#BlogTour : You Say It First (Happily Inc. #1) by @SusanMallery #Review and #BlogPost. #YouSayItFirst #HappilyInc @MillsandBoon
Hello everyone! I have the great pleasure to be today’s stop on this great blog tour for You Say It First by Susan Mallery. I am very excited to be sharing my review of this wonderfully fun book, plus for my themed blog post I will be chatting all about Weddings In Boxes. There is a lot of love on the blog today!
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fool’s Gold romances invites you to visit Happily Inc., a wedding destination founded on a fairy tale
Sculptor Nick Mitchell grew up in a family of artists and learned from his volatile father that passion only leads to pain. As he waits on a new commission, he takes a day job as a humble carpenter at a theme wedding venue. The job has its perks—mainly the venue’s captivating owner, Pallas Saunders. Although he won’t let love consume him, for ecstasy with an expiration date, he’s all in.
Pallas adores Weddings in a Box. But if she can’t turn the floundering business around, she’ll have no choice but cave to her domineering mother and trade taffeta for trust funds working at the family’s bank. Then when a desperate bride begs Pallas for something completely out of the box, her irresistible new hire inspires her. Nick knows she doesn’t belong behind a desk, and she knows in her heart that he’s right—where she really belongs is in his arms.
This is book one in the whole new Happily Inc series and what a wonderful introduction, not just to this new series but to this author. I haven’t actually read any of Susan Mallery’s work before ‘You Say It First’ but there will definitely be more of this fine ladies work on my future TBR pile.
Pallas runs the little company Weddings in a Box, at the moment she is in a spot of trouble with her finances. She doesn’t want to give up and have to go and do an ordinary day job as her family would love her to do, she loves Weddings in a Box, she loves making people happy, she just needs to find a way put of the hole she has found her self in;
Enter centre stage gorgeous, sexy god that is the carpenter; OK so Nick may not just be any old carpenter he is a world re known sculptor who at the minute is a bit in limbo he is currently awaiting word of a commission he has gone in for in Dubai but in the meantime he needs something to do.
Nick knows that he is just there temporarily as he waits for the go a head to jump on the plane and fly off to sunny Dubai for two years, but from the moment of meeting down to earth and impossibly seductive Pallas he is a bit torn as to which path he is going to take. Where as Pallas knows exactly that Nick belongs well and truly there, but can they both see past their own personal thoughts about love and actually take the dive?
I really like this, it is a simple down-to-earth and very normal girl meets boy type story, both Nick and Pallas are ridiculously likable which I found so refreshing, it is so nice to come across a bunch of character’s in abook that you can’t but like on the spot it makes watching their journey to their own HEA that more comforting, you can really relate to both they are very much the girl and boy next door who you just know will make a great couple. There are curve balls to the story that both our leads have to over come and I won’t spoil it for you all you will have to read it and see what happens.
I adore the little town of Happily Inc, what a great place with some genuine fascinating people, and I can’t wait to meet more of the residents – especially the furry kind as we have had a little glimpse of in this one.
This is a sweet, imaginative, sexy and very fun romance that will capture the reader’s imagination. The character’s are brilliantly written, they are kind, caring, hard-working, in need of love and very realistic. You will instantly fall in love with them and cheer them on as the story progresses.
Over all this is a great little book that is perfect for the long spring afternoons.
This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you the lovely Mills and Boon Insiders team.
Do check out the rest of the great blogs that is being features on this blog tour!
Saying, I Do!
You Say It First is basically all along the theme of wedding’s, as Pallas has her own little company which is a Weddings In A Box – which is such a brilliant idea. The different wedding’s and themes that Pallas organises are fun and original and makes for great reading.
After reading this it did get me wondering about the whole ‘Weddings In A Box’ thing which led me to write this post. My first thought of the concept of a wedding in a box is that you build up the wedding at the venue and then dismantle at the end of the day, which I suppose in some case it could be, but while doing a bit of research for this post I found that the whole ‘Wedding in a Box’ is way bigger and at times far more complex then I originally thought.
There are some companies while I was researching that will do exactly what Pallas does and covers everything, and then there are smaller ‘Wedding’s in a Box’ that are just about the little extra touches; such as invitations and table décor. Really this whole wedding in a box craze is huge.
Which got me thinking for something fun for us all to do, if you could have a Fantasy ‘Wedding in a Box’ what would it be like? Would you have a traditional wedding box? Or would yours be themed? What would you wear? Where would your ‘Wedding in a Box’ be sent to (eg: Where would your dream wedding be?) This can be anywhere in the world and off course as this is all make-believe you can have your wedding in a box in any era and who would your dream Bride/Groom be? Lets have some fun you can really go to town on this one, I will share my fantasy ‘Wedding in a Box’ why not share yours?
My Fantasy Wedding In A Box
When I first thought of this post, I was like; Yeah, this will be as easy as chips – how wrong I was! This is actually a lot harder than you think, especially if your like me and have a more eclectic taste, literally my first draft of this part of the post, my fantasy wedding in a box ended up being a wild explosion of Victorian Gothic dresses, lots of black and purple, Scottish traditions, men in kilts – or more accurately Jamie Frasier, Whitby Abbey with Dracula, lots of animals, brass bands, fish and chips with gravy (I am from Yorkshire, it has to be done) and Tom Hardy in various stages of being undressed….you see how my mind works?
How on earth do brides actually makes these decisions in real life? I would be a wreck within an hour! Thank goodness this is just for fun. But, I did finally make my ‘Fantasy Wedding in a Box’ there is not theme, only because I couldn’t stick to just one.
So my Wedding in a Box basically consists of lots chocolate muffins, windswept eerie Yorkshire Moors (Think Wuthering Heights) a touch of Scotland (I do have real love for those old Scottish traditions, men in kilts, lots of tartan, hand tying – so romantic) lots of black, my old dog – off course she would have to be there and finally I would have to add Tom Hardy to my Wedding in a Box, how could I not? Even if it’s just to stand him in a corner for me to ogle at, I’m happy! 😉
There you go, that’s mine now it’s your turn. I will open this up for discussion on Twitter and Facebook so why not hop on over and join in, you know me I love seeing all your picture and Gifs.
#BlogTour : #Review A Forbidden Love by Kerry Postle @kerry_postle #AForbiddenLove @HQstories @HQDigitalUK
Hello everyone, I have the very great pleasure to be todays stop on A Forbidden Love by Kerry Postle blog tour, I can’t wait to share with you all my review of this amazing book. So, take a seat, grab yourselves a cuppa and let me tell you a little about this wonderful book.
An extraordinary story against all the odds…
He vowed in his letter to one day meet her again, once the war was over. But it was a letter Maria couldn’t bring herself to read…
Growing up in the humble Spanish town of Fuentes, Maria dreamed of seeing the world and marrying one day. But before her life can truly start, civil war breaks out and Fuentes is torn apart by violence, secrecy and corruption.
Maria vows to take a stand, yet as an unspeakable tragedy rocks her trust in human decency, her heart hardens and the love she once believed in seems far out of reach. But when she falls for an occupying soldier, she questions whether she can truly love someone who is her enemy?
