Review

#BlogTour : The Catherine Howard Conspiracy (The Marquess House Trilogy #1) by Alexandra Walsh #Review & #GuestPost @purplemermaid25 #TheCatherineHowardConspiracy @SapereBooks

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Hello my lovely readers, I have the great pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for The Catherine Howard Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh, and I have an amazing post for you all to get stuck into. Not only sharing with you my review of the fabulous book, but I also have an exclusive to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals guest post from Alexandra for you all – and it is a doozy! So, grab yourselves a cuppa and tuck in.

The Catherine Howard Conspiracy

The Catherine Howard Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh

A timeshift thriller that will have you completely gripped! Perfect for fans of Dan Brown, Philippa Gregory, Kate Mosse and Tom Harper.

What secrets were covered up at the court of Henry VIII …?

Whitehall Palace, England, 1539

When Catherine Howard arrives at the court of King Henry VIII to be a maid of honour in the household of the new queen, Anne of Cleves, she has no idea of the fate that awaits her.

Catching the king’s fancy, she finds herself caught up in her uncle’s ambition to get a Howard heir to the throne.

Terrified by the ageing king after the fate that befell her cousin, Anne Boleyn, Catherine begins to fear for her life…

Pembrokeshire, Wales, 2018

Dr Perdita Rivers receives news of the death of her estranged grandmother, renowned Tudor historian Mary Fitzroy.

Mary inexplicably cut all contact with Perdita and her twin sister, Piper, but she has left them Marquess House, her vast estate in Pembrokeshire.

Perdita sets out to unravel their grandmother’s motives for abandoning them, and is drawn into the mystery of an ancient document in the archives of Marquess House, a collection of letters and diaries claiming the records of Catherine Howard’s execution were falsified…

What truths are hiding in Marquess House? What really happened to Catherine Howard?

And how was Perdita’s grandmother connected to it all?

THE CATHERINE HOWARD CONSPIRACY is the first book in the Marquess House trilogy, a dual timeline conspiracy thriller with an ingenious twist on a well-known period of Tudor history.

Available at Amazon

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About The Author

From tales spun for her teddies when she was a child (usually about mermaids) to film scripts, plays and novels, Alexandra Walsh has always been a storyteller. Words are her world. For over 25 years, she has been a journalist writing for a wide range of publications including national newspapers and glossy magazines. She spent some years working in the British film industry, as well as in television and radio: researching, advising, occasionally presenting and always writing.

Books dominate Alexandra’s life. She reads endlessly and tends to become a bit panicky if her next three books are not lined up and waiting. Characters, places, imagery all stay with her and even now she finds it difficult to pass an old wardrobe without checking it for a door to Narnia. As for her magical letter when she was 11, she can only assume her cat caught the owl!

Alexandra’s other passion is history, particularly the untold tales of women. Whether they were queens or paupers, their voices resonate with their stories, not only about their own lives but about ours, too. The women of the Tudor court have inspired her novels. Researching and writing The Marquess House Trilogy (Book One: The Catherine Howard Conspiracy) has brought together her love of history, mysteries and story telling.

Website / Twitter

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The Queen In Isolation by Alexandra Walsh

When I began the story that has become The Marquess House Trilogy, my first plan was to write it as one tale. However, as the plot grew and the sheer amount of historical detail required to make the story flow became apparent, I braced myself for a longer task and, perhaps, two books. Again though, my optimistic hopes were dashed and suddenly, it was a trilogy.

Why the surprise at this, you may ask? Well, it’s because my starting point with this series was not Catherine Howard, it was Elizabeth Tudor, my favourite historical person, and I had thought Catherine would be a minor character. Catherine Howard, however, was having none of it and quickly stepped forward from the myriad historical women wandering around my head to make it clear that book one was all about her – The Catherine Howard Conspiracy. Who was I to argue?

As she became the focus of some intense research, her story laying itself before me, my protectiveness of this much maligned young woman grew. It was not until I was immersed in her world though, that one thing struck me, something which my main protagonist, Dr Perdita Rivers, mentions: Catherine Howard is always portrayed as being alone. As I learned more about the teenage queen, I found this a problematic presentation of her.

The perpetual image of the tragic teenager is as a naïve orphan who was easily led astray by more powerful men and women preying upon her innocence. You can almost feel the moustache-twirling, Victorian-esque villain hovering just off the page waiting to lead the poor fainting damsel into disaster. The wicked harridan sizing her up as a potential meal ticket as she encouraged Catherine into lewd and boisterous behaviour with the wrong sort of men. Yet, if you look a little more closely, this myth is soon banished and a very different view of Catherine emerges.

It is true that Catherine was an orphan. Her mother, Jocasta Culpeper died in 1528 and her father, Lord Edmund Howard, 11 years later in 1539, only eight months before Catherine was summoned to court to be a Maid of Honour to Anne of Cleves. However, Catherine Howard was one of 11 children. Five of her siblings were full brothers and sisters: Henry Howard, Sir Charles Howard, Sir George Howard, Margaret Howard and Mary Howard. While five were half siblings from her mother’s, first marriage to Sir Ralph Leigh: John Leigh, Ralph Leigh, Isabel Leigh, Joyce Leigh and Margaret Leigh.

Even more surprising are her step-siblings: Edmund Howard married twice more, giving Catherine two step-mothers. His second wife was Dorothy Troyes, and after her death in 1530 he married Margaret Mundy. Both women were widows with children. Dorothy Troyes was mother to eight: Arthur, John, William, Richard, Francis, Agnes, Anne and another unnamed daughter, while Margaret had three children: Bernard, Juliana and Anna. A total of 11 step-siblings. Not quite the isolation suggested in most biographies.

