Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland (Blog Tour)

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland

 

39297794Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre

Publishing Date: 17th May 2018

Series: Robin Wilde #1

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

THE NUMBER 1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER!

Fans of Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk will love Wilde Like Me.

You’ll never forget the day you meet Robin Wilde!

Robin Wilde is an awesome single mum. She’s great at her job. Her best friend Lacey and bonkers Auntie Kath love her and little Lyla Blue to the moon and back. From the outside, everything looks just fine.

But behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things sometimes feel . . . grey. And lonely.

After 4 years (and 2 months and 24 days!) of single-mum-dom, it’s time for Robin Wilde to Change. Her. Life!

A little courage, creativity and help from the wonderful women around her go a long way. And Robin is about to embark on quite an adventure . . .

Rating: four-stars

Before reading “Wilde Like Me” I didn’t know about Louise Pentland, and I had no idea she is a well – known youtuber, as it is totally not my thing. I was, however,  incredibly intrigued by her book because I’ve heard tons of great things about it, and I loved the synopsis. It took me some time to find some spare time to eventually read it and even though the book turned out to be a little different to what I was expecting, I did enjoy it – I’ve finally got a very realistic, down – to – earth story about a single mum, with all the ups and downs that life brings. Honest and genuine – Robin might have come across as depressive, feeling down all the time but hell, this is life, this is the truth, and I could only admire her honesty and the way she tried to pick herself up and give her incredibly adoring daughter Lyla wonderful time.

I think the author has done a great job with the main character, Robin. She was not an easy person to like, me thinks – she was surrounded by wonderful people, incredible aunt and had a brilliant daughter, yet I had a feeling that the only thing that Robin wants is to have a man, that without a man she won’t feel fulfilled. There was also the issue of never – ending self – deprecating. But all of this somehow worked, she seemed realistic and incredibly honest and it just felt genuine. There was not beating around the bush with Robin, we got her just like she really was, there were no hidden masks, there was only her true face and this is why I think Robin worked for me. I also got The Emptiness – yes, it seemed as if she was having depression and more than a man she’s rather needed a therapy perhaps – maybe because I also got a period in my life when I felt exactly the same, so I could absolutely and fully relate to Robin and her feelings, and all I wanted was to cheer her on, not to tell her to pull her socks up.

The writing style was really not bad for a debut novel, though there were moments it felt a little rough and not too well rounded but I could really live with it and altogether it was fun and light – hearted and the poignant and heavier moments were very well balanced. It was not a book that is going to change my world but it was a light and entertaining read that more than once rang a bell or two. I liked that the story focused so much on the emotions and feelings of the main character and bitter – sweetly told things as they really are, with all the ups and downs of being a single mum. Roll on book 2!

 

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It Started with a Tweet by Anna Bell – #BlogTour + Guest Post

Hi guys! Hope you’re having a great Monday and if not it’s going to be bettwe right now because I have a brilliant guest post from Anna Bell! Her brand new and shiny “It Started with a Tweet” has just been released as an ebook and will be available in paperback on 28th December, and what can I say guys, it’s a brilliant, humorous book and I loved every single minute of it!

It Started with a Tweet by Anna Bell

 

35091775Publisher: Zaffre

Publishing Date: 7th December 2017

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 28.12.2017)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Can Daisy Hobson log off for love…?

Could you survive a digital detox? This hilarious new romantic comedy from the author of The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart is perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Sophie Kinsella.

Daisy Hobson lives her whole life online. A marketing manager by day, she tweets her friends, instagrams every meal and arranges (frankly, appalling) dates on Tinder. But when her social media obsession causes her to make a catastrophic mistake at work, Daisy finds her life going into free-fall . . .

Her sister Rosie thinks she has the answer to all of Daisy’s problems – a digital detox in a remote cottage in Cumbria, that she just happens to need help doing up. Soon, too, Daisy finds herself with two welcome distractions: sexy French exchange-help Alexis, and Jack, the brusque and rugged man-next-door, who keeps accidentally rescuing her.

