#Review by Lou of An Indiscreet Princess By Georgie Blalock @Harper360UK #GeorgieBlalock #HistoricalFiction #RandomTTours #AnIndiscreetPrincess #RoyalFiction

An Indiscreet Princess
By Georgie Blalock

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour for a historical fiction book that takes facts of a time and princess from historical times and fictionalises it, but gives some detail about the rebellious and artistically talented daughter of Queen Victoria – Princess Louise. How could I pass up such a book, when there’s my namesake right there? Except, I have no blue blood that I am aware of running through my veins, but I do have a care for and interest in the Royal family.
Discover more about the princess in the blurb and my thoughts of the book in my review. I also thank RandomTTours, Compulsive Readers and Harper Collins UK for the invite to review and a copy of the book.

Blurb

Before Princess Margaret, before Duchess Meghan, there was Princess Louise: royal rebel.

As the fourth daughter of the perpetually in-mourning Queen Victoria, Princess Louise’s life is more a gilded prison than a fairy tale. Expected to sit quietly next to her mother with down-cast eyes, Louise vows to escape the stultifying royal court. Blessed with beauty, artistic talent, and a common touch, she creates a life outside the walled-in existence of the palace grounds by attending the National Art Training School—where she shockingly learns to sculpt nude models while falling passionately in love with famed sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm.

But even as Louise cultivates a life outside the palace, she is constantly reminded that even royal rebels must heed the call of duty—and for a princess that means marriage. Refusing to leave England, she agrees to a match with the Duke of Argyll, and although her heart belongs to another, she is determined to act out her public role perfectly, even if her private life teeters on the brink of scandal. But when a near fatal accident forces Louise back under her mother’s iron rule, she realizes she must choose: give in to the grief of lost love or find the strength to fight for her unconventional life.

Review

There have often been royals who have a rebellious side and Princess Louise was, as well as being a bit flighty when younger. To put her life in even more context of time, she also  lived at the same time as Bertie, someone perhaps a bit more known than she.
She, interestingly had a love of art, whilst in a way so did Queen Victoria enjoy the arts, but preferring Mr Browning and his writings, rather than the National Art Training School and all that’s as taught there, which was an interest of Princess Louise, who needs to convince the Queen to let her go and then let her stay for another term, urged by her professor who was constructing a memorial for Lord Holland in Holland Park. This again adds context as well as shows her path in life that she is going down.

What is also interesting is how far in history, Balmoral goes as it is mentioned here in this book. The novel has interesting bits of places that play a role in both today’s society and monarchy and of yesteryear. It gives it another hook, especially since it crosses borders and shows the monarchy, even way back then was for all of the UK, as it is now.

There’s the question of romance,marriage and a wedding and all her emotions as well as the UK coming together, but with Princess Louise’s feelings not being quite as you’d expect from a marriage, nor her actions, partly this is because of the times, partly her personality and her desires being different from the Crown.

It is clear to see that Princess Louise does try to balance her passion for art and her beliefs and her duties, but also that of Queen Victoria trying to steer her away from scandal. This book shows appreciation and royals doing their best, especially that of the Queen and eventually an appreciation of the senior royals and what it means to have the crown. It has a surprisingly good and poignant ending.

The book certainly glides along and the author certainly found a story to tell.

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#Review by Lou of An Indiscreet Princess By Georgie Blalock @Harper360UK #GeorgieBlalock #HistoricalFiction #RandomTTours #AnIndiscreetPrincess #RoyalFiction

An Indiscreet Princess
By Georgie Blalock

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour for a historical fiction book that takes facts of a time and princess from historical times and fictionalises it, but gives some detail about the rebellious and artistically talented daughter of Queen Victoria – Princess Louise. How could I pass up such a book, when there’s my namesake right there? Except, I have no blue blood that I am aware of running through my veins, but I do have a care for and interest in the Royal family.
Discover more about the princess in the blurb and my thoughts of the book in my review. I also thank RandomTTours, Compulsive Readers and Harper Collins UK for the invite to review and a copy of the book.

Blurb

Before Princess Margaret, before Duchess Meghan, there was Princess Louise: royal rebel.

