there is a real depth to this, it pulls you in from that first page, I was completely hooked and then it sets off on a whirlwind adventure through dangerous France and over to England. What I really loved about this is that the character’s really come to life, their relationship with one and other, the way they act and talk is very engaging for the reader. Unlike a lot of books where the point of view is writing through a certain character or through the eyes of the heroine and hero, with this it is written through the eyes of all the lead characters. So you’re not just seeing a scene through one set of eyes but three and I like that, it really gives perspective to each scene and each character’s personality.
The Duke and The Imposter is a fast paced, thrilling, exciting and imaginative story, it has a real fresh feel to it that lures the reader in. You are literally racing along with the three men and they investigative, it is completely immersive and I will guarantee that anyone who loves a good old-fashioned high stakes historical thriller , then you will love this one.
Great from start to finish!
This was a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you to the lovely ladies at Bookollective.
The Duke and The Imposter is available now.
About The Author
Born and educated in Europe, Michael has always been intrigued by the historical setting and the fact that what makes us human was as true in the 17th century as it is now.
He has been reading and writing about history for longer than he cares to recall…
Do check the other blogs which are participating in this blog tour.
#BlogTour : Love and Other Things To Live For by @louiseleverett #Review #LoveAndOtherThings #LoveOnTour via @ninadouglas and @hqstories
Hi everyone! I have the pleasure to be today’s stop on this great blog tour and to be sharing my review of Love and Other Things To Live for by Louise Leverett.
Jessica Wood is an aspiring photographer living in London. She’s had her heart broken, and her friends have pieced it back together again.
But across the neon lights of Soho, in the smell of alcohol and cigarette smoke, on every night bus, in every song, every time she tries to forget: she remembers him.
Now, in a battle between the past and the future, choosing between having a life and making a living, finding her feet or spreading her wings, Jessica must ask herself: who is she really living for?
Love and Other Things to Live For is an ode to modern girls and triumph over heartbreak, perfect for fans of Holly Bourne and Dolly Alderton.
This is the debut novel by Louise Leverett and I do have to say I am impressed, it wasn’t exactly my kind of reading but I have to give credit where credit’s due and say that this has a real quality about it that I had not expected.
Going by the blurb, I had unoriginally thought that this would be a fun chic-lit come coming of age story, but it is more more a journey of self discovery and shows just how important true friends can be.
The main character’ Jess is in the midst of a life breakdown, a promising, aspiring photographer she is living in the lights and smoke of London on the outside Jess has it all, but inside she is screaming and a dishevelled crying mess who after having her heart broken she has taken to the path of self destruction as she tries to make sense of her life and find her way to her won happiness.
I will admit that I am in two frames of mind about this, on one hand it is a fascinating look into the life of a twenty-something women living the high life in London, a woman who goes as on a self-destructive journey which ends in self discovery. And one the other hand, I couldn’t relate to Jess or the story, I felt that there was something essential; missing from it. That missing item was relatability, I am a reader that likes to relate in some way to the character’s and if I can’t – like I couldn’t here – then it does ruin the whole story. Which is a shame as, there is a lot of real depth and heart in this.
But, even though the story didn’t quite work for me, it will for many, many other readers out there. It’s not a light read, there is a real heavy feel to it especially as Jess goes on her self-destructive moments. Recommanded for those who like the more edgier, thought-provoking stories.
This was a complimentary copy via the Publisher and authors PA in exchange for an honest review, as apart of this blog tour, thank you Nina!
Do check out the other blogs which are participating in this blog tour.