But can Daisy, a London girl, ever really settle into life in a tiny, isolated village? And, more importantly, can she survive without her phone?

Rating: five-stars

Anna Bell belongs to my auto – buy authors, guys, and I really don’t need to read the blurb to her new book because I know it’s going to be brilliant and just my cup of tea. I fell in love with her writing style, and her stories are not only incredibly hilarious but also close to life and full of wonderful, livid characters, and I am always waiting impatiently for her new release.

The heroine, Daisy, was such a typical Anna Bell’s character – bubbly and quirky, full of life, always getting in troubles but in the end always learning her lesson, and I bloody loved her. You couldn’t not like her, even though you sometimes wanted to throttle her and feel desperate with her, but mostly she was really a brilliant person. She was honest and straightforward and felt so realistic and when she got herself into this huge trouble I couldn’t help but fell and feel for her, even though it happened of her own making.
Meet Jack. So grumpy and so introverted but oh my word, so gorgeous, so funny and he very quickly became one of my favourite characters in this book. The blossoming relationship between him and Daisy was simply the best, so awkward and so genuine and one of the greatest moments in the story were the letters (yes! Letters! Don’t forget about Daisy being on a detox, and the fact that there was never reception didn’t help as well) that Daisy and Jake sent to each other – oh boy, they were so honest and so funny! It was so heart – warming, and so sweet and I so wanted to bang their heads together sometimes, as – of course! OF COURSE! – nothing is straightforward in life in fiction, right, and there are few bumps and turns on the (muddy) road to their happiness. One of them is the sexy Frenchman Alexis – oh, he’s going to stir up troubles!

Even though I spent endless hours on social networks I hope I’m not as extreme as Daisy, though the story really made me think and I promised myself to cut those hours spent scrolling down on Twitter or Facebook. However, I can go without my phone. Really. Lately I even once forgot to take it with me to work. Yes, I felt funny and insecure but I survived. But maybe it wouldn’t be too bad to go on a digital detox myself? To start see things again? To pay more attention to the outside world? This book is a real eye – opener, guys.

Anna Bell’s writing style is so light and easy. It is chatty and I had a feeling as if someone was recounting me the story and not as if I was reading it. She can so easily engage with her readers, both thanks to the topics she chooses and to her writing style, and it is so easy to connect to her characters and everything she writes about, especially as the social media stuff is such a hot topic nowadays. I think all of us can relate to Daisy, in this way or the other, with her need to stay up to date with all the news on Facebook or Twitter.

“It Started with a Tweet” was such a light, funny and entertaining read but it also touched on some more important and serious issues, and I loved how well Anna Bell interwoven them into the story, how she mixed the light – hearted and heavier stuff together and delivered a brilliant and up – to – date and close to reality story that rings the bell oh so much and that we can relate to. It was full of laugh – out – loud moments and I was all the time smiling when reading it. Full of embarrassing moment and surprises and I couldn’t wait to turn the page to see what’s going to happen next. Another cracker from the lovely Anna Bell – highly recommended!

GUEST POST

How ideas evolve

Every novel has a starting point. A small kernel of an idea that sparks off the project. For It Started With A Tweet it was the idea that the two main characters would fall in love with each other by writing letters. It was a simple idea with a huge question to solve: why would they write letters? Why wouldn’t they speak in person? Why would they not text or use a messaging app? And so the process began . . .

At first I thought I’d set my novel in rural France where I live. Lots of British people move over to France and buy run down properties that they renovate. There are also a lot of people that choose to live off grid and don’t have mobile phones (we often can’t get reception) and don’t have TVs etc. It seemed at first like it would make the perfect setting, but when I started to plan the novel I realised it presented a lot of problems. The villagers would have to be french, would my main character be able to speak the language? The location seemed to create as many problems as it seemed to solve and that’s when I decided to set it in Cumbria.

Cumbria was a great setting as it’s remote enough to suffer from mobile phone black spots and old derelict farmhouses are relatively cheap to buy (compared to other areas in the UK). It was the perfect place and to create an easily believable scenario where my main character could be easily away from having phone and internet. Only something was still niggling at me. Why couldn’t the main character walk into the village and use a phone box? And surely they’d be able to get signal somewhere for her to text. I needed more of an incentive to keep her offline and that’s when the digital detox was born.