This is the first I have read by Kerry Postle so I did go into this book with my eyes wide open, unsure of what I would expect. But, I can honestly say that I will be reading more of Ms Postle’s work again. This is a spine-tingling, poignant and beautifully written book that is a must read for all historical fiction readers.
A Forbidden Love is set during the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930’s, I obviously have heard about the Spanish Civil War but I didn’t really know too much about it and what the people went through during that awful time, but from reading this it has made me want to learn more about this terrible aspect of history.
Growing up a little Spanish town; Fuentes; Maria has always dreamed of marrying and having a fairy-tale happy ever after, but unfortunately for Maria before she can find her Prince charming civil war breaks out and her much-loved village is torn apart by the war that is raging all around her. Her once quiet life has turned into one full of violence and she finds herself surrounded by secrecy, corruption and terror. Being faced with such horror, it understandably has an effect on Maria and makes her question all what she knew, she becomes jaded and cynical about whether human decency really exists any more. This war does change her and changes her views and makes her think that her once much sought after love was nothing but dream, but then she meets an occupying soldier who makes her again believe in love. But, with the war raging can Maria really have the happiness she so wanted?
I have purposely been very vague in this review as I wouldn’t wish to spoil the story for anyone and believe me this book needs to read without any hint of a spoiler. I am a huge fan of novels which you can really learn something from it and this one will definitely make you sit up and take notice. Because of the subject matter it is at times uncomfortable reading, it does make you stop and draw breath at what you have just read but it is a story that must be read, it shines a light on a part of history that is so rarely told. It is obvious that Ms Postle has done her research, it – at times – really bites and transports the reader from their comfy armchair to the savaged war-torn country. The writing is solid, full of passion for the story and compassion for the subject. Overall, this is a brilliant book that will both satisfy and educate the history lovers out there and it is very highly recommended!
This was an Arc from the publisher in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, Thank you Izzy!
A Forbidden Love is available now and can be found at Amazon.
#BlogTour : #Review Shakespeare’s Witch (Pages Of Darkness #1) by @SamanthaGrosser #ShakespearesWitch #PagesOfDarkness #HistoricalFiction via @hfvbt #HFVBTBlogtours
Good morning everyone! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on the mammoth blog tour for Shakespeare’s Witch by Samantha Grosser. I am not only sharing my review of this fascinating yet darkly eerie story, I also have a giveaway to win a copy for yourself. So, grab yourself a cuppa and let me tell you a wee bit about this book.
Shakespeare’s Witch by Samantha Grosser
Publication Date: March 20, 2019
Sam Grosser Books
Format: eBook & Paperback; 358 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Love, Witchcraft, Sorcery, Madness.
A fortune told …
When Sarah Stone foresees Will Shakespeare’s latest play has opened doors to evil, she begs the playwright to abandon it. But Will refuses, aware the play is one of his best. And so rehearsals for Macbeth begin.
Forbidden desires …
After her vision, Sarah fears for her life – she has never known the shewstone to lie, and she turns to her brother Tom for comfort. A strange darkness seems to haunt the playhouse, and when Tom sets out to seduce John Upton, the boy actor who plays Lady Macbeth, the boy sees the hand of witchcraft in his own forbidden desires for men. Then Sarah weaves a spell to win the love of the new lead actor, and John, terrified for the safety of his soul, begins to make his accusations.
The Spirits have spoken …
As rehearsals continue, Sarah and Tom must struggle to convince John he is mistaken and that his sins are his own – their lives and the fortune of the play are at stake. But the Spirits have spoken – will the fate that Sarah foresaw come to pass or is their destiny their own to decide?
Set against the first production of Macbeth in 1606, Shakespeare’s Witch is a seductive tale of the origins of the curse of the Scottish Play.
Well this is certainly different to anything I have previously read! I was intrigued by the sound of this, the moment I saw it, and it definitely grabbed my attention – at times not exactly for the good, but it is a page-tuner. I am a big fan of darker historical fiction, it really grabs my attention and Shakespeare’s Witch is certainly no different. It is darkly unique and spell-binding. It is one of those unforgettable books which will stay with you long after turning the last page.
What I found fascinating about this was that even now I have mixed feelings about it and that started while reading it. On one hand I found it to be captivating and very original and on the other I was mildly confused, a little taken back especially with one aspect – which I can’t go into due to spoilers as this is a major part of the story – I was a little uncomfortable reading those scenes, but once finished it struck me that even though I didn’t like this certain aspect of the plot it was needed and it made the ending all the more moving.
Set in 1606, William Shakespeare has just written Macbeth and the story is set around that very first showing. Will goes to Sarah to consult the spirits whether this play will be a success or not. But, what she sees terrifies her she sees nothing but evil circulating around this play, she pleads to Will not to go ahead with Macbeth that this play is pure evil and has opened the door to the bad spirits which haunt his dreams. Will is rebuffs her pleas and goes ahead with rehearsals for what we all know will become one of his greatest pieces.
Sarah and her brother Tom dabble in the occult after their mother taught them a bit of witchcraft, which was illegal and as we know from history it was an era full of fear and superstition and any sniff of witchcraft lead to a horrific outcome for those who had the finger pointed at them, they had to endure awful treatment during the witch trials and then were sentenced to death. So, for both Tom and Sarah to be more or less openly dealing with such things can and does place them not just in trouble but in danger. At the same time they are working in the theatre as Macbeth is being rehearsed.
Sarah is living in fear of what she saw and at the same time she is also inexplicably drawn to Nick; one of the actor’s who is to star in Macbeth, but being the confused young women she is she does go about things all wrong to gain his love, which is connected to the part of the story that I found very uncomfortable to read. Without giving too much about the story away, this is certainly eye-opening and it does take the reader off the beaten track of what you think is going to happen, and takes them to another much darker place completely.
Overall it does engage the reader and with the twists to the plot it does keep you guessing and turning the pages. It’s is steeped in swirling, eerie darkness, there is romance, magic and sex, plus a touch of dark, grisly history. Ms Grosser has a real gift at story-telling, her writing is strong and articulate she really draws the reader into her mysterious world. I’ve not read any of Ms Grosser’s work before, so this is a great introduction to her books and I will definitely be reading more from her.
This is one of those books that I would class at Marmite; it is you will either love it or hate it. For readers like myself who do love the darker more unique historicals which has a hint of romance, then you will love it. It may not be for the more puritan historical romance lover’s, but if your willing to give it a go then I do recommend it.
This was a complimentary copy from the author via Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour. Thank you Samantha and Amy!
About the Author
Historical fiction author Samantha Grosser originally hails from England, but now lives on the sunny Northern Beaches of Sydney with her husband, son and a very small dog called Livvy.
Combining a lifelong love of history with a compulsion to write that dates from childhood, Samantha is now bringing her passion for telling compelling stories to the world.
Samantha has an Honours Degree in English Literature and taught English for many years in Asia and Australia. She is the author of wartime dramas Another Time and Place and The Officer’s Affair, and The King James Men, set during the turbulent early years of 17th Century.
Blog Tour Schedule
Do check out the other amazing blogs on this blog tour.
