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26 February 2021

Book Beginnings: An Orphan's Journey by Rosie Goodwin *AD gifted

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence.

I am currently reading An Orphan's Journey by Rosie Goodwin.

An Orphan's Journey by Rosie Goodwin cover

"Come on, girl, your dad will be home wi' no dinner on the table if yer don't get a move on, an' yer know what that means!"
I was sent a free finished copy of An Orphan's Journey by Rosie Goodwin by the publisher.

If I'm being honest, I wanted this book the second I finished The Winter Promise by Rosie Goodwin when I read it last year, and I knew that the Precious Stones series was about to become a fixture on my TBR. The books are all standalones, the only link is the characters being named after precious stones. You'll often see Rosie Goodwin being lauded as the new Catherine Cookson and the comparisons are spot on.

I have only read the prologue so far, and my heart is already breaking. Rosie Goodwin knows how to get your right in the feels.

The cover is very pretty and has a feel of hope about it - I can't place what it is, but it's a nice feeling. Even if the first chapter is pretty darn heartbreaking.

Now it was Pearl's turn to smile and it lit up her beautiful face. These were the most wonderful gifts she had ever received and she didn't quite know how to express her gratitude.
This is from page 56 in my finished hardback copy.

Although I've only read the prologue myself so far, I know that I am going to love this story, and love Pearl. I'm excited to see her journey. As I scanned the page to get the quote for this part, I got really excited - it seems like a lovely part of the story where there is some joy brought to Pearl and Eliza's lives.

I can't wait to see what happens next, and although I have no idea of the journey about to be undertaken (one day I'll read a blurb, I'm sure) I know that it will be a rollercoaster of emotions.

What are you reading this week?

23 February 2021

My Skull Inspired Wishlist

I am joining in the #TeamMina festivities in the run up to the release of Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw on the 1st of April.

Putting this post together, I was living my best goth girl life. Mina sounds so much like teen me, and I am here for it. I cannot wait until April when I can read all about her myself.

When I was 17 I was pretty much skint, but I did save up my EMA (anyone remember that?) to buy my first pair of Doc Martens - spray painted silver of course - and a Nemesis Now journal. Today I'm sharing some skull-shaped and inspired things that I would have bought if 17-year-old-me had access to Etsy and a little more money to spend.

*sighs in teenage nostalgia*

Not going to lie, I'm tempted to buy all of this on payday.

Hand Painted Vampire Skull Nails

Hand Painted Vampire Skull Nails

I am a massive fan of painting my nails, but sometimes I'm too tired or don't have time or I'm just being lazy. Or maybe I have a special occasion coming up. When the situation calls for it I reach for the falsies.

I love there vampire skull nails, the detail is gorgeous!

Skeleton Cameo Earrings

Skeleton Cameo Earrings

I just. I can't. They're adorable and creepy and have that vintage aesthetic all at once, and I think I need them desperately in my life. I love cameos, I love skulls, I love these skeleton cameo earrings.

I'm tempted to get myself a little collection of jewellery.

Skulls and Rose Glass Tumblers

Just look at them. Look at them. They're gorgeous. Creepy and slightly romantic, and I'm a total magpie for anything shiny. And how good would they look with red wine in them?

Skulls And Roses Reusable Bamboo Travel Mug

I don't have much need for this right now as I'm still shielding, but once I'm allowed out again? I'll need this for my adventures. I love a cuppa on the go and this one is so freaking pretty.

Go Smudge Yourself Wax Melts

Go Smudge Yourself Wax Melts - Rebel Potions

I just ant to see a skull melting, I guess. It'd look so cool. Also it smells like lavender, sage, rosemary, and mint and it think it sounds amazing.

So there we have it, all the little skull inspired things on my wishlist and soon to be in my basket. I think I'm most excited about the wax melts. No, the glasses. No, the travel mug. Nah, I'm excited for it all.

#TeamMina #MinaAndTheUndead

18 February 2021

Book Review: The Duke's Runaway Bride by Jenni Fletcher *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free copy of The Duke's Runaway Bride by Jenni Fletcher ahead of the blog tour.