The digital detox idea seemed perfect. It gave the book a real focus (and a plot) as the book became about Daisy’s digital addiction and what happened when her sister Rosie forced her offline. The first draft saw Daisy fired from her job because she’d forgotten to send important emails – she was too distracted all the time by her mobile. When I sent it to my editors they loved her digital detox but they felt her reason for going wasn’t strong enough. They suggested that Daisy make a digital faux pas. It was a great idea and I knew almost immediately how it could happen. There’s a scene near the beginning where Daisy goes on the Tinder date from hell and it lent itself beautifully for her to tweet something about the date accidentally from her work account rather than her personal one. It tied the whole novel together instantly and it even lent itself to the title of the book.

It takes roughly eighteen months between the initial idea and the moment I see the finished book on the shelf and the end product is usually unrecognisable. With each draft the ideas evolve and change. I think that’s why I love writing so much – you never know where your ideas are going to take you!

 

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Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

 

34870304Publisher: Hot Keys Books

Publishing Date: 5th September 2017

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 272

Genre:  Mystery & Thrillers, Teens & YA

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the author of the unforgettable bestseller WE WERE LIARS comes a suspenseful new psychological thriller – the story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life.

But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

Rating: two-half-stars

Honestly, I was very intrigued after reading synopsis of “Genuine Fraud”. I went into it with an open mind, not sure what I can expect from the author that is new to me, and from the book itself that already got so many mixed reviews. After reading the novel though I think I know why the reviews are so diversified.

The story is written backwards, if I can say so, and I can already tell you here is where my biggest problem was. It felt really weird reading about things, events and situations and understanding them not until a few chapters later. I also often found myself not remembering to what situations that I’ve already read about did the events lead. It was really weird, demanding and made the reading more difficult for me personally. It was confusing and to be totally honest, not clear, some things and characters were appearing out of the blue and after finishing it I found myself sitting and thinking, and what now?

The storyline follows two characters and one is pretending to be the other one. They were not likeable, those characters, however I think that’s the way it was supposed to be. They were reckless. They were unreliable and they were probably in a need of a therapy. I didn’t feel connect to any of the characters and actually mostly I just felt reluctance towards them. I didn’t understand them and their motives probably, and I still am not sure if this what happened with Jule’s parents was truth or was it another lie.

The writing style was great but on the other hand it felt so cold and emotionless as if the author didn’t mind if she connects with the readers or not. It lacked in suspense in tension. There was not a mystery to discover. There weren’t any twists. So what was this book for? I was truly intrigued by the beginning, the first two, three chapters. Then the going back in time began, and every chapter skips back a week, few weeks or even a month before. I have nothing against flashbacks or retrospections but it was just too much for me and this timeline has just kept messing me up.

So the book left me totally in two minds and I still am not sure what to think. I will definitely read another E. Lockhart’s book, especially as I’m hearing so many good things about “We Were Liars”, but “Genuine Fraud” stays for me a short, fast – paced story with an average plot, not likeable, unbelievable and underdeveloped characters. However, if you’re looking for a read with a difference, that is fresh and unique and even intriguing, that you might give “Genuine Fraud” a shot.

Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin

Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin

 

36044566Publisher: Zaffre

Publishing Date: 2nd November 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 368

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

This year spend a wonderful Christmas on Juniper Island, where love can melt even the iciest of hearts…

Piper Chesterfield lives a glamorous life travelling the world and reviewing the finest hotels. She calls nowhere home, she works alone and that’s how she likes it. For long ago Piper decided that to protect her heart she should lock it away.

So when Piper’s next assignment brings her to the newly opened Stardust Lake Hotel for the festive season, the last person she expects to face is Gabe Whitaker, the man who broke her heart so completely she could never love again.

But Piper isn’t the only one who has been frozen in time by heartbreak. Gabe hasn’t forgotten the golden-eyed girl who disappeared from his world without a trace.