Wednesday, March 20
Review at Passages to the Past
Thursday, March 21
Review at Book Reviews from Canada
Friday, March 22
Interview at Jathan & Heather
Saturday, March 23
Feature at Broken Teepee
Monday, March 25
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Tuesday, March 26
Feature at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, March 27
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Friday, March 29
Interview at Passages to the Past
Sunday, March 31
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All
Monday, April 1
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste
Tuesday, April 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, April 4
Interview at Hisdoryan
Monday, April 8
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Tuesday, April 9
Review at Bibliophile Reviews
Wednesday, April 10
Review at Macsbooks
Friday, April 12
Review at A Book Geek
Tuesday, April 16
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away one eBook and one paperback copy of Shakespeare’s Witch! To enter, please use Gleam form/Link which can be found below.
Enter Here – Shakespeare’s Witch
*Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
* Giveaway is open to residents in the US & UK only.
* Only one entry per household.
* No sweepstakes accounts please.
* 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 a new winner will be chosen.
#BlogTour : The Earl’s Runaway Governess by Catherine Tinley @CatherineTinley #Review, Exclusive Extract & #Giveaway #TheEarlsRunawayGoverness @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks via @rararesourses
Hello my lovelies, I am so excited to be one of the blogs to be kicking off this smading blog tour, for the beautiful; The Earl’s Runaway Governess, the new realease by Catherine Tinley. Not only will be sharing my review of this amazing book, but I also have an exclusive extract and a giveaway. So, what are you waiting for? Grab a cuppa and let me tell you about this marvellous book.
The Earl’s Runaway Governess by Catherine Tinley
Genre : Historical Romance
Publisher : Mills and Boon/Harlequin
Who knew living with an Earl…
…would lead to such temptation?
Marianne Grant’s new identity as a governess is meant to keep her safe. But then she meets her new employer, Ash, Earl of Kingswood, and she immediately knows his handsome good looks are a danger of their own! Brusque on first meeting, Ash quickly shows his compassionate side. Yet Marianne doesn’t dare reveal the truth! Unless Ash really could be the safe haven she’s been looking for…
The interior of the inn was dark, cosy, and well-maintained. A fire burned in the grate, for the January day was chilly. Marianne made her way towards the wooden counter at the far end of the room, where a woman who must be the landlady was busy pouring ale. As she walked, Marianne found herself warily assessing the strangers in the room. Since the day and hour she had left home she had not felt truly safe, for even a minute. She had no experience with which to assess where danger might lurk, so she found herself constantly on edge.
Her fellow passengers were already seating themselves in various parts of the taproom, and there were also two men who looked like they might be farmers, each with a mug of beer in front of him.
Then she saw him. Her heart briefly thumped furiously in her chest, and the hairs at the back of her neck stood to attention.
He was seated with his back to her, at the table closest to the counter. She could see his dark hair, swept forward in a fashionable style. He wore a driving cloak with numerous capes. She could also see long legs encased in tight-fitting pantaloons and gleaming black boots. He looked like any one of a dozen London bucks. Except this time, she reminded herself, you have no reason to fear him.
She kept walking, soothing herself with calm thoughts. As she reached his table, she turned her head, compelled to confirm it was no one she knew.
This man was a few years older than Henry – perhaps in his late twenties or early thirties. His hair was similar – thick, dark, and luxuriant. But the face was totally different. This man was handsome – or at least, he would be if he were not scowling so fiercely. His strong bones and lean features contrasted with Henry’s slight pudginess and rather weak jawline. And, now that she could see all of him, she realised that his body shape was totally different to Henry’s. He was lean and muscular, with no sign of a paunch. The clothing was similar to that favoured by Henry – and indeed, by all the young bucks of London. There the resemblance ended.
Sensing her there, he looked up from his mug and their eyes met. Stormy blue eyes bore into hers and Marianne felt a slow flush rise. My, but he was attractive! – and, she realised, his gaze was doing strange things to her. Breaking away from that endless, compelling contact, she bit her lip and took the final four steps to the counter.
Marianne summoned a polite smile. She felt slightly lost and shaky, and she could feel the man’s gaze boring into her back. Still, she managed to reply to the landlady. ‘I am expecting someone to meet me here. I have travelled from London on the mail coach.’
‘Who is it you are expecting, miss?’
Marianne’s brow creased. ‘I am not exactly sure.’ Inside, panic was rising. What if there has been some mistake? What if there is no governess position? ‘I am to take up a position as governess at a place called Ledbury House. I was told to travel here by mail coach today.’
‘Ledbury House? This gentleman –’ she indicated the fashionable buck ‘– is also travelling there. Perhaps you are expected to travel with him?’
Heart sinking, Marianne swung round to face him. His scowl had deepened as he listened to their exchange, and he now raised a quizzical eyebrow. ‘Curious’ he mused. ‘And to think I was unaware of the delights this day would hold.’
Marianne was taken aback. She was unsure how to take this. The man’s words were perfectly polite, but something about the tone suggested the possibility that he was not, in fact, delighted. Accustomed as she was to straightforward politeness, his words and tone felt disconcerting. Something of what she was feeling must have shown on her face because, as she watched him, his expression changed to one of chagrin.
‘I have no doubt,’ he murmured cryptically, ‘that this is a mess of Fanny’s making, and I am expected to fix it. Well, I shall do so this one time, but no more.’ With this enigmatic statement, he drained his mug, then stood. ‘You’d best come with me.’
Not waiting for her reply, he swung away towards the door.
Marianne stood rooted to the spot, uncertainty bedevilling her. Should she go with him? A stranger, and she was to travel with him unaccompanied. Miss Marianne Grant, a lady, would never have done so. Miss Anne Bolton, governess, could.
Conscious that all eyes were all on her, Marianne was surprised to find determination rising within her. Surprised, because she did not often need to be brave. She was normally a placid, timid creature, most at home with a book in her hand and harmony and peace all around.
This unknown gentleman was expecting her to simply climb into a carriage beside him – without any chaperone, maid, or footman accompanying them. Perhaps he had a groom? Well, even if he didn’t, it was clear that everyone expected the governess to go with him and be grateful for the ride.
Although he was handsome and strangely compelling, she was almost relieved to be wary of him – being guarded would be much, much safer than being attracted to him.
Torn between the surprising temptation to sit down somewhere safe and wait for an unknown rescuer, and the (even stronger) temptation to run, to get as far away as she could from the danger inherent in being alone in a carriage with a man, Marianne recognised that instead, her best option was simply to get into the carriage and hope she would be safe with him.
*Extract was provided and used with permission from the author as apart of this blog tour post.
Well this is a beautifully written, hopeful and very loving story that really instils in the reader that love really can appear in the most surprising of places when you least expect it. I have said it before but I will say it again, that Catherine Tinley wondrous writer, she takes the reader on an emotional journey to find that elusive happily ever after, I have always felt that she genuinely loves the era and the stories she writes about as her passion just jumps of the page with every word.
Marianne runs away from home after her lecherous, foul and drunken step-brother makes it abundantly clear exactly what he expects from his ward; Marianne. She knows that for as long as she is under his roof she will never be safe, so she flees and takes a position as a governess under the alias of ‘Anne Bolton’. She hopes that as her position is in the country and far away from London she will be safe, but as we all know nothing is ever as it may appear in historical romance and there is always road blocks in the way. That said road block just happens to be the rakish, rude and society loving new Earl Kingswood; Ash.