I have to admit that I haven't read either of the other two Regency Belles of Bath books, although I have heard excellent things about them and they were high on my TBR. And after reading The Duke's Runaway Bride by Jenni Fletcher they've been pushed even higher. This was an exquisate Regency romance.

The Duke's Runaway Bride by Jenni Fletcher cover Mills & Boon historical

From shopkeeper...

To duke's wife.

When Beatrix, Duchess of Howden, writes to her estranged husband offering a divorce, she’s stunned when he arrives on her doorstep with a different proposition: a six-week marriage trial!

Quinton Roxbury seems cold and inscrutable, but Beatrix gradually realises his rough exterior hides a heavy burden.

As their connection deepens, dare she trust him with her own scandalous past and risk the marriage she never knew she wanted?

Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Trust, family, belonging, duty, redemption. 

Missing Bridgerton? Pick this up. Pick it up now and revel in it because it is stunning. From the characters to the settings, I loved it all.

Beatrix is so strong willed and independent, and I absolutely loved her for it. She is a little but too critical about herself, but it was endearing, especially when she started to come out of her shell.

Quinton is pretty noble and honourable in bearing and personality, he tries so hard to shy away from scandal. I loved how determined he was to right the wrongs of the past., and I loved how respectful he was toward Beatrix, and indeed almost everyone he met.

I loved the instant spark that neither of them would admit to, and the slow burn of the relationship between Beatrix and Quinton. Seeing Beatrix's heart and mind battle it out meant that I was never quite sure what way she would go, even though this is a romance so I knew there would be a HEA. To be honest, either way I would have been happy for Beatrix, but the ending was so satisfying.

All I wanted to do while I was reading this book was drink tea and eat biscuits. Which was actually pretty perfect if I'm honest.

They were already on my TBR because of the good things I'd heard, but now I'm more desperate than ever to read the other Regency Belles of Bath books. If you like your heroines fierce and headstrong and independent then look no further.

She'd felt safe. Unexpectedly, unfathomably and utterly safe.

The Duke's Runaway Bride by Jenni Fletcher publication push

12 February 2021

Book Beginnings: The Ravens by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence.

The Ravens by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige  cover

The witch looked at the blonde girl cowering on the ground, her eyes wide with fear.
I was sent this book to review and simultaneously received a copy in my Illumicrate box.

I was super excited for The Ravens - I love dark academia and all things witchy, and the tagline had me sold.

The first line has me gripped - I want to know that what and the why and the who.

I love the details of the cover, how at first it seems pretty plain but the longer you look at it the more details of the ravens come through.

Scarlett looked up, startled to find the entire circle's gaze on her.
This is from page 56 in my finished hardback copy

I am 100% in love with this story. I love the mystery, the small dramas and the magic. I like the characters in their own way, and I love how they clash and are pushed together.

I am having so much fun and feeling so inspired by this book.

What are you reading this week?

10 February 2021

Blog Tour: Escaping From the Shadows by C L Tustin *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Escaping from the Shadows by C L Tustin ahead of the blog tour.

Escaping from the Shadows by C L Tustin cover

Anastasia Travess is caring, beautiful and talented, but all her life her abusive father has kept her down. Seeking love wherever she can there has only ever been one man she trusts, one man who makes her complete and he rejected her years ago.

Piers Talbot is an enigma, a charming bachelor with only one woman in his heart. But when offered a choice between fixing his estranged family and obtaining his heart’s desire he makes probably the worst decision of his life.

When Anastasia rekindles her past relationship with Piers’ younger brother, the lines between love and loyalty become blurred. Amid danger, betrayal and deception, Anastasia is forced to question everything she thought she knew.

But will Anastasia have the courage to escape from the shadows?

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, control, freedom, drama, jealousy.

This book starts off with heartbreak. I was almost in tears myself at Anastasia's mother's attempt at escape, and how it all went so wrong. The prologue was so intense and gripping that it then took me a while to settle in to the story proper, as it picks up at a bit of a softer pace.

This book felt a bit like a wider storyline-arc in Hollyoaks, but in a really good way. It was like a season of Dynasty, but in book form. I loved it, and it made for some pretty addictive reading.