Now fate has reunited them on Juniper island, can the magic of Christmas heal old wounds? And can this enchanting town be the one place Piper can finally call home?

Curl up with this gorgeously romantic tale and let the glistening snow and the roaring fires of Stardust Lake Hotel get you in the festive spirit this Christmas.

Rating: four-stars

 

So guys,  Ms Martin has just done it again – effortlessly transported me to the beautiful town called Christmas and frankly, each time I came for a breath and looked around I was surprised to see there is no snow and asking where my Christmas tree is. I think Holly Martin is one of the best when it comes to describing places, to being able to transport her readers into her imaginary world and to feel a part of the characters’ world. Therefore I am promoting Holly to Queen of Christmas stories – she can probably describe this season in the best possible way!

Holly Martin belongs to those authors whose books I read without having a look at the synopsis first, simply because I know that I am for a real treat. So I didn’t know what to expect when starting reading “Christmas under the Cranberry Sky” and I was totally surprised by the gorgeous setting and the fantastic idea of placing the story on the Juniper Island, in a town called Christmas – already the names are gorgeous, inspiring and inviting and it is official that I want to live there. Holly absolutely sold this place to me, with the ponies running free and terrorizing the town (but in a sweet way, no? Just imagine those little Shetlands, with their wild manes looking at you askance – GORGEOUS!), or the reindeers with festive names, or The Stardust Lake Hotel itself – it’s decided, I’m moving there! Holly has put a lot of thought to create this place and following her descriptions of all the places I felt as if I am looking at the place through a webcam, such vivid and realistic they were. To say that she brought this place to life would be an understatement, to be honest, she has just created a real fictional town. I think that my favourite part was the Christmas market with all its shops – there was so much care put into every single shop that we visited, the items were described so closely and accurately and with a lot of heart and feeling and I. Want. To. Buy. Those. Things, Holly! And try the many different flavours of the chocolate fountain! There were probably as many shops as there were villagers and I’d gladly read a book only about them and the lovely, beautiful, well – thought and original things they were selling.

Next to the fantastic descriptions of the setting, the characters also made the book. Not all of them, I admit, but Piper for example was great. She had a really crappy past and I admired her, truly admired, she is a girl that deserves a standing ovation, that she got off safe and sound from all this mess and that she achieved something in her life and not slipped as a drug – addict or something. She also had the best job in the world, probably – travelling the world, staying in the most beautiful places. Yes, there was a disadvantage, as she didn’t have a place to call home, but she seemed really happy with the situation, and she was able to see things that I can only dream about seeing *jealousy alert*. She was great with people, she didn’t have any problems to make contacts with them and I loved how quickly she found a common ground with Wren, Gabe’s daughter – they were the best duet in the world.
I didn’t have any problems with Piper (maybe this little one. I know you can feel insecure and hurt and feeling like there is no one you can trust, but not having a boyfriend for twelve years? Having sex only once in your whole life??? Puh – lease!) but I sadly had some with Gabe. I don’t know, I’m not sure why, but somehow for me he was not the right one for Pip, she has deserved someone who was not so whiny and so uncertain, and Gabe really seemed not to know what he wanted. Sure, I know where he was coming from, what with his little girl needing a routine and stability, but this blowing once hot, once cold was for me unacceptable. He behaved like a child, all the time changing his mind, and he demanded from Pip absolute trust while he himself didn’t trust her. Hello? It was really like going in circles with him.

But altogether I truly loved this novel. It is a second – chance romance, it is about overcoming issues, it is about trust and forgetting about the crap past and looking into the bright future, and I loved how optimistic it is and when I came to the end I really didn’t want to part with this lovely Island. Already looking forward to reading the second book in the series, but in the meantime I highly recommend “Christmas Under the Cranberry Sky” to you!

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland

 

32498973Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre

Publishing Date: 29th June 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Meet Robin Wilde! You’ll make a friend for life and she’ll take you on a journey you’ll never forget …

Single mum Robin Wilde adores her six-year-old daughter and loves her job as a make up artist’s assistant. She has a wonderful best friend and an auntie who is bonkers, yes, but loves her to the moon and back.