Ash neither expected the Earldom or wanted it, he has been raised to live life free and basically to do as he pleases with no responsibility, something which he loathes more than actually having the title. So, you can imagine what a kick in the rump it was that the notorious playboy must put others before himself for a change. He had planned to settle what needs to be settled with the estate and then hop it back to London as fast as his beautiful horses will take him, but things tend to always get in the way especially when h meets Marianne.
You can see that there is a spark between them, there are little glances but in all essence it is a will they, wont they love story; which I found utterly charming. But with Marianne having deep secrets and Ash not ready to commit himself, there is a wall between them. What will happen when Marianne’s true identity comes out? – when that does happen it is a fabulous piece of writing.
Even though I did end up falling in love with Ash, I will admit that it took me a while to warm to him. I can’t explain why, I just didn’t feel as drawn to him at first as I usually do with heroes. There was something very self-centred about him that put me of. He did have to work all that much harder to win me over, but I am pleased to say he did. This is what I love and admire about Catherine Tinley, to be able to completely change the readers initial opinion of a character from; ‘Hmmm, I’m not sure I even like this guy.’ to ‘Oh, my goodness! I’m in love!!’ that is a real gift in writing and there are few authors out there who can so easily accomplish it. So, I whole-heartedly applaud you Catherine!
Whereas I instantly connected with Marianne, she is this an amazing young women, to leave home and everything she knew; her whole life is such a strong act. Yes, she had no choice about leaving she knew that if she stayed something terrible would have happened to her at the hands of her foul, lecherous step-brother. Knowing that one must leave is one thing, but for her actually to do it without even a shred of thought of what would happen to her is another. But, yet she takes the bull by the horn and plunges into her secret life as a governess.
This book really conveys just how powerless women were, not just with Marianne having her awful step-brother becoming her guardian, meaning in the eyes of the law she is his and can basically do as he wishes with. But you also see that power being flaunted in the case of the Dowager Countess of Kingswood and her daughter, I won’t say too much about the details as it would give too much of the plot away but there were times when I did feel a pang of pity for the Countess. This is what makes Ms Tinley’s writing pure, realistic and so brilliantly powerful, that us reader go through a monopoly of emotions as we read.
Overall this is a definite must read, I love the personal journey Ash and Marianne go on through out the story, they both have to get past their own personal issues, but I also like that there is an undercurrent of suspense that runs throughout the story. It’s alike a tingling of what is to come, of something more. I have loved every book of Ms Tinley’s that I have read so I knew that I would be in for something great and it doesn’t disappoint.
Very highly recommended!
This was an Arc copy via the author in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, Thank you Catherine and Rachel.
About The Author
Catherine Tinley writes witty, heartwarming Regency love stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She has loved reading and writing since childhood, and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings.
After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, NHS management, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now works in Sure Start. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, and dog and can be reached via the links below.
To be in for a chance of winning one of three signed copies of The Earl’s Runaway Governess, plus a mystery book by another romance writer. The enter via the Rafflecopter form/Link below.
Rafflecopter Giveaway – Enter Here
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*T&C’s : Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
#BlogTour : #Review What We Find by Robyn Carr @RCarrWriter #WhatWeFind @MillsandBoon #MillsandBoonInsiders
I have the great pleasure to be today’s stop on this great blog tour, I will be sharing my review of What We Find by Robyn Carr. So grab a cuppa and let me tell you about this sweet little book.
Under extreme pressure, neurosurgeon Maggie Sullivan knows she needs to slow down before she burns out completely, and the best place she can do that is Sullivan’s Crossing.
Named for Maggie’s great-grandfather, the land and charming general store at the crossroads of the Colorado and the Continental Divide trails now belong to Maggie’s eccentric father, Sully. She relishes the opportunity to indulge in his simple way of life.
But Maggie’s world is rocked and she must take responsibility for the Crossing. When a quiet and serious-looking hiker, Cal Jones, offers to lend a hand, Maggie is suspicious of his motives—until she finds out the true reason for his deliberate isolation.
Though Cal and Maggie each struggle with loss and loneliness, the time they spend together gives Maggie hope for something brighter just on the horizon…if only they can learn to find peace and healing—and perhaps love—with each other.
This is sweet little, easy to read romance that will be perfect for those who are just starting to read the romance genre. But, for me I thought it was a little too predictable and a little too sweet. Don’t get me wrong it is a lovely story, with a satisfying ending, and the scenery and setting is beautiful, but for me it just lacked a certain magic. This is actually the first I have read by Robyn Carr and even though this particular story didn’t rock my romantic soul I would happily read more from Ms Carr.
Neurosurgeon Maggie is on the verge of a breakdown, she has so much piled on top of her, so much that has happened – some which are absolutely heart-breaking – and she knows that if she doesn’t just step back, take a breath and just remove herself from her stressful life she will burn out completely. So, she packs up and heads home, back to her childhood town – which is what we all do right? When life gets difficult we head to the one place where we are happy and that is usually home. From the beginning your heart really goes out for Maggie, she has had to face some really terrible things – things that would have broken many other’s long before now. But she is strong, maybe not at first but I like how as the story goes along her inner strength really comes out.
Once home at Sullivans Crossing all doesn’t exactly go to plan when, yet again Maggie is knocked over by another tragedy, when her father has a heart attack forcing her to stay on and look after him and the family business. This is where charming Cal walks in and offers a friendly helping hand, usually this is where I would go into a huge detailed chapter of how much I liked the couple and how much I loved the hero, but I felt that I couldn’t really envisage Cal – or Maggie for that fact – there isn’t a lot of description about who they are, yes there is a lot of back ground to tell you how they came to be where they are, but that didn’t enlighten me to who they are, what they looked like. And because of that, I couldn’t connect with them or their romance as I usually would. This is what the story was missing, I am a very visual reader, I like knowing who a character is and what they look like but I couldn’t see the character’s.
Overall a basic, sweet romance, a little cheesy and predictable at times but enjoyable none the less. Perfect for those readers who are more about character history and their past journeys instead of readers like me who like to connect and visual the book.
This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, Thank you Sanjana and the Mills and Boon Insiders team.
What We Find is available now and can be found at Amazon.
#BlogTour : The Woman In The Lake by Nicola Cornick @NicolaCornick #Review & Exclusive Extract #WomanInTheLake @HQstories
Hello my lovelies, I have the great pleasure to be todays stop on this great blog tour. I will be sharing my review of The Woman In The Lake, plus I have an exclusive extract. So grab a cuppa and let me tell you a wee bit about the great book.
About The Book
From the bestselling author of House of Shadows and The Phantom Tree comes a spellbinding tale of jealousy, greed, plotting and revenge—part history, part mystery—for fans of Kate Morton, Susanna Kearsley and Barbara Erskine
Lady Isabella Gerard, a respectable member of Georgian society, orders her maid to take her new golden gown and destroy it, its shimmering beauty tainted by the actions of her brutal husband the night before.
Three months later, Lord Gerard stands at the shoreline of the lake, looking down at a woman wearing the golden gown. As the body slowly rolls over to reveal her face, it’s clear this was not his intended victim…
250 Years Later…
When a gown she stole from a historic home as a child is mysteriously returned to Fenella Brightwell, it begins to possess her in exactly the same way that it did as a girl. Soon the fragile new life Fen has created for herself away from her abusive ex-husband is threatened at its foundations by the gown’s power over her until she can’t tell what is real and what is imaginary.