The reason I’ve chosen to highlight this point is because while I was considering how best to portray Catherine, the discovery of siblings gave me a clue to her personality. To be surrounded by so many relations destroys the Victorian suggestion of the vulnerable orphan making her way in the world. If she had so many siblings, people with whom you can always be yourself (I’m one of seven, some step-siblings, some not, I understand), there is always someone to turn to in times of trouble. You may not always get on with your siblings but when times are hard, no matter how much you’ve squabbled over the last slice of cake, there is usually someone who is willing to fight your corner.

Being part of a large family also teaches you skills which would have been invaluable at the Tudor court. You learn to develop a thick skin, you understand about power plays (I refer you back to the last-slice-of-cake scenario), you learn how to, both, stand out and blend in with the crowd depending on which is going to protect you from the most trouble, you learn how to defend yourself and you know when to back down and forgive. While the broadness of the age range between the siblings suggests Catherine did not live with all the entire 22 at any one time, she would certainly have spent a portion of her childhood with a varying crowd of brothers, sisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, step-brothers and step-sisters. Life was probably noisy, chaotic and fun, even with the limitations placed on women in Tudor times.

When she became Henry VIII’s fifth queen, at least two of her sisters were with her as ladies-in-waiting: Lady Isabel Baynton nee Leigh and Margaret Arundell nee Howard. One of her brother’s Charles Howard became engaged to Lady Margaret Douglas, the king’s niece. Charles was also a member of the king’s bedchamber, while another brother, George, was also at court. It is likely more of the extended Howard, Leigh, Troyes and Mundy gang were there, too. Possibly not in positions of power but enjoying the reflected glory of Catherine’s reign.

It seems unlikely that they would all have abandoned her the moment she slipped from Henry’s favour. Again, I suspect the influence of the Victorian view of events, not to mention the old-fashioned male view of how they thought women behaved towards each other. Despite what they may have assumed, women are not generally out to get each other. It is more likely her sisters would have done their best to help, even if their power was limited due to their status as women.

The joy of writing historical fiction is that I can take these facts and spin them around to create a new version of events. I can guess her reactions, I can imagine myself into Catherine’s world and try to see things from her perspective. It also helped that I have a 15-year-old niece and I imagined her reaction to Catherine’s situation – a top show of bravado as she is thrown into a situation way above her capabilities, her, perhaps, foolish behaviour a cover for her fear and doubt.

We will never know what really happened, what Catherine felt and how she managed to face her death with such courage. We can only guess from the documents that have been left behind, examine the clues and the reactions of the people around her. I hope that by putting her back into the context of her family, Catherine becomes more human again, no longer the isolated child and we must hope that when we re-imagine her personality and tell her tale, that we have done her story justice.

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Chicks Rogues and Scandals Review

Oh, my this is good! What an introduction to this author, this is an amazing book that will have shackle you to your chair until the very last word, I can guarantee that this will be devoured by again and again. I absolutely loved the premise of this, I have a soft spot for time-slip stories when done properly they can change your whole view on what you love to read and this is one of the best I’ve read. Ms Walsh has a real gift as a narrator, she has meticulously entwined an out of this world great piece of fiction with a bit of history, thrilling plot line and amazing character’s who you will be rooting for from day one.

The book opens in 1539 and from that brief chapter set during the court of Henry VIII where innocent and young Catherine Howard, has just been appointed the newest maid to honour new Queen Anne of Cleves. Let me tell you that this opening is gripping, it had me hooked with the undercurrent of danger that surrounds Catherine. I won’t say too much, other than this is how you grab hold of your reader from the off.

Fast Forward to 2018 where historian archaeologist Perdita is currently working at a dig that has unearthed a part of the Armada when she get some news that changes her life forever. Her grand mother has passed away and she has left everything, her multi-billion pond estate to Perdita and her twin sister Piper. But, it’s not all there is a secret luring deep in their history one that will bring danger in to their lives if ever revealed.

Honestly, there is so much going on in this book I daren’t go into too much detail with my review, I wouldn’t wish to spoil this book and the start of this new series for others but I will say that there are aspects to it’s that just blew my mind, I was literally reading and then I’d be like “Whoah, did that really just happen?”.

There is something very magical about this book, it’s imaginative with it’s duel timeline and various inter-twining factors from past to present and that mix of fact and fiction so seamlessly and beautifully done. It’s gripping and classy!

If you want a thrilling and intriguing time-split story with the feel of Dan Brown you really want to read this one. I was completely and utterly gripped by it, I love the time-split with it’s duel storyline that were interlinked together.

Overall this is an astounding start to what I know is going to be an impressive and brilliantly addictive series, think Dan Brown and Kate Mosse and you will have an inkling of just how glorious this is. It’s stylish, smart as a whip, engaging, thrilling, atmospheric, clever, magical – I could go on. It really is a must read for any who loves their thrillers with an extra oomph!

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

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Do have a look at the other blogs which are participating in the great blog tour.

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#BlogTour : The Silent Woman (Cat Carlise #1) by Terry Lynn Thomas @TLThomasBooks #Review #TheSilentWoman via @HFVBT

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Hello my lovely readers! I have the great pleasure to be todays stop on this great blog tour, for The Silent Woman by Terry Lynn Thomas. This is book is so good, I cannot say another good things about it, but don’t worry I have controlled myself and haven’t done a ten page review. So, without any ado grab a cuppa and have a read.

The Silent Woman by Terry Lynn Thomas

Publication Date: April 11, 2018
Publisher: HQ Digital
Format: Paperback & eBook; 384 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: Cat Carlisle, Book One

 

 

Would you sell your secrets?

Catherine Carlisle is trapped in a loveless marriage and the threat of World War Two is looming. She sees no way out… that is until a trusted friend asks her to switch her husband’s papers in a desperate bid to confuse the Germans.