But Robin has a secret. Behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things just feel … grey. And lonely. She struggles to fit in with the school mum crew. Online dating is totally despair-inducing, and she worries every day about raising her little girl with self-confidence, courage and joy.

What Robin longs for is someone (over the age of six) to share with – someone who’s always on her team.

After 4 years (2 months, and 15 days!) of single-mum-dom, it’s time for Robin Wilde to Change. Her. Life.

Exciting new opportunities are about to come Robin’s way … Perhaps a man, perhaps the chance of a lifetime …

What will Robin do with the possibilities she creates for herself? And what potential will she unlock if she takes the leap?

Rating: four-stars

 

Before reading “Wilde Like Me” I didn’t know about Louise Pentland, and I had no idea she is a well – known youtuber, as it is totally not my thing. I was only incredibly intrigued by her book because I’ve heard tons of great things about it, and I loved the synopsis. It took me some time to find some spare time to eventually read it and even though the book turned out to be a little different to what I was expecting, I did enjoy it – I’ve finally got a very realistic, down – to – earth story about a single mum, with all the ups and downs that life brings. Honest and genuine – Robin might have come across as depressive, feeling down all the time but hell, this is life, this is the truth, and I could only admire her honesty and the way she tried to pick herself up and give her incredibly adoring daughter Lyla wonderful time.

I think the author has done a great job with the main character, Robin. She was not an easy person to like, me thinks – she was surrounded by wonderful people, incredible aunt and had a brilliant daughter, yet I had a feeling that the only thing that Robin wants is to have a man, that without a man she won’t feel fulfilled. There was also the issue of never – ending self – deprecating. But all of this somehow worked, she seemed realistic and incredibly honest and it just felt genuine. There was not beating around the bush with Robin, we got her just like she really was, there were no hidden masks, there was only her true face and this is why I think Robin worked for me. I also got The Emptiness – yes, it seemed as if she was having depression and more than a man she’s rather needed a therapy perhaps – maybe because I also got a period in my life when I felt exactly the same, so I could absolutely and fully relate to Robin and her feelings, and all I wanted was to cheer her on, not to tell her to pull her socks up.

The writing style was really not bad for a debut novel, though there were moments it felt a little rough and not too well rounded but I could really live with it and altogether it was fun and light – hearted and the poignant and heavier moments were very well balanced. It was not a book that is going to change my world but it was a light and entertaining read that more than once rang a bell or two. I liked that the story focused so much on the emotions and feelings of the main character and bitter – sweetly told things as they really are, with all the ups and downs of being a single mum. Roll on book 2!

Guest Post by Angus Donald

Hi guys! Today is the say when the new historical fiction series novel Blood’s Game by thebloods-game-by-angus-donald bestselling author, Angus Donald, is published.  What makes this novel particularly interesting is that Angus Donald is a distant relative of the protagonist, Col. Thomas Blood who famously stole the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London in 1671 – brilliant, no? I am incredibly looking towards reading the book but in the meantime I have a guest post from the author!

 

The court of Charles II: mistresses, mischief and merry-making

By Angus Donald
I’ve always enjoyed a little debauchery – I don’t get to indulge so much these days, now that I’m middle-aged and married with two young kids, but I’ve done more than my fair share of wild partying over the years. And I must admit that it was partly this deplorable character failing that drew me to write about the Restoration period and the “Merry Monarch” Charles II – it sounded like a hell of a lot of fun!

My new novel Blood’s Game, a tale about the attempt by Colonel Thomas Blood to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London, opens in 1670, ten years after Charles was restored to his thrones in the Three Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland. Once back in power after a long penniless exile, the King was determined to have a really good time. He travelled back to London from the Kentish coast in a glittering procession, dressed in a silver tunic, his path strewn with fragrant herbs by beautiful maidens, the public fountains in the capital all running with wine. He continued this display of largesse throughout his reign; he spent money he didn’t have on fabulous masked balls, parties and banquets for his friends, he bought rare jewels and thoroughbred race horses, he gave extravagant gifts and grants of lands to his many mistresses and their offspring – by 1670 he owned eleven royal yachts and was about to buy another for his unhappy Portuguese wife Catherine.