As Fen uncovers more about the gown and Isabella’s story, she begins to see the parallels with her own life. When each piece of history is revealed, the gown—and its past—seems to possess her more and more, culminating in a dramatic revelation set to destroy her sanity.
Eustace April 1765
I know what they will say of me when I am dead. I will be cast as a madman and a fool. They will blame the divorce, so scandalous for a peer of the realm, and claim that it drove me to misery and delusion, that it turned my mind. They will rake up all the old gossip and call my wife a whore. It pleases me that society will slander Isabella over again. I will gladly tolerate being painted a cuckold and a weakling if it hurts her. I wish I could hurt her more but she is beyond my reach now, more is the pity. There are those who call me a wicked man. They are wrong. True evil requires intent and I never had the will or the cunning to be truly wicked.
Only once was I tempted to commit murder and even then it was not my fault, for I swear I was possessed. It was the golden gown that moved me to evil and the gown that led to that most terrible mistake. I remember the horror of it to this day. I still see the scene so clear before my eyes. She was walking ahead of me, through the dappled moonlight, and I recognised the gown and hastened my step.
I swear I had no fixed intention, no thought of murder, not at that moment. I wanted to talk, to reason with her. Then, on the path by the mill, she seemed to stumble and fall and all of a sudden I was seized by the thought that this was my chance to be rid of the threat for ever. I could not bring myself to touch her directly so I nudged her body with my boot and she rolled gently, so gently, over the edge and into the pool. I see it all again: the silver moon swimming beneath the water and the golden gown billowing out about her like a shroud slowly unfurling. I needed to claim that gown but my fear made me clumsy and I ripped it from her body when it would not yield to my hands.
I break out into a cold sweat whenever I remember. Everything is so vivid. The sweet scent of lime blossom mingled with the stink of dank weed from the millpond, the endless roar of the water over the sluice like the rush to bedlam. And then…
The body rolled over in the water and I saw her properly for the first time in the moon’s reflected glow. It was not the face of my nemesis. I stood there with the gown dripping in my hands and then I was sick; sick with revulsion, sick with fear, sick with disappointment. Binks came upon me as I knelt there, retching up my guts.
‘I will attend to this, Lord Gerard,’ he said, as though he were my butler tidying away a glass of spilt wine.
‘You should have left it with me, as we agreed.’ Binks was a damned impertinent fellow but a useful one and I was not going to argue with him. I took my carriage back to Lydiard House and I sat here in my study and drank more than I had ever taken before.
I was out cold for three days. When I came to my senses the first thing I saw was the golden gown draped across the end of my bed like a reproachful ghost. I wanted to be rid of it, to burn it, rip it to shreds or give it to the first beggar woman I saw but at the same time I was too afraid; afraid that somehow, some day, it would return to haunt me.
My only safety lay in keeping it close to me. Wherever I went the gown came with me, wrapped up tightly, hidden away to contain its poison, but with me all the same. And that is how it haunted me for ever after. That is how it has possessed me, in mind and body. I have no notion what happened after I left Binks to do the work that I dared not do. I heard reports of the tragedy of course, for the servants were full of the story and it was in all the local newspapers. It was a famous scandal that respected Swindon banker and businessman Samuel Lawrence had drowned his wife in the millpond and then apparently taken his own life, following her down into those dark waters.
In time I almost came to believe those stories myself. Except that for as long as the gown is with me, I will remember the truth. I will remember Binks, who disappeared like a will-o’-the-wisp once the deed was done, and I will remember Binks’s men, the Moonrakers, hard men, smugglers, criminals. I have lived in fear of them these past twenty years for I know they hate me for killing one of their own.
My life is so much more precious, infinitely more important than theirs, and yet I live in fear of a gang of felons. From the drawing room window I can see the lake here at Lydiard Park glittering in the morning sun. On the days when I am too drink-sodden and addled to walk, the steward places me here, telling me that it will raise my spirits to see the world outside. Little does he know that nothing could cause me more pain than to look upon the shining water. Or perhaps he does know it, and places me here to torment me. Perhaps he hates me too.
The Moonrakers will come for me soon. This morning I received a token from their leader. It was such a beautiful gift, an inlaid box. I unwrapped it with greedy excitement until I saw the tiepin inside with the design of a hanged man, the word ‘remember’, and the initials C. L. Then I dropped it and it went skittering away across the floor propelled by my revulsion. She need have no fear. I shall never forget that day. The gown will remind me. It will possess me to my last breath. The sun swims under the rippling water and the day turns dark.
The Moonrakers are ready. Ready to fish for their fortunes again, ready for time to repeat itself, ready for the secrets to be told.
She could never forget the day she stole the gown. Twenty-three of them visited Lydiard Park that day. It should have been twenty-five but Emily Dunn had chickenpox and Lauren Featherstone’s parents had taken her on holiday to Greece despite the fact that it was still term time, and Mrs Holmes, the headmistress, disapproved. Mr Featherstone paid the fees, though, so Mrs Holmes kept quiet. There were three teachers as well, not that many to keep them all under control. Two of them looked harassed – Miss Littlejohn always looked harassed, and Mr Cash didn’t really like children much – they all knew it even though he never said so – but Miss French was all relaxed and smiley. Miss French was cool, more like a big sister than a teacher.
‘Just one more room to visit, girls,’ she coaxed, when they all started to drag their heels due to heat and tiredness and endless stately home corridors, ‘and then we can go to the tearoom and the shop.’ Fen didn’t have any money to spend in the shop because her grandmother had forgotten again. She wasn’t sure if anyone remembered to pay her school fees either but until someone said something she was stuck at St Hilda’s and that was fine. She’d been to worse schools, plenty of them, some of them boarding, some not. She made friends quickly and easily because she’d learned how. It was either that or forever be the loner, the outsider, the one who came and went without leaving a trace.
‘Fen,’ Jessie, her best friend, all brown curls and bossiness, was pulling on her sleeve. ‘Come on.’ But Fen lingered in the state bedroom as the gaggle of schoolgirls in their red and white summer dresses and red blazers went chattering through the doorway into the drawing room.
As soon as they were gone the silence swept back in like a tide, cutting her off. It was odd, as though a thick door had slammed somewhere separating her from the rest of the world. She could hear her own breathing, feel the sun on her face as it fell through the high windows to speckle the wooden floor. It wasn’t a room that appealed to her at all.
Her bedroom in her grandmother Sarah’s house in West Swindon was quite small, painted pale green and had an accumulation of vintage bits of china and glass and other small pieces that Sarah had encouraged her to buy on their trips to the flea markets and car boot sales. This huge space with its flock allpaper, soaring white pillars and four poster bed with its embroidered hangings seemed completely lifeless. It was no one’s room, merely a museum. The whole place felt empty to her and a bit creepy; the other rooms held waxwork figures in period dress that had made her shudder. The other girls had giggled over them but Fen had imagined them as zombies or automatons come to life, stalking the corridors of the old house.
