Book Reviews

#BlogTour | The Turncoat by T.J London #TheTurncoat #Review & Exclusive Extract @TJLondonauthor @hfvtb #HFVTBBlogtours

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Hello my lovely readers! I have the huge pleasure to be todays stop on this wonderful blog tour, for The Turncoat by T.J London. Not only will I be sharing my review of this rich and gripping book, but I also have an exclusive excerpt, plus a chance for you to win some amazing goodies. So grab a cuppa and enjoy.

The Turncoat by T.J. London

Publication Date: May 23, 2019
Format: eBook & Paperback

Series: The Rebels and Redcoats Saga, Book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction



Spy. Redcoat. Traitor.

After Captain John Carlisle’s dance with death, he’s retreated to the serenity of the Oneida village with his beloved Dellis McKesson, trying to hide from the inevitable truth: war is coming. But when duty calls, and John’s expertise is needed to negotiate a treaty between the Six Nations of the Iroquois and the Crown, he’ll once again be faced with a decision: his King or his conscience.

Many truths that have yet to be revealed, and a deal with the Devil made in desperation, threatens to ruin Dellis and John’s hard-won love. As ghosts of the past resurface, and bitter family rivalry exposes betrayal from those closest to her, Dellis is dragged down a devastating path to the truth of her parents’ murders.

Now, the die is cast as war comes to the Mohawk River Valley in the Summer of 1777. St. Leger and his native allies siege Fort Stanwix. They’re also plotting a secret attack that will force the Rebels and the Oneida to face off against the Crown and their allies, further dividing John’s loyalties, leaving him on the precipice of another decision: Rebel or Redcoat?

Available in eBook and Paperback


Exclusive Excerpt

John addressed Brant with a nod. “Tell me your plan, Chief?”

The colonists will be coming from the east, down the old military trails from German Flats towards Stanwix,” Brant said in his low, distinct voice.

John reached into his tunic and pulled out the maps from his breast pocket. Nervously, he fumbled through them, looking for the ones he made when he was living at The Thistle. Dropping one on the ground, General St. Leger leaned over and picked it up, taking a moment to unfold it.

With a grin, St. Leger pointed to the paper. “An interesting map you have here, but have you marked off all the strategic places a man should pay attention to when in pursuit?”

Excuse me?” John eyes widened with confusion, and then suddenly, it dawned on him what the General was referring to. “I’m sorry, sir. That wasn’t meant—”

She’s quite striking.” The General turned the picture, taking a moment to admire it. “Is this your wife?”

John bit back a yes for her protection; the fewer people who knew about his association with Dellis, the better. “A former mistress.”

One so lovely should not be former, Captain. When this war is over, if I were you, I’d remedy that situation… with haste. And the good thing is, the war will be over very soon.” The General handed the picture to John. He folded it up and stuck it back in his tunic, close to his heart.

With a deep breath, John unfolded one of the maps and placed on the table. “Sir, this shows all the military roads from Fort Dayton in German Flats and the path through the forest to Stanwix.”

John pointed to the map, drawing an imaginary line with his finger. “The best place to approach the colonists would be here.” With his fingertip, he directed their attention to a little spot on the map near Oriska. “There are two ravines; at the bottom of the first one is a swamp and a small bridge, and after that, the road does a sharp climb and then turns southwest to bypass another ravine just over here.” He pointed to the right of the road. “The road turns west, climbs through the woods, and then dips into another ravine and across another creek.” He looked up at St. Leger and the men standing around the table observing. “This is a perfect location; you have the advantage. The colonists will be on low ground, condensed as a group, and unable to see due to the thick foliage and the slope of the road.”

This is what I said!” Joseph Brant yelled, pointing to the map. “You trust his word and not mine?”

No, my friend,” St. Leger said calmly, putting his hands up, trying to placate the volatile Mohawk. “We merely wanted to confirm it. As you can see, Captain Carlisle was able to provide us with a map we can use to better plan your strategy.”

I disagree with this whole idea. We outnumber the Rebels here at Stanwix, and we can outnumber them on the road. Why not send a parley before this turns into a bloody battle?” Colonel Johnson asked.

I agree.” Butler added, “This could turn into an ambush, and it may not be necessary. We should parley.”