His ministers tried to rein in his spending but, even though he received more than a million pounds a year from Parliament, his expenditure always far outstripped his income. But, as Charles says in Blood’s Game: “A certain carelessness with his finances befits a monarch. I refuse to scrimp and snivel like some damned pauper.”

The King was deliberate about this policy of having fun: the Three Kingdoms had just come out of a long dark period when the bloody civil wars were followed by the Puritan rule of the Commonwealth and Oliver Cromwell. During the austere interregnum period, most sports were banned, drunkenness and even swearing was punished with a fine, non-religious expressions of Christmas were stopped, many inns were closed, as were all the theatres, women caught working on Sundays were put in the stocks, bright clothes were banned and make-up was scrubbed off girls’ faces by soldiers who caught them wearing it, right there and then. Armed men humiliating women in the streets in the name of religious purity does not only happen in other parts of the world. We had our own approximation of the Taliban once.

So, when Charles returned to the throne, he wanted to show his subjects that it was now perfectly all right for people to enjoy themselves. Hip hip hooray! The theatres were reopened, and there was a resurgence of bawdy, satirical plays. Public drunkenness, particularly among the aristocracy, was so commonplace as to be almost a badge of rank. Pranks and japes abounded – a pair of well-born young men, friends of the King and members of the notorious Merry Gang, scandalised London by appearing on a balcony and pretending to sodomise each other. Poets and playwrights could openly criticise the King, his court, his morals and his mistresses. And did so enthusiastically. The drunken poet John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, leader of the Merry Gang, wrote of the King in one satire: “Restless he rolls from whore to whore/ A merry monarch, scandalous and poor”

Because Charles took his sexual pleasures seriously, too. He had many lovers as a young bachelor, including his nanny Mrs Wyndham, who took his virginity when he was fifteen. And after he married Catherine of Braganza, in 1662, he had at least seven mistresses, and possible as many as thirteen, who bore him a dozen children.

The role of mistress was semi-official – a whore or courtesan, or woman with whom the King had a casual encounter, would not counted among their number – and a man who kept one was obliged to pay for her food, drink, accommodation and servants, as well as making her generous presents from time to time, perhaps when he paid them a visit. Many of the mistresses and their illegitimate children, whose paternity the King acknowledged, received earldoms and dukedoms from the King – and many of British aristocrats alive today trace their ancestry back to Charles II.

Two of the the most famous of Charles’s mistresses – the formidable beauty Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, and the famous actress Nell Gywn – make appearances in Blood’s Game. In the period when the book is set, Barbara was about thirty and was being replaced in the royal affections by the feisty and outrageous Nell, who was ten years younger. Gwyn was an actress, and before that an “orange-seller” in the theatres, a profession which some historians take as a euphemism for prostitute. Perhaps because of her lowly origins and dubious trade, she was never ennobled by her royal lover, although her two children were.

Barbara, on the other hand, came from the noble Villiers family. She gave Charles five children and, as a long-time and fecund mistress, she wielded more power at court than childless Catherine. In fact, she was known as the Uncrowned Queen and she used her position ruthlessly to enrich herself and her friends. She persuaded the King to grant her lavish titles and lands and properties – she was given  Nonsuch Palace, built by Henry VIII, and the title Baroness Nonsuch, and promptly dismantled the palace and sold off the building materials to pay her gambling debts. She “borrowed” tens of thousands of pounds from the Privy Purse, and when this was discovered, the debt was immediately forgiven by her indulgent lover Charles.

When Charles’s interest in her began to wane, she was not above finding other gentlemen friends to amuse her. She became the lover of Jack Churchill, the future Duke of Marlborough, when he was a handsome and penniless young officer at court. She bore Churchill a daughter and tried, unsuccessfully, to claim she was the King’s.