Soon Catherine finds herself caught up in a deadly mixture of espionage and murder. Someone is selling secrets to the other side, and the evidence seems to point right at her.

Can she clear her name before it’s too late?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Google Play | Kobo

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Chicks Rogues and Scandals Review

What a wonderful book, this is what I would call a serious ‘Girl Power’ book. Not only have we got a fabulous lead heroine but the villain is a woman too. It’s about time that we had a book with a strong female led cast of characters. This is the first I have read by this author and it most certainly will no be the last, I have fallen in love with her clever and articulated writing style. This book is fresh and ridiculously addictive to read, this is only book one in the Cat Carlise series but I am hooked, I can’t wait to see if there will be more.

This is a pre-ww2 set historical fiction with a mystery/thriller twist to it that will capture the readers imagination and attention from off. I love a good old fashioned spy thriller, come one who doesn’t? And this has to be one of the best I’ve read, what really makes this book so engaging is that the story is very character led, Catherine the heroine is just brilliant. She finds herself in a loveless, unhappy marriage while her husband is off with the Air Ministry poor Catherine is stuck with her awful sister-in-law. She is desperate to escape, then out of the blue she finds a way. Without giving too much away, she finds herself in the middle of a dangerous spy game, with an added murder – you know just to keep everyone on their toes 😉

I really liked Catherine, she may at first come across as a meek little wife trying to out some excitement into her life but there is more to this young woman then that. I really admire her, she is brave, loyal and has real inner strength that you see come out as the story moves along. The secondary characters are brilliant, I particularly like the villain, such a great baddie and a woman to boot – it’s about time we had a good female baddie.

The story takes the reader on a fast and furious game of cat and mouse, it’s stylish, clever and completely engaging. You will be at the edge of your seat as the story moves towards its brilliant ending, I cannot recommend this enough. It has high intensity thrills, spy’s, great characters and a great atmospheric plot. If you love the likes of Pam Jenoff or Steve Berry then this is the book for you, I cannot wait to see what comes next.

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

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About the Author

TERRY LYNN THOMAS grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back.

Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. The Drowned Woman is a recipient of the IndieBRAG Medallion. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in Britain during World War II. The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, came out in April 2018 and has since become a USA TODAY bestseller. The Family Secret is slated for release in March 2019. When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Blog Tour Schedule

Do have a look at the other blog’s that are participating in this tour.

Monday, April 29
Review at Coffee and Ink
Feature at To Read, Or Not to Read

Tuesday, April 30
Review at My Reading Chronicles

Wednesday, May 1
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Feature at Clarissa Reads it All

Thursday, May 2
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, May 3
Review at Orange County Readers
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, May 6
Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, May 7
Review at Macs Books
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, May 8
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Thursday, May 9
Review at Passages to the Past
Review at Jennifer Van Hoy – Instagram

Friday, May 10
Review at Hooked on Books
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Monday, May 13
Review at Comet Readings
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, May 14
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, May 15
Review at The Lit Bitch
Feature at Just One More Chapter

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a $20 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form : The Silent Woman

Giveaway Rules

–Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 15th. 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 new winner is chosen.

 

#BlogTour : The Pursuits Of Lord Kit Cavanaugh (The Cavanaughs #2) by Stephanie Laurens #Review #ThePursuitsOfLordKitCavanaugh @MillsandBoon #MillsandBoonInsiders

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Hello everyone! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on the; The Pursuits of Kit Cavanaugh blog tour, I can wait to share my review of this wonderful book with you all, so take a seat grab a cuppa and enjoy!


Bold and clever, THE CAVANAUGHS are unlike any other family in early Victorian England. #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens continues to explore the enthralling world of these dynamic siblings in the eagerly anticipated second volume in her captivating series.

A Gentleman of Means

One of the most eligible bachelors in London, Lord Christopher “Kit” Cavanaugh has discovered his true path and it doesn’t include the expected society marriage. Kit is all business and has chosen the bustling port of Bristol to launch his passion—Cavanaugh Yachts.

A Woman of Character

Miss Sylvia Buckleberry’s passion is her school for impoverished children. When a new business venture forces the school out of its building, she must act quickly. But confronting Kit Cavanaugh is a daunting task made even more difficult by their first and only previous meeting, when, believing she’d never see him again, she’d treated him dismissively. Still, Sylvia is determined to be persuasive.

An Unstoppable Duo

But it quickly becomes clear there are others who want the school—and Cavanaugh Yachts—closed. Working side by side, Kit and Sylvia fight to secure her school and to expose the blackguard trying to sabotage his business. Yet an even more dastardly villain lurks, one who threatens the future both discover they now hold dear.

I have been reading Stephanie Laurens for years, she is definitely a queen amongst the Historical Romance genre, she is in a league of her own for excellence and this is right up there with the best. For those who have read Ms Laurens will know what I mean, and for those who haven’t read a Stephanie Laurens book yet, why? You really must, for anyone who loves historical romance then this is the book and the author to go to.

1843, Bristol Kit Cavanaugh; after years of playing the rake, of building up a reputation that will keep all those pushy mama’s and debutantes at bay – but he did it all for reason, it was a way to protect himself from his manipulative and using mother. But with his mother’s death he and his siblings are free to do as they please, free to actually live rather then constantly looking over their shoulders wondering when the old coot was going to come down on them. Now he has found what he is passionate about and fully intend turning his back on the life his mother and all of the Ton would want and pursue his own, to build up his Yacht building business; Cavanaugh Yachts.