On the surface of it, Anastasia Travess has a life that many would envy, but scratch the surface and not all is as it seems. Life hasn't actually been so good for Anastasia, and money definitely does not buy you happiness.

I loved the way toxic relationships were explored in the story - nothing is quite as simple as you think and just when you think that a certain someone cannot get any worse, they reveal even more of themselves. And they suck.

Escaping From the Shadows was a drastically intense read. I felt almost on the edge of my seat the whole time, and I ached to know what would happen next.

08 February 2021

Book Review: The Proud Italian by Alison Roberts

As soon as I finished the previous book in the 200 Harley Street series I picked up The Proud Italian by Alison Roberts. This is a series that is definitely easy to race through.

The Proud Italian by Alison Roberts medical romance Mills & Boon

The Proud Italian...

Top-notch surgeons Rafael and Abbie de Luca were once the Hunter Clinic’s ‘dream-team’. But when their baby daughter fell ill, their idyllic life came crashing down.

Now reunited, it’s clear to this proud Italian and his wife that their time apart has changed them – but can they rekindle their once bright and burning passion?

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Source: Purchase

5 Word Review: Family, belonging, lust, love, belief.

Content Warnings: Medical procedures, cancer, child death. 

I loved Abbie, I empathised so much with her. I felt so much for what she had been through. I also absolutely understood where Rafael was coming from, especially when an event from his past medical career was revealed.

As much as this story is a romance between Abbie and Rafael, it's also very much about the broken relationship and how they both reacted to what was happening with their daughter. They have to examine their past together and I love how that sparks them remembering the good times and the passions. Theirs was very much a relationship built on lust that then develops into love.

The ending was so so lovely, a part I would happily read over and over.

I haven't hit a book in this series I haven't enjoyed yet, so wish me luck!

200 Harley Street

04 February 2021

Blog Review: The Puritan Princess by Miranda Malins *AD Gifted

Orion sent me a free finished copy of The Puritan Princess by Miranda Malins.

I've never read a book set in this era of history before, but I couldn't resist the gorgeous cover and the description cinched the deal.

The Puritan Princess by Miranda Malins book cover

London, 1657

The youngest daughter of Oliver Cromwell, eighteen-year-old Frances is finding her place at England's new centre of power.

Following the turmoil of Civil War, a fragile sense of stability has returned to the country. Her father has risen to the unprecedented position of Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, and Frances has found herself transported from her humble childhood home to the sumptuous palaces of Hampton Court and Whitehall, where she dreams of a love match that must surely be found at court.

But after an assassination attempt on the Cromwell family, Frances realises the precarious danger of her position - and when her father is officially offered the crown, Frances's fate suddenly assumes diplomatic and dynastic importance.

Will she become a political pawn, or can Frances use her new status to seize control and further her own ambitions?

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Source: Review Copy

Content Warning: Sexual assault, corporal punishment, child abuse, infant death (off page).

5 Word Review: Family, politics, control, survival, intrigue.

My interests when it comes to historical fiction are usually quite a bit earlier or quite a bit later than the English Civil Wars. It meant I was a little apprehensive when I started this book. It wasn't in my comfort zone.

This book starts in the most despairing and desolate way. And after that I felt it took a little while to get going, it is quite slow. But the writing is absolutely gorgeous, and by the time I was a quarter of the way through and the pace picked up I was hooked.

The characters are so real and so vivid that I couldn't help but get invested. From Frances's first grief stricken moments, I wanted to know everything about her. She's fantastically headstrong and wilful and I loved it, and how it caused all sorts of extra tensions for her. She wasn't one for giving up. I can definitely see that she is not a character that everyone would like, but I loved her for it.

Excellent characterisation is backed up by exquisite settings. The world comes to life on the page, and I loved the small details that made it real. It is obvious that an incredible amount of research has gone into The Puritan Princess.

There was something almost epic-feeling about this book that I can't put my finger on. As much as the book only takes places during a relatively short timescale but the end I felt like I had been on a proper journey.

I learnt a lot about the one time non-King ruling family. How much of it was fact or fiction I have no idea, but I do know that I loved every moment. I will absolutely read more by this author, and I'm less afraid of picking up English Civil War books now.