Charles was not exactly delighted that his long-time lover, a woman he had given so much to, had taken a younger man to her bed – Barbara had given Churchill a gift of £5,000, money she had received from the King, which infuriated Charles – but he was perfectly gentlemanly about the situation. He was, after all, beginning his relationship with Nell Gwyn at the time. There is a (probably apocryphal) tale, which I have included in Blood’s Game, that a servant was paid £100 by the Duke of Buckingham to inform His Grace when Churchill and Villiers would next be enjoying a lovers’ tryst. The mischief-making Duke then persuaded the King to visit Barbara at the same time. The story goes that when the King arrived unexpectedly, the naked Churchill had to hide in a cupboard, and was discovered there by the Merry Monarch.

Apparently, the King saw the funny side, and forgave his love rival. He said: “You are a rascal, sir, but I forgive you because you do it to get your [daily] bread.”

A stinging insult – basically calling Churchill a man-whore – then forgiveness. And never losing your sense of humour. That’s pure class in my book. And the lusty King even hung around to pleasure his old mistress after young Churchill had gone.

How could writing about a monarch like that, and chronicling his court of drunken, debauched and promiscuous hangers-on, not be the most tremendous fun?

I hope you find reading Blood’s Game just as enjoyable.

Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin

Summer at Rose Island

by Holly Martin

 

Publisher: Zaffre

Publishing Date: 13th July 2017

Series: White Cliff Bay #3

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!.

Number of pages: 368

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

Fall in love with the gorgeous seaside town of White Cliff Bay this summer and enjoy long sunny days, beautiful beaches and… a little romance.

Darcy Davenport is ready for a fresh start. Determined to leave a string of disastrous jobs and relationships behind her, she can’t wait to explore White Cliff Bay and meet the locals.

When Darcy swims in the crystal clear waters of the bay, she discovers the charming Rose Island Lighthouse. But it’s not just the beautiful building that she finds so intriguing…

Riley Eddison doesn’t want change. Desperate to escape the memories of his past, he lives a life of solitude in the lighthouse. Yet he can’t help but notice the gorgeous woman who swims out to his island one day.

Darcy is drawn to the mysterious and sexy Riley, but when it seems the town is trying to demolish his home, she soon finds herself having to pick sides.

She’s fallen in love with White Cliff Bay. But is that all Darcy’s fallen for?

Pull up a deck chair, sink back with a bowl of strawberry ice cream and pick up the summer read you won’t be able to put down.

Rating: four-stars

Aaaahh, the lovely Holly did it again – went and wrote a book that feels like your best friend, like your favourite blanket, like a cup of hot chocolate or a sunny day spent in the garden reading your favourite novel!
It was great to be back in White Cliff Bay and I had a feeling that I’ve never left this place to be honest, as Holly’s effortless storytelling threw me directly into the heart of the novel, together with some of my best friends. It’s somehow always comforting, this feeling, and the fact that you know that you’re going to feel immediately at home when starting Holly’s new book.
„Summer at Rose Island” is the third book in the White Cliff Bay series and yes, you can read it as a stand – alone novel, even though many characters from the previous books appear there, and Darcy’s neighbours are Libby and George, but I’d advise that you should read all the books in the series, from a very simple reason of missing too much of Holly’s brilliant writing, sense of humour and lovely stories.

And oh my word, guys, what can I say about Holly’s book that I haven’t said before? „Summer at Rose Island” is the best example of her writing. There were brilliant characters, exceptionally beautiful setting and also the author has touched upon some environmental important issues, writing about things that I’ve no idea about. But about characters. This time Darcy and Riley are the main ones and I loved the way Holly described them. Darcy is lovely, a people’s person, so she doesn’t have any problems to make friends with other people, and her first encounter with her new neighbours – Lilly and George – is bloody hilarious! Darcy is like a whirlwind of activity and whenever she is, something happens, and she often puts herself into awkward situations, as she’s verrrry accident prone. But this clumsiness, and that she always wants to get on people’s best sides and make them happy is what makes Darcy so lovely and likeable, I really immediately warmed to her. My heart also went to her because of the situation with her parents, who – saying that they were not thrilled with their daughter would be an understatement – they only criticized her and never supported her and underestimated her. No wonder that Darcy wanted to flee and start living on her own, so moving to White Cliff Bay, a place that she’d already known because of her late aunt, seemed like a great idea. Moreover, Darcy is a sea – person. She loves swimming and everything that had to do with water, well, she is a marine biologist and sharks are her passion, and thanks to her I’ve learnt some things about them that I didn’t have any idea before. So to be honest, romances and such were not on Darcy’s radar, but then enters Riley – a reclusive American living in a lighthouse – a beautiful lighthouse that means a lot to many of the White Cliff Bay residents but that is intended to demolition! But back to Riley, who’d rather keep himself to himself, that is, until he meets Darcy… I really, really loved how Holly described Riley! He was perfect, with his southern charm, with his „ma’am” – ing, cowboy shoes and big, big, warm and soft heart.