You’re weak fools. They won’t parley! Don’t you understand?” Brant yelled, his face turning red with rage. “Not a week ago I encountered Cox and some of the militia. They’re preparing to fight to the death. The Oneida and Tuscarora have sided with them; surely, they’ll be there, too. It’s a betrayal, both by the colonists and our brothers. We must strike swiftly and now! If you’re not brave enough, my men and I will go alone.”

Brant, we’re just as disturbed by the actions of our brothers, but if we can try and salvage our relations, then we should,” Cornplanter said, his calm voice in stark contrast to the rantings of the Mohawk.

St. Leger’s eyes flashed to John. “How should we do this?”

The weight of the world had once again been thrust on his shoulders, but he held on tightly, rising to the challenge. “What men are you taking with you?”

Colonel Johnson will lead the group with two-hundred men, consisting of rangers and some Jägers; Joseph Brant and Cornplanter will bring five hundred of their natives to assist.”

John looked at the map, sizing up the attack. “I’d wait until the full brigade was between the two ravines, catch them when the rear is on the bridge of the first ravine and the front regiment is climbing the slope of the second ravine. You have the perfect locale for a frontal assault of the first regiment; hit them hard and prevent them from advancing, and they won’t be able to back up or move with the rest of their men coming up the ravine. They’ll be trapped in the lowland. Then, the rest of the men can attack the body of the army in-between on the high ground. Have a group on either side of the road taking shots at them. Make sure you bring Lights; you’ll need your best shooters to be effective in the environment. The forest is so dense in that area that it practically blocks out the sun.”

Is this not what I told you!” Brant raged again.

Yes, it is.” General St. Leger nodded at Brant in appreciation. “Thank You, Captain Carlisle, for your information. It was most helpful.”

John stepped back, his eyes scanning the map, making sure every detail he provided was correct. After a moment of quiet, St. Leger spoke. “Tomorrow morning, we strike. Colonel Johnson, you’ll lead the contingent, and Brant will coordinate and plan the attack. It’s settled.”


When I featured the cover reveal for this earlier this year, I thought; “Oooh, this sounds so good, I definitely need to read this one.” and it didn’t disappoint, it has everything I look for in a historical fiction book; huge amounts of brilliantly researched history, great, edge of your seat, page-turning story and a lovely romance. But for me, I felt like I was standing on the outside looking through a tinted window trying to grasp what was going on, which let me first point out has nothing at all to do with the authors writing, or the story, but everything to do with me not reading the previous books.

Full disclosure I hadn’t read this authors work before this, I was fascinated though, personally speaking I did have this feeling that I had missed out on something profound that I think comes from reading the series in order. I did get a sense that you need to read the books in order to fully grasp the love story between John and Dellis, but apart from my personal misgivings about it – which really are my own doing for not reading the first books – this is great read, it has got a great energy fluidity to it that keeps you reading, for me it is the realism in the dialogue and the descriptions that really grab your attention, yes there are parts when I went; “Ooh, did I really read that?” but this is an historical and that means there must be the more ….eye opening and uncomfortable moments.

The story opens with the lead characters John and his intended preparing for their wedding, now I did get the feeling this is a on going storyline through the books, I’m not sure if that is true or not, but that’s how I read it. John is trying to stay out of the fighting, all he wants is to stay with Dellis and be at peace, but we all know that isn’t going to happen, don’t we? And true to form, he gets the worst possible news he can get; he must once again pick up arms and do his duty. He has been tasked with negotiating a treaty between the six nations and the British, you can imagine how John is feeling right at this moment. Being a British Spy and now being apart of the Oneida family, he is torn between his love and his country.

As you might expect this is an explosive read, there is a drama galore, passion, danger, spies and a really twisty, intriguing tale of love, honour and duty. The writing is flawless, it entwines a passionate, bloody history with a complex story about a man who only wants to the right thing.

For those who love their deeper detailed historical fiction then this is the book for them.


About the Author

T.J. London is a rebel, liberal, lover, fighter, diehard punk, and pharmacist-turned-author who loves history. As an author her goal is to fill in the gaps, writing stories about missing history, those little places that are so interesting yet sadly forgotten. Her favorite time periods to write in are first and foremost the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, the French and Indian War, the Russian Revolution and the Victorian Era. Her passions are traveling, writing, reading, barre, and sharing a glass of wine with her friends, while she collects experiences in this drama called life. She is a native of Metropolitan Detroit (but secretly dreams of being a Londoner) and resides there with her husband Fred and her beloved cat and writing partner Mickey.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Blog Tour Schedule

Do visit the other blogs which are participating in this blog tour.