Kit and his business partner Wayland plan to rent out a warehouse on the docks, they have big plans not only to forge their new Yacht building business but rather admirably plan on using the destitute dock workers who are in dire need of work – I’m telling you, this man has stolen my heart. But, by doing so they unknowingly push out the charity which is currently using the space and whom have a week to move out for Kit and Wayland to move in.

Sylvia Buckleberry (don’t you just love that name?) runs a charity school out of the warehouse Kit has just stolen from her, and now she must either find a new place to relocate her school too or say goodbye to her noble venture which means letting down all those unfortunate children who rely on the school. She fully plans on confronting the man who has the nerve to take away not just her passion but the future of her children’s education – something she does with great gusto! What she doesn’t realise is that she has already met the devilishly handsome and very swoon-worthy Kit at the wedding between her best friend and Kit’s brother, earlier in the year. Kit is very taken with the feisty, intriguing and passionate young woman who has taken it upon herself to face him down and he vows to help her.

But all is not as easy as it may appear as it soon comes to light that there is a mysterious villain out there who not only would very much like to hurt Sylvia but also destroy both their ventures, can Kit and Sylvia find the truth?

I loved their relationship, they are sweet, loving and adorable. They both tread very carefully as they have found themselves in the company of another who they don’t usually find in their sphere. Sylvia is fresh parsons daughter who isn’t the usually glitzy butterfly that Kit is used to and as such he must be patient when wooing her, she isn’t usually his type but you can see instantly that he is fascinated by her. She knows all about his notorious rakish reputation, she is wary around him, but even she can’t deny that this gorgeous man with the twinkle in his eye has charm.

I thoroughly enjoyed this, it was such a joy to read. As ever with a Stephanie Laurens you will not be disappointed, the plot is intricate, romantic and fun with a hint of mystery that will have you reading late into the night. But it is the character’s that really pull you in, they are beautifully written, charming and each adorable in their own way.

A definite must read, even though this is book two in the Cavanaugh’s series as with all of Ms Laurens work this can be very easily read as a stand-a-lone.

Enchanting and highly recommended!

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you to the Mills and Boon’s Insiders team.

The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh is available now and can be found at Amazon.

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Do have a look at the other blog’s which are participating in this blog tour.

#Review : A Runaway Bride For The Highlander (The Lochmore Legacy #3) by @ElisabethHobbes #ARunawayBrideForTheHighlander #TheLochmoreLegacy @MillandBoon @HarlequinBooks

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Hello my lovely readers! I am so excited to be sharing my review of the amazing A Runaway Bride For The Highlander by Elisabeth Hobbes, which is book three in the incredible Lochmore Legacy series. Honestly to say I was excited about reading this one was an understatement, think more along the lines of a dog in the squeaky toy aisle and you may have an idea of my excitement, and that was only when I saw the cover. Seriously though, this whole series has been amazing and this one…well it’s so good words did fail me. So take a seat, grab yourself a cuppa and let me tell you about this gorgeous book.

Lost in Tudor Scotland
Found by the Highlander!

Part of The Lochmore Legacy: a Scottish castle through the ages! Far from her home in France, Marguerite Vallon escapes her arranged marriage to a man she despises. Stowing away in a stranger’s cart, she finds herself headed deep into the Highlands with Ewan Lochmore, new Earl of Glenarris! Ewan vows to protect her. But maybe the freedom Marguerite has been searching for can be found with this rugged warrior…

My, oh, my!! This book is why I read historical romance!!

Just when I thought that this series couldn’t possibly get any better, then boom! The incredible Elisabeth Hobbes comes along with her Tudor romance and just blows me away. There is a real dangerous and dark undertone to this, it has that Gothic edge to it that the previous books in the series have which I do love, I am a fan of the darker romances, the stories that have a bit of edge to them. As well as that it has the unmistakable Hobbes feel to it, that gritty, honest and clever romance that you can only get from Elisabeth Hobbes.

When I heard that this was a Tudor era story, I was excited – even though, we really shouldn’t be calling it a Tudor given that it is set in Scotland and we should be calling it a Stewart Romance. If you know any Tudor history then you will know what I mean, if not then I suggest you have a good old read of this 😉

This is book three in the Lochmore Legacy Series, you can very easily read them as stand-a-lones as each book as it’s own story, it’s own era but personally I would recommend that you read them all in order as there are elements in this one that connects with both the previous books. For those who have been reading this series, you will have an inkling of what I’m on about, but I ain’t going to be spoiling anything for those who haven’t – only that this does answer a few of those niggling questions that have arisen from the previous two books, only for more questions to pop into my mind. I can’t believe that we are on book three already, I feel like weeping as the end to this wonderful series is getting closer and closer, I don’t want it to end. In one hand I need to know why the Lochmore and McCriefs hate each other and on the other I will be a wailing, sobbing mess that the end is nigh.

Set during 1513, just after the battle of Flodden Ewan Lochmore has lost both is father and brother in that horrendous battle, now the new Earl of Glenaris, Ewan must make the trip to the Kings Court to officially claim the title, something that he isn’t looking forward to. Ewan isn’t comfortable with the whole being at court thing, and the sooner he gets confirmed as the new earl the better. He wasn’t meant to be the Earl he never had the training that all went to his brother, he doesn’t quite know what to make of it all or what to do. He has suddenly found himself with all of this responsibility on his young shoulders and no guiding hand to help him. Add to his woes, a murky world that his father was involved in and one that also ‘may’ concern the Lochmores arch enemies; the McCrief’s – I won’t elaborate, yes I have been purposely vague but it is a crucial sub plot – and the beautiful ‘ghost’ he sees in the garden, lets us just say, he is more than happy to indulge in a wee dram.