Holly Martin, as in all her books, makes sure that also in „Summer at Rose Island” her characters are colourful, vivid and different. I always love how she makes them full of passion and how she effortlessly sneaks new facts into her novels, here about sharks and sea life for example. The characters are always complex, exceptional personalities. But also she makes sure that the town is a character of its own and the way she has described everything was just spot – on for me and I could see the things and places clearly in my mind, the shops, the bay, the lovely houses, the beautiful lighthouse.

White Cliff Bay is a town where everybody knows everybody and their business, and even though it took Darcy a little time to get used to the gossip, she very quickly acclimatised there. It is my favourite kind of town, to be honest, not too big, and I think I would even do with the others knowing so much about me, because they were all so friendly and so welcoming, and they supported each other so much, even though the person being supported (yes, Riley, I’m talking about you) was so very reluctant. I liked how Holly thrown Darcy direct into the middle of the events happening at the town, and how the residents welcomed her, making her feel a part of their town immediately.

However, to be absolutely, totally honest with you, I am missing a little of this unique, exceptional sense of humour that Holly got me used to in her previous books, the one that had me snorting suddenly with laughter, frightening all around me. Don’t get me wrong, it was a humorous, light – hearted book, but I missed those moments that made me laugh out loud, so much that I was in stitches. And I also, personally, think that Holly’s book, as much as I love them, are very similar to each other, and sure, I love this similarity, as I know what I can expect, and I adore that I get this what I expect, and I really, truly treasure and value Holly so much and I just would love her to surprise me with such a book like her written under the pen name „Tied Up with Love” – and this is why this time I gave the book 4 stars, not my usual five. It doesn’t mean I didn’t love the book, it only means that I missed something special, something original – but please don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing, I am only telling my feelings.

„Summer at the Rose Island” is this kind of book that make you feel welcome and warm. It’s full of positive feelings, a gorgeous, charming story that is going to draw you immediately in. Holly Martin’s descriptions of everything she writes about, let it be characters, their personalities, dogs, nature or lighthouse are incredibly vivid and she brings this all so easily to life and makes me feel like a part of this world.
What I also so like in Holly’s novels, and what you of course gets in „Summer at Rose Island” is the fact that, of course, there is always the happy end (but this is why I love the stories so much, a girl is always after a happy end, right?), but the way to this happy end is not always so obvious and full of obstacles. This time these are mostly Darcy and Riley themselves who complicate the things oh so much, only because they are champions of jumping to conclusions and of not communicating. Really, the whole town knows, I know, everybody all around them knows that they are perfect together and only they don’t know it. I adored Darcy and Riley and I adored their stories, and the fact that it felt so honest and genuine, and that they both were so genuine with their feelings, with their awkwardness, that they were so realistic and not so polished because it made them even more relatable and likeable.
Altogether, another cracker from Holly Martin. You can be sure that when you buy a book by this author that she’s going to deliver: a gorgeous, realistic romance, characters that you root for and also swoon over brilliant atmosphere, and that you’re won’t be disappointed. „Summer at Rose Island” is a perfect summery read, a great holiday novel, so be sure to take it with you on your break! It is this kind of a book that makes you feel happy and you can be sure that you’re going to finish your reading with a big, happy grin on your face.