Monday, July 8
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, July 9
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, July 10
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 11
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Friday, July 12
Excerpt at Words and Peace

Saturday, July 13
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Monday, July 15
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, July 16
Review at Gwendalyn_Books_

Wednesday, July 17
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Review & Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Thursday, July 18
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Friday, July 19
Review at Broken Teepee
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots



During the Blog Tour, we are giving away some fabulous prizes! To enter, please use the Gleam form below here : The Turncoat

1. A Signed copy of each of my Revolutionary books
2. A bag with my Revolutionary Author Logo
3. A Sterling Silver Tricorn hat charm, so you’re always in style
4. My favorite T-Shirt to wear when I write my Revolutionary tales, that says: The original New England Patriots, from 1630 in Boston
5. A stuffed founding father doll by Little Thinkers to inspire the Rebel in you
6. And a Founding Father book of quotes. Seditious banter from our brash Rebels!

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.


#BlogTour | The Earl In Black Armour by Nancy Blanton #TheEarlInBlackArmour #Review #HFVBTBlogTours @nancy_blanton @hfvbt

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Hello my lovely readers! I have the massive pleasure to be todays stop on this amazing blog tour for; The Earl In The Black Armour by Nancy Blanton, not only am I sharing my review of this hugely impressive book, but there is a chance for you to win a signed copy of The Earl in Black Armour – not to be missed. So, grab yourself a cuppa and enjoy.

The Earl in Black Armor by Nancy Blanton

Publication Date: March 17, 2019
Publisher: Ellys-Daughtrey Books
Format: eBook, Paperback, Hardcover

Genre: Historical Fiction



Ireland, 1635.

When the clan leader sends Faolán Burke to Dublin to spy on Thomas Wentworth, the ruthless Lord Deputy of Ireland, the future of his centuries-old clan rests upon his shoulders. Wentworth is plotting to acquire clan lands of Connacht for an English Protestant plantation. To stop him, Faolán must discover misdeeds that could force King Charles to recall Wentworth to England.

Leaving his young daughter Elvy in the care of his best friend Aengus, Faolán works as a porter in Dublin Castle, and aligns with the alluring Denisa, Wentworth’s personal assistant. She, too, spies on Wentworth, but for very personal reasons.

While Faolán knows he should hate Wentworth, he admires his prosecution of pirates and corrupt nobles who prey on Irish merchants. Supremely arrogant and cruel to his enemies, Wentworth shows loyalty, warmth and compassion for family, friends and a few select others.

A common mission takes Faolán and Denisa from Dublin to London and Hampton Court; to York and Scotland; and to the highest levels of court intrigue and power. But secrets, fears, war and betrayal threaten their love—and even their lives. And as Wentworth’s power grows, so grow the deadly plans of his most treacherous and driven enemies.

If you are looking for an adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then look no further! Get ready for court intrigue, roguish behavior, and of course, that little bit of romance… Well, then you have a book that is hard to put down.” — Rebecca Hill, Net Galley Reviewer

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound


This book is astoundingly good! Its a real marvel of historical fiction writing, reading this for me was like locking a chocoholic in Cadbury World   for the weekend and telling them to help themselves. I am always fascinated with reading historical which feature real historical characters, and even though I didn’t a lot about Thomas Wentworth, so I was interested to learn about him and this dark period of Irish history. I will admit that before this, I hadn’t read any of Nancy Blanton’s work, something which will be remedied after reading this glorious book.

Set in 1635, in Ireland, the hero of the piece; Faolan a young widower who has been sent to spy on the English King Charles’ Irish representative; Thomas Wentworth and convey any knowledge of double dealing and scandal back to his clans chief; Richard Burke, 4th Earl of Clanricarde. So, Faolan must leave his tiny baby daughter with his friend, to go and infiltrate the enemy. Something which is far easier said then done, Faolan soon realises that he may not be alone in the task of gathering information, there are spies and back-stabbers at every turn. He really doesn’t want to leave his mother-less daughter, she is just a babe and Faolan who is still grieving for his lost wife, he feels guilt that he must do this job to provide for her. He is good father and a good, man, he just wants to do right by his daughter and his clan.