There was a door in the corner and beyond it a room that looked to be full of light. It beckoned to her. Fen peeped inside. It was small, oval-shaped, painted in blue and white like the Wedgwood vases that her grandmother collected. What caught her eye, though, was the stained glass window with its tiny little painted panels depicting colourful pictures of fruit, flowers, animals – was that an elephant? – something that looked half-man half-goat, a ship to sail away in, a mermaid…
The window enchanted her. She stretched out a hand towards the light, wanting to touch those bright panes and experience that vivid world but before her fingers touched the glass there was the sound of running footsteps behind her.
‘Fen! Fenella! Where are you?’ It was Jessie’s voice, anxious and breathless now. Fen dropped her hand and turned quickly, hurrying back through the door of the closet into the bedroom beyond. Jessie was not there. Everything looked the same, as empty and lifeless as before. And yet on second glance it did not. It took Fen a moment to realise what was different. The shutters at the windows were now closed and the lamps were lit; they smelled unpleasantly of oil and heat.
Perhaps one of the curators had come in whilst she was in the blue closet and had decided to block out the bright sun in case it damaged the furnishings. That was not the only difference though. The bed was rumpled, covers thrown back, and the wardrobe door was half-open, revealing shelves of clothes within that looked as though they had been tossed aside by an impatient hand. All of a sudden the place looked lived in rather than frozen in time. It was an unsettling feeling; instead of making the house seem more real, it gave Fen the creeps. Looking straight ahead, she was aware that her heart was suddenly beating hard but was not quite sure why. She walked quickly through into the drawing room to find the rest of the pupils. In the drawing room the differences were even more marked.
There was a fire burning fiercely in the grate even though here the shutters were thrown back and the room was in full sunlight. It was so hot and airless that Fen felt the sweat spring on the back of her neck and trickle uncomfortably beneath her collar. The whole house was as quiet as a sepulchre. It was uncanny. Over the high back of one chair, shimmering in the light with a soft, golden glow, was the most beautiful dress Fen had ever seen. She stared at it. It felt almost impossible to tear her gaze away. She did not even realise that she had started to move towards it; her hand was on the material and it felt as soft as clouds, lighter than air, a trail of silver and gold spangled with stars.
‘Pound? Where the hell are you, man?’ Fen had not seen the figure sitting before the window, almost hidden by the high curved back of a wing chair. She jumped at the crack of his voice and spun around. He was fair, florid, dressed in a wig and poorly fitting jacket with some sort of scarf wound carelessly about his neck and a waistcoat flapping open. He looked bad-tempered and drunk. Fen was only thirteen but she knew an alcoholic when she saw one. She could smell the fumes on him from where she was standing. Nevertheless she opened her mouth to apologise. He was probably a re-enactor of some sort, or a room steward, although really it didn’t seem appropriate to have drunks in costume wandering about the place.
‘I got lost—’ Quick, facile lies came easily to Fen, they were her survival tactics. But the drunk wasn’t looking at her, more over her shoulder towards the doorway.
‘Pound!’ the man roared. ‘Damn you, get in here now and pour me more wine!’ There was a bottle on the table, Fen saw, cruelly placed either by accident or design just out of his reach. He lurched forward and almost fell from the chair, clutching at the sides to steady himself. She saw his face clearly then; the vicious lines drawn deep about the mouth, the pain and frustration and anger in the eyes. Panic seized her. She wondered if she had unwittingly stumbled into some sort of performance put on for the visitors. Yet that didn’t feel right. There was no audience apart from her and the intensity of the man’s fury and desolation seemed all too visceral. She needed to get out of there.
‘Take me…’ The golden gown seemed to call to her. She felt the allure of it and was powerless to resist. The impulse was so strong and so sudden that she reacted instinctively. She grabbed the gown and ran, fumbling to push it into her rucksack, her feet slipping and sliding on the wooden floor. She was panting, her heart thumping, and she stopped only when she burst through the doorway into the hall and saw the startled faces of staff and visitors turned in her direction.
‘Fenella Brightwell?’ A woman with iron-grey hair and an iron demeanour, a museum piece herself, marched up to her.
‘Yes,’ Fen said. Her mind was still grappling with what she had seen; with the violence and the anger. Were they making a film? How embarrassing if she had accidentally wandered onto the set mid-performance. She would never live that down. Everyone would be laughing at her. No doubt the iron woman was about to tell her off.
‘We’ve been looking for you everywhere,’ the woman said. Her grey eyes snapped with irritation. ‘The rest of your group have gone back to the coach. If you run you might catch them.’
‘What? Oh, thank you.’ Fen was still distracted by the scene in the drawing room and the old man. There had been something pathetic about his impotent desperation. ‘Excuse me,’ she said, very politely, ‘but is there some sort of film being made in the drawing room? Only there was an old man sitting in a chair by the window and I thought—’
‘It’s forbidden to sit on the furniture,’ the woman said. ‘How many times do I have to tell people?’ And she stalked off towards the drawing room. Fen hoisted her rucksack onto her shoulder and went outside. It was a relief to be out in the fresh air. There had been something smothering about the room and its occupant, brim-full of anger and misery.
She started to walk up the wide gravel path through the woods. She had no intention of running all the way back to the car park. The coach wouldn’t go without her. The teachers would get into too much trouble if they did. She looked back at the house. There were visitors milling around in the drawing room. She could see them through the glass of the sash windows. The chair looking out over the gardens was empty. It was odd that the drunk had disappeared but perhaps the iron-grey woman had thrown him out already. He was probably homeless or care in the community, or something. She had more pressing things to think about anyway, such as the need for a plausible excuse for where she had been so that the teachers didn’t get cross with her.
‘You got locked in the lavatory!’ Miss French said, eyes lighting up with amusement, as Fen clambered aboard the coach and made her apologies. ‘Oh, Fenella! Only you!’ Even harassed Miss Littlejohn relaxed into a smile. Mr Cash didn’t; he looked hot and annoyed and had been searching the gardens for her. He didn’t look as though he believed her either but Fen didn’t care.
‘I looked for you everywhere,’ Jessie whispered, as Fen slid into the seat next to her. ‘How did you get out?’
‘They had to break the door in,’ Fen said. ‘The lock had jammed. They sent for a carpenter.’ She smiled. ‘He was cute.’
‘Fen was rescued by a cute carpenter,’ Jessie said, giggling, to Kesia, who was sitting across the aisle. Word went around the coach. Soon everyone was hanging over the back of the seats or crowding the aisle, wanting to know what her rescuer had looked like.
‘Sit down, girls,’ Mr Cash snapped. ‘You’re a health and safety hazard.’ There was more giggling at that. The coach dropped Fen off at the end of her grandmother’s road. No one else from school lived in The Planks, although the houses were very nice. Most of the girls lived in the picture postcard villages outside Swindon rather than in the town itself. There was always a slight drawing back, eyebrows raised in surprise, when Fen mentioned that she lived in town so she never told anyone.
When she pushed open the back door she could hear the sound of the television, very loud. It was four thirty. Her grandmother would already be halfway down her second bottle of wine by now, watching the afternoon soaps with her spaniel, Scampi, sleeping next to her. Fen didn’t interrupt her. Her grandmother was a happy drunk but not if someone disturbed her when she was watching TV. Anyway, she had homework to do, an essay on the visit to Lydiard Park, but that could wait. She rummaged in her coat pocket and took out a battered copy of Bliss magazine that she had found under Kesia’s seat in the coach and lay back on her bed with a contented sigh. She thought that Kes had probably dropped the magazine accidentally rather than finished with it but her loss was Fen’s gain. She’d give it back when she had read it since Kes was her friend. At five o’clock the living room door banged and there were footsteps on the stairs.