Marguerite has been ‘sold’ into marrying the vile, inscrutable obnoxious Duncan McCrief, something which she isn’t overly excited about. She is still grieving for her mother and can think of nothing worse than being the wife of such a brutish man, a man who she knows would do as he wanted with her. She knows that if she stays at the Kings court much longer she will trapped forever at the hands of such a vile man – honestly this man is a menace, as soon as he comes into the story there was a shiver of unease about him that you feel right down in your marrow. Marguerite after meeting the young, very attractive and kind Ewan Lochmore, plots to escape in Ewan’s cart, none the less. She plans to make her way to the coast where she will be able to find a boat to take her back home to France. But, as we all know plans never really go as they are expected to and she soon finds herself deep In the highlands instead of on a ship.

Ewan is a gentleman through and through, he would never allow a young woman in need of his help and protection to come to any harm. Yes, he is vexed that she has put it upon herself to bring him unwittingly into her scheme for freedom, but that feeling soon changes to something he wouldn’t have expected. Now he is faced with not only protecting her from others but from his more baser urges. These two are such a cute couple, on the outside they have nothing at all in common but the more you see them together and for who they are, you start see the similarities and the way they compliment one and other.

The story starts at a sedate and leisurely pace as we are introduced to the characters and garner their backgrounds and who they are. Then comes the trip to Lochmore where Both Ewan and Marguerite start to see the other as something far more than their original opinions of each other. Nothing much happens on their trip, I had expected something but the story is all the better for that period of calm. There is a constant feeling of danger as well as the atmosphere crackles with lust and want, even though they are very well behaved even if their thoughts are anything but sedate.

I’ve got to quickly mention the settings, Elisabeth you have out done yourself, every scene is vivid and clear it’s as-though you have been transported from the comfort of your armchair to the windswept, perilous and beautiful Scottish highlands. This is an assault on the senses, you can smell, taste and see every detail, from the dusty roads, to the beautiful mountains to the tiny details of their clothing, everything is so accurate and vivid.

It is no secret just how much I love Elisabeth’s work, her writing is like no other, her books are so romantic and beautifully written there is never any doubting that, but the thing that I particularly love about her work is they have a real edginess that grabs my attention. I love how grittier her books are compared to others within the Mills and Boon range, they can be brutally raw and realistic, yet sensual, tender and sexy….Plus, not to mention that her books hold some of the best heroes ever…swoon!

Honestly this has it all; romance, danger, mystery, gorgeous settings, swoon-worthy hero, one of the most heart-warming and beautiful epilogues I’ve read. Honestly that last chapter is gorgeous. I literally fell in love with Ewan all over again, but in a completely different way to how I felt for him in the beginning. There are answers and more questions all bundled into this one single piece of writing, and I just loved it!

It really is a stonking great read, one which is full of romance, Gothic atmosphere, warring clans, secrets and lies, fabulously engaging and lovable characters, all tied up with a thrilling and enchanting bow. I am in love with it, and I do hope that this is the first of many more Tudor/Stewart romances to come from Elisabeth Hobbes.

Overall, there is no other word but perfect!

This was an Arc from the author in exchange for an honest review, thank you Elisabeth!

A Runaway Bride For The Highlander is to be released on 30 May and can be pre-ordered now at Amazon.

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The series is linked by setting – a castle in the Highlands of Scotland – and by a feud between two clans that spans the centuries. It is different in that book 1 (His Convenient Highland Wedding) is set in the Victorian era. The heroine makes a shocking discovery, and clues to the mystery are gradually uncovered as we go back in time through the Regency era (Lara Temple), Tudor (Elisabeth Hobbes) and finally Medieval (Nicole Locke), when the truth about that mysterious discovery is finally revealed.

#1 His Convenient Highland Wedding (Victorian) Janice Preston – 21 March 2019

#2 Unlaced by the Highland Duke (Regency) Lara Temple – 18 April 2019

#3 A Runaway Bride for the Highlander (Tudor) Elisabeth Hobbes – 30 May2019

#4 Secrets of a Highland Warrior (Medieval) Nicole Locke – 27 June 2019

If you want to find out more about The Lochmore Legacy, then check out their Goodreads page and the new The Lochmore Legacy Facebook page and make sure you have a read at this great interview with Janice Preston at the Romantic Novelist Association where she is talking all about The Loch More Legacy.

Romantic Novelist Association; Janice Preston Interview / Facebook / Goodreads

#BlogTour : No Other Duke But You (Playful Brides #11) by Valerie Bowman #Review & Exclusive #Extract #NoOtherDukeButYou #PlayfulBrides @StMartinsPress

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Hello my lovely readers! Do I have a great post for you today?! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this great blog tour for No Other Duke But You by Valerie Bowman, no only will I be sharing my review of this No Other Duke But You, with you all, but I have an exclusive extract for you all to feast your eyes on. So, do grab yourself a cuppa, take a seat and enjoy.

SINGLE LADY SEEKS DUKE

Lady Delilah Montebank has her marital sights set on the Duke of Branville. There’s just one problem: he barely knows she exists. But no matter, she’s got a plan to win him over with her charm, her wit—and perhaps the love potion she has in her possession wouldn’t hurt her cause…

Lord Thomas Hobbs, Duke of Huntley, thinks his best friend Delilah’s quest to become a duchess is ridiculous. He’s always said he’d rather give up all the brandy in London than commit to one person for life. Besides, he knows that Delilah’s love potion can’t possibly win over Branville…since she accidentally gave it to him instead. But perhaps this is the excuse he needs to show her he’s always loved her…

Delilah can’t believe she gave the potion to the wrong duke. Then again, Delilah could do a lot worse than win the hand of her handsome best friend. Could it be that the right duke has been before her eyes all along?