Once within Wentworth court, Faolan soon meets mysterious and beautiful Denisa who is Wentworth’s assistant, she is a fascinating character, there are so many intrigues that swirl around her she hides within a cloak of mystery within the shadows, Faolan soon becomes equally fascinated by her and for good reason as she is far more then she appears to be, but they do share a goal and a mission so it is inevitable that they team up – but can he really trust her?

Faolan starts to see Wentworth as something other then what he thought him to be, he starts to see him as someone who yes is very arrogant and so sure of all he does but there is a more human aspect of him that Faolan comes to reluctantly admire. He sees that Wentworth isn’t the ogre his countrymen thought him to be, yes he does have a terrible ruthless streak but what confuses Faolan more then anything is Wentworth’s loyalty towards his family.

I love the journey that Faolan goes on through the story, not just the physical one from Dublin to London then to Scotland, but the emotional journey; he isn’t a complex man but he does indeed have some complex and contractionary thoughts as the story goes along. He is confused over his feelings for Denisa, he is confused and frustrated that Wentworth isn’t how he should be, Faolan wants to hate the man, yet he can’t and he is guilty for leaving his daughter, that above all else struck me. He is a selfless man all his thoughts in this world revolve around that tiny little girl.

I loved the immersive and exceedingly rich historical detail that so flawlessly entwines fact with fiction, Ms Blanton has an incredible talent at bringing the past alive with her vivid, atmospheric and captivating writing. The characters are brilliantly developed and engaging, the plot is incredible; it literally takes the reader on a thrilling ride of political rivalry, danger and deceit and off course there is a hint of a blossoming romance – what else could we want from an historical?

This was a complimentary copy via the author in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, Thank you Nancy and Amy. x


About the Author

Nancy Blanton writes award-winning novels based in 17th century Irish history. Her latest, The Earl in Black Armor, tells a relentless story of loyalty, honor and betrayal in the Stuart era prior to the great Irish Rebellion of 1641. The Prince of Glencurragh, her second novel, occurs in 1634 during the English Plantation of Ireland. Her first novel, Sharavogue, is set in Ireland and the West Indies during the time of Oliver Cromwell. In non-fiction, Brand Yourself Royally in 8 Simple Steps is also a medalist, providing a valuable personal branding guide for authors, artists, and business consultants. Her blog, My Lady’s Closet, focuses on writing, books, historical fiction, research and travel. Ms. Blanton is a member of the Historical Novel Society and is proud to be an occasional guest author on the award-winning UK blog, Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots. She has worked as a journalist, magazine editor, corporate communications leader and brand manager. Her books celebrate her love of history and her Irish and English heritage. She lives in Florida.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Blog Tour Schedule

Do check out the other blog’s which are participating in this wonderful blog tour.

Monday, July 1
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Tuesday, July 2
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Friday, July 5
Review at Jathan & Heather

Saturday, July 6
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, July 8
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, July 9
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Wednesday, July 10
Review at The Writing Desk

Thursday, July 11
Feature at Let Them Read Books

Friday, July 12
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, July 16
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, July 17
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, July 19
Interview at Jathan & Heather



During the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a signed hardcover copy of The Earl in Black Armor! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – Earl in Black Armor

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US & UK only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

#Review | Once More Into The Breach by @AMeghanHolloway #OnceMoreIntoTheBreach

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For readers of The Nightingale and Beneath a Scarlet Sky comes a gripping historical thriller set against a fully-realized WWII backdrop about the love a father has for his son and the lengths he is willing to go to find him, from a talented new voice in suspense.

Rhys Gravenor, Great War veteran and Welsh sheep farmer, arrives in Paris in the midst of the city’s liberation with a worn letter in his pocket that may have arrived years too late. As he follows the footsteps of his missing son across an unfamiliar, war-torn country, he struggles to come to terms with the incident that drove a wedge between the two of them.

Joined by Charlotte Dubois, an American ambulance driver with secrets of her own, Rhys discovers that even as liberation sweeps across France, the war is far from over. And his personal war has only begun as he is haunted by memories of previous battles and hampered at every turn by danger and betrayal. In a race against time and the war, Rhys follows his son’s trail from Paris to the perilous streets of Vichy to the starving mobs in Lyon to the treacherous Alps. But Rhys is not the only one searching for his son. In a race of his own, a relentless enemy stalks him across the country and will stop at nothing to find the young man first.

The country is in tatters, no one is trustworthy, and Rhys must unravel the mystery of his son’s wartime actions in the desperate hope of finding him before it’s too late. Too late to mend the frayed bond between them. Too late to beg his forgiveness. Too late to bring him home alive.