‘Fenella!’ Her grandmother never called her Fen. She thought it was common to shorten people’s names. ‘Darling!’ Her grandmother rushed in and wrapped her in a wine and patchouli scented hug. ‘How was the trip? Did you have fun?’
‘It was great, thanks.’ Fen never told her grandmother anything significant. She had learned long ago only to give adults information on a need-to-know basis. Perhaps the lesson had been learned when she had first tried to explain to her mother about her grandmother’s drinking. ‘We all like a glass of sweet sherry now and then, Fenella,’ her mother had said on a crackly telephone line from Patagonia, where she had been leading an archaeological dig. ‘Don’t worry about it. Your gran is fine.’
It was then that Fen had realised she was on her own. Her father had run off with one of his PhD students when she was only seven; they didn’t talk anymore, in fact she had no idea where he was, or even if he was dead or alive. One of her brothers was at boarding school, the other on a gap year in Malawi. Her elder sister, Pepper, was with their mother in Argentina, working as an unpaid assistant on the dig. Fen couldn’t tell either Jessie or Kesia about her gran, even though they were her closest friends at school. They might laugh at her or tell other people. It was too much of a risk.
‘I must show you the bracelet I bought in a charity shop this afternoon,’ Fen’s grandmother was saying. ‘I’m sure they’re real rubies, and nineteenth century too!’
‘Well, you never know,’ Fen said, squeezing her hand. She felt a rush of affection for Sarah. Her grandmother had been there for her when everyone else had buggered off and left her, and that counted for a lot even if it meant that Fen was looking after Sarah most of the time rather than vice versa. Besides, she knew that Sarah was sad. Fen didn’t remember her grandfather, who had died when she was only three, but by all accounts he had been a wonderful man as well as a rich one. Once widowed, Sarah had had plenty of suitors, as she quaintly called the men who were after Granddad’s money, but none of them held a candle to him. ‘What’s for tea?’ her grandmother asked now. With a sigh, Fen put aside the magazine and stood up. She knew she had better find something or it would be a tin of baked beans again.
It was only later that she opened her rucksack. The golden dress from Lydiard Park was bundled up inside. Fen had known it was there, of course, but she had deliberately ignored it because to think about it was too difficult. She didn’t know why she had stolen it. She wished she hadn’t. Sometimes she took small things: sweets from the post office, a pair of tights or some lipstick or face cream. She didn’t do it for the excitement. It was weird really. It scared her but at the same time she needed to do it. The impulse was uncontrollable. She had no idea why. It wasn’t as though she needed to steal.
Her grandmother was generous with pocket money when she remembered. It wasn’t even as though Fen wanted the things she took. She usually threw them away. The golden gown, though… That had felt different. The impulse to take it had been more powerful than anything she had ever previously known. It had been totally instinctive and irresistible, which was very frightening.
She wondered if anyone had noticed that it had disappeared. Surely they must and tomorrow there would be a message waiting for her to go to Mrs Holmes’s office and she would be arrested for theft, and then she would need to make up another story and convince them that she had taken it by accident. She screwed her eyes tight shut. She wasn’t a bad person. She did her best. But sometimes she just could not help herself. She should give the gown back. She should own up before anyone asked her. Fen stood irresolute for a moment in the middle of the bedroom floor, clutching the gown to her chest. She did not want to let it go. Already it felt too precious, too secret and too special. It wasn’t the sort of dress she would ever wear but, even so, she knew how important it was. She just knew it.
Her palms itched. Was it guilt? Greed? She was not sure. She only knew that it was essential that she should keep the gown. It was hers now.
She laid it flat on the desk and looked at it in the light from the anglepoise lamp. The material felt as soft as feathers, as light as clouds, just as it had when she had first touched it. It was so fine. She had never seen anything so pretty. The gold glowed richly and in the weave there was a bright silver thread creating elaborate patterns. Lace adorned the neck and dripped from the sleeves. Then she noticed the tears, two of them, ugly rips in the material, one at the waist, one on the bodice. She felt a sense of fury that anyone would damage the gown. She would have to sew it up and make it whole again. She felt compelled to repair it at once. The sensation was quite uncomfortable. It was urgent, fierce, as though the dress possessed her as much as she possessed it. She did not like the way it seemed to control her and tell her what to do. It felt as though she should go and find the needlework box and start work on the repairs at once.
Fen didn’t like anyone telling her what to do. She fought hard against the need to do as the dress demanded and folded it up again, very carefully, and placed it in the bottom drawer of the battered chest in the corner of the room. She didn’t like the chest much but Sarah had bought it at an antique fair in Hungerford and had sworn it was Chippendale. There was nowhere in the house for it to go so it had ended up in Fen’s room, the home for homeless objects. She pushed the drawer closed and the golden radiance of the gown disappeared. Immediately she felt a little easier, safer in some odd way. Out of sight, out of mind. She could forget that she had stolen it now, forget the drunken man and his fury, the over-heated room, the smothering blanket of silence. She wanted to forget and yet at the same time the gown would not allow it… The phone rang downstairs, snapping the intense quiet and freeing her. Fen waited for Sarah to answer it but there was no sound, no movement above the noise of the television. The bell rang on and on. It would be her mother, Lisa, Fen thought, checking the time. It was early evening in Patagonia.
She could tell her all about the visit to Lydiard House and how she had got locked in the lavatory even though she hadn’t. At the end her mother would say ‘only you, Fenella,’ like Miss French had, and laugh, and they would both be happy because everything seemed normal even if it wasn’t really. Her mother never wanted to know if there was anything wrong. She certainly would never want to know that her daughter had stolen a gown from a stately home, a gown that even now Fen itched to take from its hiding place and hug close to her. It felt like a battle of wills, as though she was possessed. Which was weird because at the end of the day it was only a dress. She went to answer the phone and when she had finished chatting to her mother and had roused Sarah, grumbling, from the ten o’clock news, she went to bed.
She half-expected to dream about the gown since it was preying on her mind but in the end she didn’t dream about anything at all and in the morning she got up and went to school and she wasn’t called into Mrs Holmes’s office and no one talked about the visit to Lydiard at all. On the way home she went into town with Jessie, Kesia, Laura and a few others, and when they weren’t watching, she pocketed a silver necklace from the stand on the counter in the chemist shop. It was only a cheap little thing and when she got back and put it on the desk it looked dull in the light. One of the links was already broken. She knew she wouldn’t wear it so it didn’t matter. That wasn’t why she had taken it. There wasn’t a good reason for her actions. The dress, the necklace… She just had to take things. It made her feel better for about five minutes but then afterwards she felt worse.
‘Fenella!’ Her grandmother was calling her. Fen wondered if they had run out of milk. She hadn’t had chance to do the shopping yet. ‘Jessie’s mother’s here,’ Sarah said when Fen came downstairs. ‘She wonders if you would like to go over for tea?’