As the fourth daughter of the perpetually in-mourning Queen Victoria, Princess Louise’s life is more a gilded prison than a fairy tale. Expected to sit quietly next to her mother with down-cast eyes, Louise vows to escape the stultifying royal court. Blessed with beauty, artistic talent, and a common touch, she creates a life outside the walled-in existence of the palace grounds by attending the National Art Training School—where she shockingly learns to sculpt nude models while falling passionately in love with famed sculptor Joseph Edgar Boehm.

But even as Louise cultivates a life outside the palace, she is constantly reminded that even royal rebels must heed the call of duty—and for a princess that means marriage. Refusing to leave England, she agrees to a match with the Duke of Argyll, and although her heart belongs to another, she is determined to act out her public role perfectly, even if her private life teeters on the brink of scandal. But when a near fatal accident forces Louise back under her mother’s iron rule, she realizes she must choose: give in to the grief of lost love or find the strength to fight for her unconventional life.

Review

There have often been royals who have a rebellious side and Princess Louise was, as well as being a bit flighty when younger. To put her life in even more context of time, she also  lived at the same time as Bertie, someone perhaps a bit more known than she.
She, interestingly had a love of art, whilst in a way so did Queen Victoria enjoy the arts, but preferring Mr Browning and his writings, rather than the National Art Training School and all that’s as taught there, which was an interest of Princess Louise, who needs to convince the Queen to let her go and then let her stay for another term, urged by her professor who was constructing a memorial for Lord Holland in Holland Park. This again adds context as well as shows her path in life that she is going down.

What is also interesting is how far in history, Balmoral goes as it is mentioned here in this book. The novel has interesting bits of places that play a role in both today’s society and monarchy and of yesteryear. It gives it another hook, especially since it crosses borders and shows the monarchy, even way back then was for all of the UK, as it is now.

There’s the question of romance,marriage and a wedding and all her emotions as well as the UK coming together, but with Princess Louise’s feelings not being quite as you’d expect from a marriage, nor her actions, partly this is because of the times, partly her personality and her desires being different from the Crown.

It is clear to see that Princess Louise does try to balance her passion for art and her beliefs and her duties, but also that of Queen Victoria trying to steer her away from scandal. This book shows appreciation and royals doing their best, especially that of the Queen and eventually an appreciation of the senior royals and what it means to have the crown. It has a surprisingly good and poignant ending.

The book certainly glides along and the author certainly found a story to tell.

#Review By Lou of Ginger and Me By Elissa Soave @elissa_soave @HQstories @HarperCollinsUK #GingerandMe #ContemporaryFiction

Ginger and Me
By Elissa Soave

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Touching, haunting and a darn good read that’s hard to put down. Check out more in the blurb and my review below. Thanks, first, to the publisher HQ for gifting me a copy of the book.

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Blurb

Funny, touching and wise, I loved it’ Kit de Waal, bestselling author of My Name Is Leon

Wendy is lonely but coping.
All nineteen-year-old Wendy wants is to drive the 255 bus around Uddingston with her regulars on board, remember to buy milk when it runs out and just to be okay. After her mum died, there’s nobody to remind her to eat and what to do each day.

And Wendy is ready to step out of her comfort zone.
Each week she shows her social worker the progress she’s made, like the coasters she bought to spruce up the place, even if she forgets to make tea. And she even joins a writers’ group to share the stories she writes, like the one about a bullied boy who goes to Mars.

But everything changes when Wendy meets Ginger.
A teenager with flaming orange hair, Ginger’s so brave she’s wearing a coat that isn’t even waterproof. For the first time, Wendy has a real best friend. But as they begin the summer of their lives, Wendy wonders if things were simpler before. And that’s before she realizes just how much trouble Ginger is about to get them in…

An unforgettable debut novel from the winner of the Primadonna Prize 2019 which will stay with you long after the last page.

Review

This is an interesting book that I found myself totally wrapped up in the characters of.

It all begins in present times in Polmont Prison with a pressing question as to why this setting, in the beginning of the book and who is Diane? The book then returns to how this all really began as it becomes, not a prison story, but one that is out and about in the world and friendship and how far an admiration for someone can go…

For readers who don’t know, Polmont is a town in central Scotland and really does have a prison within it.