What a emotional, edge of your seat thriller. My goodness this book is amazing, I know I say that a lot, but this is something very special. I am a huge fan of WW2 era fiction, and I have read an awful lot of fiction from this genre to know that Once More Into The Breach is a masterpiece of story telling.

Set at the end of WW2, the story is told through the eyes of WW1 veteran and now farmer; Rhys who has set out to war torn France to find his son. Which is far easier said then done, as Rhys is still traumatised from his own experience in the trenches during the Great War, he is still feeling the affects, there are periods of confusion where he is transported back and he is left scared and broken, which is why he was adamant that he would never return to France. That is until his son goes missing, he puts his own personal thoughts and anguish to one side and takes a step into the big unknown.

Once there is meets mysterious and enigmatic Charlotte, who is not all that she appears to be, I love that as soon as we meet Charlotte, there is just this feeling you get that something isn’t quite right about her, she has secrets and even though I do like her I was always thinking that she is out for herself, she has motives in everything she does and she knows far more then she claims.

Rhys and Charlotte set of on their journey of discovery through war torn France, at every turn there is something that stands in their way to find the answers to the questions that keep filtering through Rhys’ mind, he is desperate to find his son or find out what happened to him and then the other questions start emerging as what exactly did Owain do in France during the war? And What is Charlotte’s motives in helping him? Their journey is full of action and intrigue, of secrets, lies and suspense.

Meghan Holloway is an incredible narrator, she hooks you from that first dramatic and emotional page right to the last, her play with words is mesmerizing it was literally like being inside of Rhys’ head, you feel each and every emotion, his pain, his terror, his confusion, especially in the snap shots into his life during WW1, the way being in the trenches impacted on his life is heart-breaking. This fine woman has got a real gift, her passion and love of the story and her need to tell Rhys’ story is evident.

This is a real page turner, it has a constant undercurrent of fear and anguish throughout th book, mostly from Rhys, he broke my heart. He is a genuinely lovely man, he feels a lot of emotions that build up from fear and pain, to love for his son, the need to do what is right, his is scared by his own emotions especially when we have flashbacks into his past. But, what is the most refreshing about this is that the hero is just a regular man who has left his farm in Wales to go out and find his son.

This book is a must read for anyone who loves WW2 historical fiction, if you love the likes of Pam Jenoff, Alison Richman and Kate Mosse’s; Citadel then this is the book you need to read, I cannot wait to see what comes next from Meghan Holloway.

Gorgeous and highly recommended!

#BlogTour | The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick #TheLibraryOfLostAndFound #Review @phaedrapatrick @HQstories

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Hello my lovely friends! I have the huge pleasure to be todays stop on this wonderful blog tour for the utterly enchanting; The Library Of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick, as always grab yourselves a cuppa and let me tell you a little about this gorgeous and heart-warming book.

A librarian’s discovery of a mysterious book sparks the journey of a lifetime in the delightful new novel from the bestselling author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper.

Librarian Martha Storm has always found it easier to connect with books than people―though not for lack of trying. She keeps careful lists of how to help others in her notebook. And yet, sometimes it feels like she’s invisible.

All of that changes when a book of fairy tales arrives on her doorstep. Inside, Martha finds a dedication written to her by her best friend―her grandmother Zelda―who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier. When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda’s past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever.

Filled with Phaedra Patrick’s signature charm and vivid characters, The Library of Lost and Found is a heart-warming reminder that even the quietest life has the potential to be extraordinary.

This is one of the most adorable and heart-warming books I have read, I loved the simplicity and of the plot and the message of how through books we can really discover who we are as people. As soon as I heard about this, I just had to read it. A book about a book, set in a library! What more could I possibly want?

This is a wee bit more then just a story about a woman who works in a library and finds a book with a hand written dedication from her grandmother to her, from this one message Martha sets off on a life changing voyage of discovery, learning truths, secrets and lies as she goes, she starts remembering things that had been closed away in her mind and soon Martha begins to see her childhood, her parents with new eyes. I can only imagine how traumatic that must have been for Martha as her whole life and what she thought happened and what she believed soon coming unravelling, all because of a book.