‘That would be lovely,’ Fen said. At least that way she would get a meal she hadn’t had to cook herself. Through the window she could see Jessie in the back of the Volvo and Jessie’s older brother – a thin, intense boy with a lock of dark hair falling across his forehead – in the front. He looked impatient. She grabbed her bag and ignored the coat Sarah was holding out to her. Old people always thought you had to wear a coat or you’d catch a chill but she never felt the cold.
For a moment she wondered what sort of state Sarah would be in when she got home but she pushed the thought away. It would good to be part of a proper family even if it was only for one evening. Perhaps Jessie’s mum would make shepherd’s pie and they could all sit around the telly and maybe she might even be asked to stay over. She sat in the back of the car beside Jessie and looked at the little silver charm in the shape of padlock that was attached to Jessie’s mum’s handbag. It was a pretty little thing and Fen badly wanted to take it, so badly it felt as though her fingers were itching. In the end she never got the chance but when she went to the cloakroom later she found another silver charm just lying on the windowsill, this one shaped like a letter A. She took that instead. She didn’t like taking things from Jessie’s house but the urge was just too strong and in the end there was nothing she could do to resist.
By the time Mrs Ross took her home she had also taken a little leather notebook and a nerdy-looking digital watch that probably belonged to Jessie’s brother. She didn’t like the watch; it was ugly, so she threw it in the bin as soon as she got home.
This is the first Nicola Cornick book I have read in ages, why I don’t know as she is a wonderful author, an author who grabs your attention right from the first page. I can only put it down to way too many books on my over flowing TBR pile, but I will definitely be squeezing in more Nicola Cornick books in the future.
This is a dark, mysterious, gorgeous, edge-of-your-seat story that will grab you the moment you open the first page. With the exciting, supernatural undercurrent and a great twisty tale The Woman In The Lake is a fantastic read that you will devour in one.
The Woman In The Lake is a time slip story, set in both the Georgian era and in the present. It tells the stories of three women, Isabella, Constance and Fenella all mysteriously linked together across the centuries via a beautiful golden dress that appears to have other-worldly powers. The dress was given to Lady Isabella by her malicious and abusive husband, really he is a nasty piece of work. Constance is Lady Isabella’s maid, who tries her best to look after Isabella and protect her as best she can and finally we have Fenella (Fen) who once in the possession of the dress she finds that the dress has dark powers which seem to control her very actions and makes her do things she wouldn’t normally.
I can’t really go into too much detail with this review as I wouldn’t wish to give too much away about the plot, I am not one to give spoilers. But I will say that this is brilliant and the real pull for me was the character’s which are wonderfully complex and at times flawed individuals, who you will become fully absorbed into each of their stories.
I was fascinated by this the moment I saw it, and I knew that I had to read it. I am so glad that I got the chance as it is a real edge of your seat, breath-taking book which not only takes you on a thrilling foray into the past but also keeps you guessing with the mystery. I loved how the story was told through the eyes of three women; Lady Isabella, Constance in the past and Fenella in the present, the way the story jumps from one era to the next with the past and present so intricately entwined is expertly written, not once was I confused as to who was who and which era I was reading. There is a real skill in time slip stories and Ms Cornick has got the gift of writing them with confidence and surety.
Over all an engaging, compelling, atmospheric and at times chilling story that you won’t be able to put down.
This was an Arc copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you Lucy.
The Lady In The lake is available now and can be purchased from Amazon.
*Images and extract were provided by publisher who gave permission for the use of in this post.
#BlogTour : #Review The Beauty Of The Wolf by Wray Delaney @TheSallyGardner #TheBeautyOfTheWolf #WrayDelaney @HQStories
I have the huge pleasure to be todays stop on this amazing blog tour and to be sharing my review of this stunning book. So grab a cuppa, sit back an let me tell you all about this enchanting book.
‘What some might call beauty, I find monstrous’
In the age of the Faerie Queene, Elizabeth I, Lord Francis Rodermere starts to lay waste to a forest.Furious, the sorceress who dwells there scrawls acurse into the bark of the first oak he fells: A faerie boywill be born to you whose beauty will be your death.
Ten years later, Lord Rodermere’s son Beau is born and all who encounter him are struck by his great beauty. Meanwhile many miles away in a London alchemist’s cellar lives Randa a beast deemed too monstrous to see the light of day.
And so begins a timeless tale of love, tragedy and revenge.
A Stunning retelling of Beauty and the Beast!.
I have only one word for this book, and that is; stunning! I know I say the same about an awful lot of the books that I have read but this is something special. I have never read anything like it before and I doubt I will read anything quite as beautiful as this again. This could very well be the best book I have read!
I was instantly fascinated by this book, the premise of the story was a lure that I couldn’t pass. But I was just blown away, right from the first page I knew that I had opened a once in a life time book and it is. It’s enchanting, beautiful and full of eternal love.
The Beauty of the Wolf tells the story of how one action can start a whole line of events some good and some very bad, how our actions will always be weighed and measured and when that happens you will have to face and live with the repercussions. Just as Francis; Lord Rodermere had to face! When he callously cut down some of the trees to the Faerie woods to build his ‘House of the Three Turrets’ the Sorceress vowed she would have her revenge and laid a curse upon not only his head but that of his son; Beau.
Beau is cursed with beauty so enchanting that any who sees him will instantly be enchanted by the Faerie boy, be he also has a cursed that weighs heavy on his beautiful shoulders a destiny as such that he will be the death of his father.
But the Sorceresses plan back fires as Beau isn’t at all what she had planned him to be, he is nothing like his cold, ruthless and hated father. He is good, kind, caring and loyal.
Far away in a grimy and cold cellar in London lives Randa, born human but due to an act by her father she is now a beast of nightmares. Seen to be cold, heart-less, evil and soul-less a beast that isn’t capable of anything more than killing. But lonely Randa is far more than what people see of her, she is full of life and love but she has been treated with hate and fear all her life, except by a rare few.
Both Randa and Beau are stuck in lives that is against them, but as with the original fairy-tale there is light a head for both and that light is each other. But, as they are so different and both set to follow different path’s, and so begins a story of true love and tragedy.
The Beauty of the Wolf is an original and imaginative re-telling of one of my whole time favourite fairy-tales; Beauty and the Beast but with a twist, and it is that twist away from the original well-loved story that really sets this apart from any other book. Instead of the beast being the man in this it is in fact the woman, which really speaks the female readers especially. After all what woman has felt like a ‘Beast’ at one time or another? What woman doesn’t look in the mirror and constantly find something we hate about what we see? Writing the ‘Beast’ as a woman is a stroke of genius and it is that element that so many will utterly love about this book, it is putting every woman’s thoughts of their selves into perspective. I would call that; empowering!
I am so in love with this, the story is simply beautiful. I was instantly pulled into the Faerie world where Beau and Randa dwell as the writing is mesmerizing it is so full of passion and charm, Ms Delaney takes the reader away and transports them to this far of Faerie world with her unique and hugely lovable characters, who even though they are from the world of magic you can relate to them. The story is utterly enchanting, moving, passionate full of love and danger, captivating and spell-binding.
I can guarantee that you will fall utterly in love with this story, you will feel every emotion that Beau, Randa and even the Sorceress feel. You will walk in their footsteps and become enchanted.
No, other word but; Perfection!
This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, Thank you Lily!
The Beauty Of The Wolf is available now and can be found at Amazon.