Wendy is the narrator, this is her story and she starts from the beginning, in Glasgow and the Greater Glasgow and surrounding areas. She talks of her support worker, Saanvi, her job and not having many friends and on top of that, her mother dying hit her so hard. It becomes increasingly apparent how vulnerable Wendy actually is and even more so without her mother instructing her, so now Saanvi is attempting to open up her world a bit, which she does as she joins a writers group and a great obsession follows. She gets to know more about the author – Diane Weston and it isn’t just that she follows her on Twitter, clicking a like here and leaving a comment there. It is a serious obsession she develops for her, which becomes intense to the point it feels spine-tingling. Wendy in some ways seems to think, partly that it’s normal and to a certain degree not, but the obsessive thoughts overpower the rationale.

The surprising thing is that the author even had space to add small bits of humour here and there.

It is interesting to see the friendship between Wendy and Ginger develop throughout the book and revelations of their personalities coming through to the fore and just how close they become, all the while the obsession of one author is never far away.

There are also some shady characters such as Uncle Tam and Roddy, who are doing things that Wendy and Ginger get mixed up in, some of which is chilling. 

It all ends in an unexpected way!

This is a book I highly recommend.

#Review By Lou of Lily Bennett’s Bucket List By Katherine Dyson @_katherinedyson @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK #Romcom #ContemporaryFiction #GeneralFiction #BucketlistAdventure

Lily Bennett’s Bucket List
By Katherine Dyson

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Most people love a bucket list right? I certainly do and Lily Bennett’s Bucket List is a gorgeously uplifting read. Thanks to the publisher – One More Chapter.
Find out more in the blurb and my review.

Lily Bennett's Bucket List cover

Blurb

The most life-affirming and uplifting debut you will read this year. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Fiona Gibson and Clare Pooley.

What would Lily Bennett do?

This is the question Lydia Grey finds herself asking when she discovers Lily’s bucket list at the bottom of her shopping trolley. Having just run into her ex – and his supermodel gorgeous new girlfriend – while doing the walk of shame, Lydia’s discovery takes her down an unexpected path…and into the company of Jake Jones.

Jake mistakes Lydia for Lily when he offers to help her complete the list, but tempted to be someone – anyone – other than plain old Lydia Grey for once in her life, Lydia doesn’t correct him.

Now, as each new adventure brings Lydia and Jake closer, her lie threatens everything. To complete the list she’ll need to tackle #9: ‘do the scariest thing you can think of’, but how can she do that when the scariest thing she can think of is telling Jake the truth…which could mean losing him forever?

Review

So many people have a bucket list, including me, either one for later or like me, working through it bit by bit as when something can be ticked off.
Lydia Grey’s life is often dull, as dull as the colour grey when there’s no light and shade and atmosphere to it, say like you would see in a painting. It’s just plain dull! Even her husband, since left, even though after so many years together, because she had become drab and boring.
Then life spices up quite significantly and brightness shines through, along with a whole array of colours and experiences when she discovers Lily Bennett’s bucket list at the bottom of a shopping trolley. Lily is a complete stranger to Lydia, but this list looks adventurous, so she gets brave and decides to make her way down it doing all the activities on it. Then the excitement and wonderful adventures begin!
Jake assumes Lydia is Lily and she doesn’t put him right, which later causes a bit of trepidation and wonder about what she is going to do when it comes to it, as they embark on the adventures together.

It’s a sweet, uplifting read with an edge of bittersweetness. It’s a really nice debut novel for readers to settle down and relax into, with its warmth, romance and humour.

#Review By Lou of Summer at the French Cafe By Sue Moorcroft @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #RomanticFiction #WomensFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Summer #SummerReading

Summer at the French Cafe
By Sue Moorcroft

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Summer at the French Cafe is unputdownable, may keep you up for longer than you thought and will most certainly transport you to a French idyll where the food is good and where you’ll meet characters to embrace and be enraptured by.
Read onwards to the blurb and the rest of my review below. First, thanks to Avon Books for the review copy.

Summer at the French Cafe

Blurb

As soon as Kat Jenson set foot in the idyllic French village of Kirchhoffen, she knew she’d found her home. Now she has a dreamy boyfriend, a delightful dog and the perfect job managing a bustling book café in the vibrant Parc Lemmel. ‘

But when she learns her boyfriend isn’t all he seems, it’s the start of a difficult summer for Kat. Vindictive troublemakers, work woes and family heartache follow, and the clear blue sky that was her life suddenly seems full of clouds.