Martha is a woman who no matter who you are, you will relate to her in some way. I know that I did! She has sacrificed everything; a life of her own, a career, happiness, even romance and relationships all for her parent’s, she has done the dutiful daughter, she has cared for them for years putting everything else aside for them and their needs. I can relate to Martha in ways that not a lot would, I understand her wanting to do right by her family and I can also understand her frustration with how her life turned out. Now that her parents are no longer there she has again fallen into the role of carer – or a general dogs body – with everyone else, with the people at the library, with neighbours and even her sister.

Well, you can only keep pushing a person so far before they snap, which is what Martha does, she finally says no and it is that moment when she takes hold of her life and does something for herself for a change, and that is to discover the secret of the book and what really happened to her grandmother; Zelda, she was told as a child that her grandmother had died, yet this book says a different story all together and it is a story that Martha wants to know, but is she really ready for what she discovers?

I love how there is a slight timeslip aspect to this book, as we follow Martha on her journey we get flashes into her past which are told through her mother’s point of view. I really enjoyed that, getting to see Martha’s childhood and the complicated dynamics of the Storm family is fascinating to read, we really see and understand why Martha has surpassed so many memories, it wasn’t the most pleasant of childhood that’s for sure.

The Library of Lost and Found is a magical and heart-warming tale, it has a real whimiscal feel to it that is so charming to read, the writing is superb, I’ve not read Phaedra Patrick’s work before but I will definitely be scouring the shops for more. This is a real winner, it is a book that you will devour in one lazy afternoon, and one that you will keep pulling of the shelf again and again until your copy is battered and worn.

Utterly charming, I cannot recommend this more.

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you Izzy.

The Library Of Lost And Found can be found at Amazon.


Do check out the other blogs which are participating in the wonderful blog tour.

#Review | A Game of Desire by Sharon Ibbotson #AGameOfDesire @seibbotson @ChocLituk

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Hello my lovely readers, Today I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of the stunning; A Game Of Desire by Sharon Ibbotson, I am very excited to tell you about this book, so as ever take a seat, grab a cuppa and enjoy.

The Queen of Diamonds never loses …

Felicity Fox is a rarity for a woman living in the early 1800s. Not only does she frequent the ‘gambling hells’ where most ladies would not dare to tread, she can also beat any man at his own game. It’s no wonder she’s gained notoriety as the ‘Queen of Diamonds’.

Edward, Earl of Addington, despises gambling and is not exactly enamoured of Felicity Fox either, especially after she tried to swindle his family. Except now the Earl requires assistance from the Queen of Diamonds – and there’s everything to play for. But with Edward will Felicity find she’s involved in a more dangerous game than she’s ever played before?

Ouh la, la! This book is a real gem, first full disclosure that I was drawn to this book the moment I saw the cover, yes I know we shouldn’t judge by covers alone – but, come on look at it, isn’t t gorgeous? Then when I read the blurb, I thought “wow, this is going to be one hell of a great historical” and I am so pleased that my first impression was right on the money, as this is a stunning historical.

This is a brilliant book that has an amazing heroine in the form of Felicity, she isn’t your stereotypical heroine, she isn’t an aristocrat as such, she is a just a regular woman who after a bit of a lousy childhood and after falling on hard times she has picked herself up and made something of herself, and that something just happens to be the best damn gambler there is. With the brains, the looks and the skill of the cards she is a force to be reckoned with. She is the star of the London’s Gambling circuit, a Diamond in the rough which is why she has been handed down the moniker of the ‘”Queen of Diamonds” but all didn’t go to plan, when she was caught trying to swindle the mighty but gullible; Earl of Addington, she was caught by the Earl Son; Edward who banished her from London.

Five years later, Edward is now the Earl and he wants a precious heirloom back that his father had sold, but to get it back he needs the help of the one person he vowed never to see again, the one woman who can boil his blood faster then a cauldron, the woman he banished instead of sending to the gallows. He needs the Queen of Diamonds and oh, how he hates that, he hates everything she stands for, he has seen for himself how gambling, drinking and whoring can destroy a family – as has Felicity, but Edward doesn’t realise this, yet. I’m pretty sure you can guess what Edwards want the brilliant Queen of Diamonds for, Felicity and Edward make a deal, one that could back fire on them both as they both have their hearts on the line.

I really liked Felicity, I love a good independent heroine, especially one who has a little bit of fire and intelligent behind the seductive smile and I really think that Ms Fox aka the Queen of Diamonds, is that. She is caught between a rock and a hard place, she hasn’t had the best start in life but she has made something of herself, yes, it may not be the most respectful career choice, but she is good at gambling, she is good at reading people and she uses her knowledge and her feminine whiles to good use, I really admire that.