Purchased Here

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Exclusive Extract

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

Delilah glanced up and down the dim hallway. It was well past three in the morning, she was still dressed in the pink ball gown she’d worn to the party, and she clutched the small vial of Cupid’s Elixir in her sweaty, guilty palm. She pressed her back against the shadowed wall not far from the Duke of Branville’s bedchamber. She could do this. More importantly, she would do this. She’d come this far, hadn’t she? What did a little sneaking about in the middle of the night matter?

She’d got detailed instructions to Branville’s room from Derek, who thankfully hadn’t asked any questions about why she wanted to know. According to him, the room was four doors to the right, just past the staircase on the third floor. The third floor was where all the bachelor gentlemen were sleeping. It would be a complete scandal if she was found lurking about alone at this time of night, but she’d waited until the household seemed quite asleep and then waited a bit longer for good measure. Anyone who saw her now would be skulking about themselves, which meant they would hardly be in a position to judge her. She briefly wondered if she’d run into Lavinia.

It was not as if she was out to do anything particularly scandalous. It was more silly and frivolous than anything else. She’d simply die, however, if Branville woke up and asked her what she was doing sprinkling pixie water in his eyes. She’d already decided to pretend as if she were dreaming, thinking she was Puck in the play. Sleepwalking. That would make all the sense in the world. Wouldn’t it? She swallowed hard. Probably not, but she wasn’t about to let the fear of being caught stop her. Besides, all of her and Lucy’s matchmaking had turned into a colossal mess. If a spray of perfume could sort it out, so be it. Of course, Delilah’s conscience reminded her that she hadn’t offered any of the perfume to Rebecca to use on Thomas. She didn’t want to even contemplate that. She’d already shared it with one other person, and that made her guilty enough. The image of Madame Rosa’s disapproving, craggy face had haunted her all evening.

Delilah shook off the thought and turned her attention back to the matter at hand. Pressing her empty palm against the darkened wall, she inched her way along until she came to Branville’s door. She felt like a spy. This was how professional spies did such things, wasn’t it? Too bad she was too embarrassed by her actions to ask the veritable house full of professional spies who happened to be asleep behind other doors right now.

She transferred the vial into her opposite hand and slowly reached to grasp the door handle. The metal was cold in her bare hand. She’d discarded her gloves, deciding that they would make her actions more clumsy. The last thing she needed tonight was to be more clumsy than usual. Decidedly, she needed to be less so.

She clutched the door handle like a lifeline and closed her eyes, steadying her shaking fingers on the knob. She was close, so close. Praying that the door wouldn’t squeak, she turned the handle slowly. The only sound was the thumping of her own heart in her ears.

When the handle was turned as far as it would go, she pushed it, praying fervently that it wasn’t locked. It took a moment before she realized the door was opening. Its hinges silent, merci a Dieu. Completely silent.

She slipped inside the cool, dark room. Steady, deep breathing came from the bed. Thank goodness, she hadn’t woken the duke with her entrance. She could barely see a thing, but she didn’t dare light a candle. A tiny stream of moonlight filtered into the room through a small opening in the curtains on the far window. She used that to identify the hulking bed in the center of the room. She tiptoed over to it slowly, taking care in case there was anything to trip over. No doubt she would find it if there was.

She made it to the foot of the bed without incident and paused, trying to quell her nerves and dispel her guilt. She clutched the vial more tightly in her palm, shaking with fear and anxiety. Now that she was here, she had no earthly idea how to drop liquid on a man’s eyes without awakening him. Besides, how much of it was she supposed to use? Surely not much. She would employ the tiniest drops possible so as not to disturb him, but she also needed to ensure the perfume touched his eyelids. Tricky business, this being a fairy. She had a sudden appreciation for Puck.

Holding her breath, she lifted her skirts with her free hand and tiptoed to the right side of the bed. Because it was summer, the bed curtains weren’t drawn. The window was open, and a slight breeze blew through the crack in the curtains.

The outline of the duke’s body was barely visible in the moonlight. He was turned away on his side, his back to her, his face toward the window. She would have to lean over his body to sprinkle the elixir on his eyes. The bed was tall. She must carefully climb up to do this task properly. She only hoped she didn’t jostle the mattress enough to wake him.

She waited in silence for a few moments to ensure his breathing remained steady, then she carefully lifted first one knee and then the other, bracing them on the mattress and pulling herself up, still clutching the vial. She winced as he moved slightly in his sleep, but he kept his face turned away. Blast it.

Once she was fully atop the bed, she paused and hoped the hammering of her heart didn’t wake him. He smelled good, a combination of soap and maleness that she wanted to breathe in. There was something vaguely familiar about his scent.

Shaking away that unhelpful thought, she moved gingerly across the mattress on her knees until she came to a stop at his side. His shirt was off. The beam of moonlight hit his smooth, muscled arm. She swallowed. The man’s chest was positively swoon-worthy. She took a deep breath to calm her nerves and uncorked the vial. Then she carefully leaned over as far as she could to locate his eyes. They remained shrouded in the dark, but she took a guess as to their general direction and tipped the little vial as slowly and carefully as she could. He turned then, and she was afforded enough light to see that the first tiny drop of liquid did indeed fall directly onto his eyelid.

He blinked, and she held her breath. When he settled back into sleep, she closed her eyes and said a brief prayer that she would get away with it a second time before tipping the vial once more to allow another tiny drop to fall on his other eyelid.

He blinked and rubbed at his eyes while Delilah held her breath again, paralyzed with fear. Soon, he settled back into his pillow and his breathing returned to its steady pace.

She pressed a hand to her throat. It was over. She was done. All she had to do was extract herself from the bed and the room without being seen or heard. The difficult part was behind her.

Still praying he wouldn’t stir, she backed away from the duke. Slowly. Slowly. She’d nearly made it to the edge of the bed when he flipped over to face her. A beam of moonlight slid over his sleeping features.