Then she gets to know the mysterious Noah, and her sun begins to shine brighter than ever. But Noah has problems of his own – ones that could scupper their new-found happiness. Together, can they overcome their many obstacles, and find love again?

The perfect summer read for fans of Trisha AshleySarah Morgan and Carole Matthews.

Review

Whether you are avoiding the airport queues or having a staycation or travelling to France, Summer at the French Cafe will get you in the mood for whatever your plans are.

Summer at the French Cafe provides wonderful escapism and great story-telling. There’s lots to entice – food, romance, friendship, humour to get bound up with this summer. Kat is a great character to get to know. She works at the cafe/bookshop that she has 100% embraced.

Life, despite the idyl of the the parkland backdrop and the setting of the lovely cafe, life isn’t as easy as creating tasty pastries. Kat has come from a broken home life, with many issues, that she then proceeds to try to resolve with her brother and father, to try to re-establish relationships. As she does this, along comes Noah. Noah is kind and understanding, but this is also not always an easy relationship as Kat’s previous relationships in romantic entanglements have also been troubled, even her work takes advantage. The book covers coercive relationships well. That being said, there is an air of the upliftiing summery spirit as Kat is strong and independant and doesn’t allow all the emotional baggage to weigh so heavily to have her completely crumble.
She also has an important and perhaps, life changing decision to make – to open herself up to romance with the lovely Noah or not. Noah also has to work out what to do for best for his daughter too and whether and how he can continue to be the perfect boyfriend and take care of his daughter’s sensitivities.

Summer at the French Cafe is unputdownable and a perfect read to escape into and not exit until the very end.

#BookReview By Lou of The Wedding Crasher By Abigail Mann @abigailmann @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK #romanticfiction #humour #book #bookblog #BookTwitter #fiction #TheWeddingCrasher #bookrecommendation #RomCom

The Wedding Crasher
By Abigail Mann

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Lots of humour, romance and a passion for photography is in store for the very entertaining Wedding Crasher by Abigail Mann. This is one of the funniest I have read of this author’s books, so far… Thanks to One Chapter/Harper Collins for inviting me to review. Discover more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the review below…

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Blurb

The Wedding Crasher coverPoppy got married young. Too young in fact, and she put her dreams aside for love. Fast-forward eight years(ish) and now it’s time to reclaim her life and first love – photography.

What better way to celebrate her new-found freedom than a blissful week alone on an island with just her camera for company. Until her best friend has a catastrophe with the high-profile wedding she’s planning and begs Poppy to help. After all, she owes her.

Poppy doesn’t expect to recognise the groom as an old friend, nor for the bride to get cold feet but what’s a wedding without a little drama. And as the wedding week – yes, week – gets underway, Poppy might find happiness again, just not in the way she expected.

If you love Mhairi McFarlane, Marian Keyes and Beth O’Leary, you will love Abigail Mann.

Review

Let the countdown to the wedding begin…
The Wedding Crasher is entertaining from the start. Dare I say it, but this may be one of the most entertaining books from Abigail Mann. It is so enjoyable getting to know Poppy, Lola and Will. The humour all starts in a rather rocky dinghy and some witty chat and repartee.

Poppy it turns out, has a love of photography and teaches it in a school that is teetering on the edge with the eyes of Ofsted on them. Then there’s also the awkward relationship complications between Poppy and Josh. Poppy then ends up involved in taking photos for a wedding that is a week long, including all the build-up to it. It’s high profile and the very rich groom is certainly a kaleidoscope of personality and life. In saying that, Poppy has gumption and inner-strength, especially when it comes to her own relationship with Josh and how that is hitting the rocks.

There are islands – Orwell and the much more glamourous Loxby Island with its Art-Deco designed archticture to explore, with beautiful, idyllic backdrops. The book as whole is just so easy to be swept along by. 

There are also moments focused on the current debates around sport, but you really don’t have to be even remotely a sports fan to get enjoyment from this book as far, far from the dominant part of the book.

The comedic moments keep coming, which is impressive; even when there are serene moments of reflection and emotion, this isn’t lost sight of and put altogether, makes a great mixture for this book.