I haven’t read Sharon Ibbotson’s work before, but I can see from this book that she is an author to watch out for. This is a very clever and original story, with a spiders web of emotion, out two lead character’s are both brilliantly intriguing and complex individuals, both have a real fragility and a vulnerable side that they keep boarded up so no one can hurt them again, both have issues with trust, with being able to love and with thinking that they deserve love.

This is an sexy, exciting and entertaining romance, that balances the blossoming romance between Edward and Felicity with an engaging adventure. What I particularly liked more than anything is that subtle feminist undercurrent that is ever present throughout the story, as well as that this does have a darker feel to it then your average historical romance, I like the edginess of the story and the individualism of the characters.

Overall, wonderfully written and a definite must read.

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you Liz and ChocLit.

A Game of Desire is available now and can be found at Amazon.

#BlogTour | The Chef’s Secret by Crystal King #TheChefsSecret #Review #HFVBTBlogTours @crystallyn @hfvbt

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Hello my lovely friends! I have the huge pleasure to be todays stop on this amazing blog tour for; The Chef’s Secret by Crystal King, I cannot wait to share my review of this stunning book with you all, so take a seat grab a cuppa and enjoy.

The Chef’s Secret by Crystal King

Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Publisher: Atria Books
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, eBook

Genre: Historical Fiction



A captivating novel of Renaissance Italy detailing the mysterious life of Bartolomeo Scappi, the legendary chef to several popes and author of one of the bestselling cookbooks of all time, and the nephew who sets out to discover his late uncle’s secrets—including the identity of the noblewoman Bartolomeo loved until he died.

When Bartolomeo Scappi dies in 1577, he leaves his vast estate—properties, money, and his position—to his nephew and apprentice Giovanni. He also gives Giovanni the keys to two strongboxes and strict instructions to burn their contents. Despite Scappi’s dire warning that the information concealed in those boxes could put Giovanni’s life and others at risk, Giovanni is compelled to learn his uncle’s secrets. He undertakes the arduous task of decoding Scappi’s journals and uncovers a history of deception, betrayal, and murder—all to protect an illicit love affair.

As Giovanni pieces together the details of Scappi’s past, he must contend with two rivals who have joined forces—his brother Cesare and Scappi’s former protégé, Domenico Romoli, who will do anything to get his hands on the late chef’s recipes.

With luscious prose that captures the full scale of the sumptuous feasts for which Scappi was known, The Chef’s Secret serves up power, intrigue, and passion, bringing Renaissance Italy to life in a delectable fashion.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound


There is just one word for this book and that word is Magnifiso!

This book is delicious – just as delicious as the food that is liberally scattered through out the story, and believe me as some one who adores food in more or less every shape and form, this was a huge thumbs up for me, even if I did want to constantly eat. 😉 It’s an exciting, thrilling, gorgeous and atmospheric, that entwines danger and lies with a beautiful secret love story. Really I cannot say too many positive things about this book, it is unbelievably good.

Set in Renaissance Italy – more accurately; Venice and Rome, I do love this era and there are so few books that are set in this era, so you can imagines, that I did grab this one as fast as humanly possible when I got the chance to be apart of this blog tour. The story opens in 1577, when the hugely acclaimed and much loved chef; Bartolomea Scappi dies, his nephew and protégé; Giovanni inherits Bartolomeo’s vast estate, money and his high ranking position as the Pope’s chef. All of this is obviously a shock for Giovanni who wants nothing but his uncle back, but not as much as a shock when he also receives two locked strong boxes and a warning that everything inside must be destroyed as what is could be very dangerous for Giovanni. But, he does what anyone would do and peek inside the chests and start reading the secret and coded diaries and letters within, as you do, who wouldn’t do the same? But what he finds within his uncles words is a tale of secret love, lies, deception, danger and even murder, a story that if ever revealed could not just cause scandal and heartache but put him and others in a very perilous position.

I absolutely adore this book, putting aside my love of food for a moment – if I don’t, I will be chattering on about food all day and I’m pretty sure that I can’t fill an entire review about my love of food which is beautifully sprinkled with pomegranate jewels and roses carved out of vegetables. This is perfect historical, stunning and vivid details that grab your and drag you into book, it is as though you are standing in Renaissance Italy; the sights, smells and sounds are all so vivid, it is so brilliantly written, it is so immersive, I can guarantee you will be fully engaged.