Delilah gasped.

From No Other Duke But You. Copyright © 2019 by Valerie Bowman and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

This is book eleven in the ‘Playful Brides’ series, and even though I haven’t read them all, I have thoroughly enjoyed all that I have read, these books are a lot of fun to read Valerie Bowman has a real witty way with words that never fails to amuse. She has genuine gift for her play on words and her imaginative storylines ….plus, not to mention her amazing heroes!

Delilah has come to the point in her life where she really must wed, after all she can’t very well keep going around like a feral child for the rest of her life now can she? She knows who she wants to marry, the only problem is to catch his attention. So, she devises a ‘not so’ brilliant plan to lace her intended with a love potion that will have him falling to his knees in love with her, then she can live happily ever after. Sounds like a good plan, right?

Unfortunately for Delilah her great plan doesn’t go to plan as the man she wanted doesn’t end up drinking her potion, but instead the man she has always seen as a best friend does. Oops!

Thomas has always had feelings for Delilah, he has never had any inclination to get stuck in the parsons mousetrap himself, yet when he sees his friend so adamant on becoming a duchess and her infatuated with another man he starts to have stirrings which shows themselves as true love for her. So, he starts to show her exactly how much she means to him.

Will Thomas finally prove to her that he has always loved her? And will they finally have their happily ever after?

The story which follows is a fun, clever and imaginative and quirky; friends to lovers romance. Even though this is a very fun, light-hearted and easy to read book and there is a real playful element to it which I found very entertaining, yet for me it wasn’t the best I have read of the series. It did feel as though there was something lacking, it didn’t quite have the same magic as the other books did. It has all the ingredients of a brilliant Valerie Bowman book; imaginative and fun plot and sensual, charismatic and lovable characters. But whether because it’s the last book, it has lost some of that much loved sparkle.

Overall this is a charming, little story that has a real warmth and wit to it that will entertain, those who love Ms Bowman’s work will devour it in one.

This was a complementary copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour.

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About The Author

Valerie Bowman grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her mini-schnauzers, Huckleberry and Violet. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS.

#BlogTour : The Duke And The Imposter (The French Orphans’ #5) by Michael Stolle @MichaelStolle16 #TheDukeAndTheImposter #TheFrenchOrphansSeries @Bookollective

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Hello, everyone! I have the great pleasure to be todays stop on this amazing blog tour for The Duke and The Imposter by Michael Stolle. I can’t wait to share my review of this amazing book with you all, so grab yourselves a cuppa and let me tell you a little about this book.

The Duke and The Imposter (The French Orphans Series #5) by Michael Stolle

It’s a beautiful day in the seventeenth century. Pierre, Marquis de Beauvoir, Duke of Hertford and his small family arrive for a picnic on the banks of the River Loire in the grounds of his castle of Montrésor. It is a garden Eden – beautiful and peaceful. But fate strikes and, taken by surprise, the lunch party is ambushed.

Pierre is found later by his faithful valet, barely clinging to life, but his wife and only son have vanished without a trace. Beyond consolation, Pierre is convinced that his family has been annihilated. Luckily his friends François and Armand rush to the castle from Paris to his aid – and to investigate.

The quest leads to the coast of France and then on to the shores of England, a country torn apart by old loyalties to the Stuart king and the rise of the new Puritan gentry.

As the friends come closer and closer to the viper’s nest they must find out the truth, and track down the mastermind behind the ambush, who is prepared to stop at nothing until he has taken Pierre’s place and styled himself the next Duke of Hertford. A man not known to take prisoners. Soon Pierre and his friends are not only fighting against an enemy who’s ruthless and vile, they’re racing against time, the biggest enemy of all.

I will first start by saying that this is the first I have read by Michael Stolle, so I did go into this book with eyes wide open and with caution as I always do with new to me authors. I loved the sound of this from the back blurb, it gripped me which is why I decided to be apart of this blog tour. I was fascinated by the description of it, it sounded thrilling and I can very happily say that I was not disappointed.

The Duke and The Imposter is book five in The French Orphans series, as I hadn’t read any of the previous books in the series I can say without a doubt that this can be very easily read as a stand a lone, there was hints of previous book plots but nothing that hindered my reading and enjoying of the story. It does make me want to go out and start reading the previous one though as I am fascinated as to the other stories in the series.

The story opens up to our hero; Pierre, Marquis de Beauvoir, Duke of Hertford waking up in his bed severely wounded after being attacked and nearly killed. He and his family were ambushed and he was shot and left for dead while his wife and young son disappeared without a trace. Those moments when Pierre comes to realise what happened is heart breaking, you genuinely feel his pain and his despair that he has lost the two most treasured things in his life. He right there and then decides that he won’t fight to get well he will just starve himself instead. Which is where his two closest friends come in; Armand and Francois ride hell pent from Paris to Montresor to go to their sick friends aid and to find out what the hell happened to Marie and little Pierre.

Once they start to investigate the three friends begin to see that this is far more than just a murder kidnap scheme, there is a dastardly plot in place to put the villain in Pierre’s shoes and take not just the title but to literally be him. Their investigation takes them from France across the channel to England, a country very like their own France which is full of danger as it is torn apart. But will they find the truth of what happened and why? But, most importantly will Pierre find his family?

I have to say, these three guys are great! I love the relationship between Pierre, Armand and Francois, there is a lot of friendly, brotherly fondness, lots of joking they don’t hold back when they are taking the mickey out of each other. But, more than that they are loyal, they have a great bond. I just love how their friendship is written!

Michael Stolle’s writing is fresh, fast and vivid, there is a real depth to this, it pulls you in from that first page, I was completely hooked and then it sets off on a whirlwind adventure through dangerous France and over to England. What I really loved about this is that the character’s really come to life, their relationship with one and other, the way they act and talk is very engaging for the reader. Unlike a lot of books where the point of view is writing through a certain character or through the eyes of the heroine and hero, with this it is written through the eyes of all the lead characters. So you’re not just seeing a scene through one set of eyes but three and I like that, it really gives perspective to each scene and each character’s personality.

The Duke and The Imposter is a fast paced, thrilling, exciting and imaginative story, it has a real fresh feel to it that lures the reader in. You are literally racing along with the three men and they investigative, it is completely immersive and I will guarantee that anyone who loves a good old-fashioned high stakes historical thriller , then you will love this one.

Great from start to finish!

This was a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, thank you to the lovely ladies at Bookollective.

The Duke and The Imposter is available now.

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About The Author

Born and educated in Europe, Michael has always been intrigued by the historical setting and the fact that what makes us human was as true in the 17th century as it is now.

He has been reading and writing about history for longer than he cares to recall…

Goodreads / Twitter / Amazon

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

 

#Review : Crikey A Bodygueard by Kathryn Freeman @KathrynFreeman1 #CrikeyABodyGuard @ChocLituk @RubyFiction

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Hello my lovely readers! Today, I have the great pleasure to be sharing my review of the gorgeous; Crikey A Bodyguard by Kathryn Freeman, this book is amazing and I can’t wait to tell you all a little about it.

A fun heart-warming read. Perfect for Spring!

Fabulous new book from the best selling author of Oh Crumbs and Too Damn Nice. Highly recommended.

She’s got the brains, he’s got the muscle …
When Kelly Bridge’s parents insist on employing a bodyguard for her protection, she’s not happy. Okay, so maybe not every woman is on the cusp of developing a vaccine against a potential biological terrorist attack – but crikey, it’s not like she’s a celebrity!

Ben Jacobs flunked spectacularly out of school, so he knows his new client Dr Kelly Bridge spells trouble for him. But on a conference trip to Rome he finds things are worse than he thought. Not only is he falling for the brilliant scientist, he’s also become horribly aware she’s in grave danger. As they go on the run, dodging bullets and kidnappers, can he resist his feelings and keep her safe?

Ooooh, this is so good!! I mean seriously this is way beyond just being good, this is in a league of it’s own for greatness. Romance, comedy, thrilling action it has everything! This is only the second book I have read by Kathryn Freeman, I was hooked by the first of hers I read; Oh, Crumbs! I fell in love with her serious and realistic and very easy to read writing style so I knew that I had to read this one too. As soon as I read about this I just knew; This book is going to be a good one! Do you ever get that? When you instantly know, that a book is going to be good without even reading the first page? This is what happened here, I just had to get this book in my hands.

Kelly is a scientist who is on the verge of a break through with vaccine for a pox that the government think terrorists could start using in biological attack. After she has been followed and had strange men turn up at her door claiming to read the meter her parents decide that she isn’t save and employ a body-guard for her – much to her disbelieve, she can’t believe tat they would go and do such a thing without asking her first. How could they think she needs a bodyguard, she is just scientist. But they won’t take no for an answer. So in walks ex-special forces soldier and now bodyguard; Ben.

I have fallen hopeless, head over heels in absolute love with the hero; Ben, my goodness!! I am swooning a little at the mere thought of this incredible man, what a hero! Lots of love is going to be showered towards this man and those vivid green eyes. I love how real he is, after leaving school with practically nothing except the notion that education wasn’t for him, he chose to enrol in the military which was the making of him, he found what he was good at, he found his family and more than he loved his job – even when he was going through tortuous special forces training. So when he gets shot and has to leave it broke his heart, which is when Pantha Security Services came in. Not only now does he get to be useful but because everyone in the company is ex forces, it’s like going home. Ben is a complex man, he is a multi-layered man kind, protective, loyal, patient, strong, ruthless, no-nonsense, brusque and undeniably charming.

But he has his vulnerabilityyes, I did zone on that fragility part of him the moment I met him – he feels inadequate and rather stupid around those who are higher on the social ladder then himself. So, when Ben finds out that his next job is to be the bodyguard of a scientist, he does groan and worry that this is going to one hell of a long job. That is until he meets; beautiful, brilliant, stubborn, super smart, unbelievably rich scientist; Kelly, who isn’t at all what he thinks her to be.

Even though Kelly doesn’t want Ben or any bodyguard, she fully thinks her parents are just jumping to conclusions – how wrong she is – she takes a real shine to him – again how could she not? She soon learns to trust the large man’s opinion and that he will keep her safe. I really liked the way Kelly explained the science and her job to Ben, after all he isn’t the inly one to not understand science talk.

This is my kind of book, it has everything! A stonking great plot, where you never know what is around the corner. A fantastic romance between two gorgeous people who you know are just crazy for each other. A super smart and independent heroine and rugged ex military hero – with green eyes, sigh! That is definitely my kryptonite. What you think will be a basic woman meets her bodyguard and they fall helplessly in love, soon shows that thus is far, far more than that. Yes, there is romance – after all this is a ChocLit book which are one of the best publishers around for a good old love story, but add to that the fast paced, race against terrorists then you have something very special.

This has a; must be made into a film, written all over it!

There is a real depth and feeling about it that just pulls you in and you literally at the edge of your seat as you devour it age by page, there re times when your heart is in your mouth and then you go; wow!!

Honestly, this book is so good! Thrilling, exciting, fun, witty, intelligent, romantic and it has real heart. Ms Freeman’s writing is so good, stylish, eloquent and so engrossing.

Just perfect!

This was an Arc copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you Liz.

Crikey a Bodyguard is available now from Amazon.