I love how this is written, I won’t give too much away, but even though when the story starts Bartolomeo has died, and Giovanni is now taking over his prestigious role, we still get a very insightful look into Bartolomeo’s life through in his own words – really, you need to read it.

Over all, this is a masterpiece of historical writing, I absolutely adored it!

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


Praise for The Chef’s Secret

“King’s characters are drawn as lovingly, as sensually as the food and the Vatican world she describes, and the plot itself — part secret-code mystery, part love story — moves like a well-paced meal.” (Boston Globe)

“King supplies all of the elements historical fiction fans expect in a juicy Renaissance tale, including luscious meals, erotic interludes, and deaths by poison and blade. This rich tale should satisfy the appetites of fans of historicals.” (Publishers Weekly)

“In The Chef’s Secret, Crystal King serves up a delectable read stuffed with passion, danger, and a plot worthy of Dan Brown. This fast-paced, engrossing novel brings Renaissance Rome and the Vatican to life through the eyes of a famous papal chef. You won’t be able to put it down.” (Stephanie Storey, author of Oil and Marble)

“A veritable feast for the senses, The Chef’s Secret is part mystery, part love story, and all sumptuous sixteenth century Italy. This tale of one of the world’s first celebrity chefs—Bartolomeo Scappi, a DaVinci of Renaissance cuisine—sent me on a quest to know more, and to my kitchen to experiment—a sign of a great historical novel. Readers will delight in a plot as juicy as Scappi’s braised beef!” (Heather Webb, international bestselling author of Last Christmas in Paris)

“The Chef’s Secret is a sumptuous buffet, serving up a love story (two of them!); mystery and suspense so thick you could cut it with, well, a chef’s knife; and such a vibrant panorama of Ancient Rome you’ll feel you’ve walked its streets and inhabited its kitchens. Anyone who loves history, food, a great story—read this novel! Warning: it will make you hungry.” (Jenna Blum, New York Times and international bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Lost Family)

“Crystal King’s The Chef’s Secret is a fabulous immersion in the world of renaissance Italy, full of passion, intrigue, secrets, danger, and of course food. Come hungry!” (Melodie Winawer, author of The Scribe of Siena)

“With adventure, engaging characters, and an absorbing mystery, King expertly blends fact with fiction, intrigue, and a powerful love story. Well written and perfectly paced, The Chef’s Secret is a fascinating immersion into sixteenth-century Italian life, an introduction to the world’s first celebrity chef, and a reminder of the power of food to influence a civilization.” (Booklist)

“King twists in romance, mystery, cultural richness, and some zesty research. Scappi’s secrets are unveiled at a pace that simmers with intrigue…Mixed together with decadent banquets and sweeping historical detail, King has a recipe that entices the senses… vibrant in both visual and flavorful detail.” (Historical Novel Review)


About the Author

Crystal King is the author of THE CHEF’S SECRET and FEAST OF SORROW. A culinary enthusiast and social media professional, her writing is fueled by a love of history and a passion for the food, language and culture of Italy. She has taught classes in writing, creativity and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, UMass Boston and GrubStreet, one of the leading creative writing centers in the US. A Pushcart-nominated poet and former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her M.A. in Critical and Creative Thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in medias res. She resides in Boston.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Blog Tour Schedule

Do check out the other blogs which are participating in this amazing blog tour.

Tuesday, June 18
Review at Tar Heel Reader
Review & Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, June 19
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, June 20
Review at My Reading Chronicles
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Friday, June 21
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Monday, June 24
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, June 25
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, June 26
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Review at Orange County Readers

Thursday, June 27
Review at Book Frolic
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, June 28
Review at Mama’s Reading Corner
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, July 1
Review at Comet Readings
Review at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction

Tuesday, July 2
Review at Melissa Reads
Review at Clarissa Reads it All

Wednesday, July 3
Review at Henry and Benny’s Book Nook
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, July 4
Review at Just One More Chapter

Friday, July 5
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at Girls Just Reading
Review at Book Reviews from Canada



During the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a set of Feast of Sorrow and The Chef’s Secret! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – The Chef’s Secret

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

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

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

The Ice Cream Parlour

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

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

*Marian Keyes meets Paulo Coelho meets Nigella*

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

Purchase Here


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.