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31 March 2022

Book Review: The Knight's Tempting Ally by Ella Matthews *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of The Knight's Tempting Ally by Ella Matthews ahead of the blog tour.

Ella Matthews has done it again. The Knight's Tempting Ally was amazing and my heart is full of the warm fuzzies.

The Knight's Tempting Ally by Ella Matthews Mills & Boon historical medieval romance The King's Knights series book cover

A knight’s enemy

Becomes his closest ally…

Knight Theo Glenville will do whatever it takes to discover who’s plotting against his King.

So befriending—and even romancing—his target’s middle daughter, Medea, is merely part of his sworn duty. But what isn’t? Falling under the spell of a woman who’s anything but plain in his eyes!

Yet every day they become closer, the more torn he is between his allegiance to king or his heart…

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, loyalty, secrets, betrayal, love.

I turned the last page and blinked, shocked that I wasn't in medieval England and was actually curled up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of tea long gone cold. This book had me so thoroughly engrossed that I read it in a single sitting, I absolutely could not put it down.

Although this is technically the second in The King's Knights, it can absolutely be read as a standalone.

My heart broke for Medea and how she was treated by her mother. Medea deserves all of the love in the world, and every snide comment from her mother had me scowling. She's so intelligent and witty and yet her family see her as pretty much worthless because she's not beautiful like her sisters. She's pushed to the side-lines, and I am glad for it because it allowed her to grow and develop away from them.

Theo is an absolute gem too. I do wish that he'd come clean to Medea about what Ben had asked him to do, because I really do think Medea would have been OK with it, especially if Theo had been forthright in his intentions. Medea is smart, she knows what is at stake.

This is a slow burn. By half way through you will be begging the characters to just kiss already. The tension is built slowly between them with small moments of chaste intimacy that will have your heart aflutter, I couldn't have shipped them harder. It has a very friends-to-lovers feel, but with a constant undercurrent of attraction between the two.

Ella Matthews is an incredible historical romance writer. The medieval worlds comes to life around you, the attention to detail in the descriptions means you can feel the summer heat and taste the food and smell the... Yeah ok, the unpleasant smells. And it is marvellous.

We got to see slight cameos of characters from The Knight's Maiden in Disguise, which I loved. This is a series that is delicately linked, but the books can easily be read on their own.

This author is one of my auto-buys, and I can't wait to see where The King's Knights goes next. I pick up one of their books and I know I am going to love every part of it. You should absolutely go and pick up one of their books, and why not start with this one?

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Ella Matthews lives and works in beautiful South Wales. When not thinking about handsome heroes she can be found walking along the coast with her husband and their two children (probably still thinking about heroes but at least pretending to be interested in everyone else).

11 March 2022

Falling For The Competition by Jen Smith *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Falling For The Competition by Jen Smith ahead of the blog tour.

The history geek in me did a full on squee at this nerdy romance. This is the perfect YA summer romance, and was so utterly British I craved a Twix and a cuppa. 

Falling For The Competition by Jen Smith book cover

It’s going to be the best summer ever for ambitious, overachieving Quinn. A huge history buff, not only has she landed her dream job interning in the archives department of the local castle, but her best friend will be working there too.

However, Quinn isn’t the only one to be working in Archives this summer; Quinn’s academic rival, Patrick, is sharing her office in Muniments. They’re competing for the Letter of Recommendation (singular) from the research historian that Quinn needs to get her dream future placement.

Their emotionally-loaded and competitive rivalry turns into a reluctant friendship, as they spend every day working together in silence (and sharing the occasional Twix). Until the Re-Enactors arrive. Between Patrick and Harry – the Golden Knight of the jousting team – Quinn’s carefully planned summer is thrown into complete disarray. Meanwhile, her best friend’s relationship may look perfect on the outside, but Quinn is starting to realise that there’s more going on than there seems.

Although Quinn is determined and single minded about planning every detail of her sparkling future, she comes to discover that the best things in life are the spontaneous ones – and that some people are more important than any Letter of Recommendation (singular) could ever be.

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Friendship, history, castle, family, romance. 

Take two absolute history nerds, add a dash of academic rivalry, and stir in a single letter of recommendation... Then sit back and enjoy the YA romantic comedy you need in your life. 

Quinn was hilarious in her awkwardness, even as she was intimidating in her drive. I loved her loyalty for her family and friends, and her passion for history. She knows her end goal and she will go above and beyond in her attempts to get there. 

Watching the friendship blossom between Patrick and Quinn was amazing. And those tentative first steps of romance? Adorable. 

The setting at an English castle was perfect. It seemed to make the story even more British, and every time I picked the book up I imagined a different castle I have visited as the setting. 

I loved the moment of comedy in the story. When Quinn and Patrick first see the re-enactors I did a full on cackle, even if they were very unlike the many re-enactors I know. I loved the drama of it, the introduction of friendship groups and some toxic masculinity.

Toxic masculinity was something I thought this book explored magnificently. Out of all of the characters, and yes even the knights, Patrick was probably the most chivalrous. I was rooting for him and Quinn from the start of I'm honest, mostly because I can't resist enemies-to-lovers. 

Pick this up and you will not regret it. It is sweet and heartwarming, even though it will have you gasping at times. It's a bit of a ride in the of best ways, and perfect for reading in the summer in the courtyard of a castle. 
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Jen lives in the Midlands with her husband and two children. With a Masters Degree in Medieval History, Jen loves castles and King John a little too much. Strangely un-British, she does not like tea, oranges or marzipan, but adores French cheese, guava juice and Chinese food (not together). 

When not writing, Jen can often be found pointing out historical inaccuracies in period dramas, being a Lady that Lunches with close friends and playing board games with her family. Note: her handbags are always heavy due to multiple books (just in case she needs them).  

One Greek Summer by Kate Frost *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of One Greek Summer by Kate Frost ahead of the blog tour.

This was like summer in book form, i felt the sun on my skin as I read even as it poured with freezing rain outside. 

One Greek Summer by Kate Frost book cover

Taking a chance on love is just the beginning…

When Harlow Sands arrives on an idyllic Greek island to work on a big budget movie, it should be the opportunity of a lifetime. But her uncertainty over the direction of her life and the high expectations of Maeve Fennimore-Bell, her domineering Hollywood producer mum, threatens to ruin her summer on beautiful Skopelos

Location manager Tyler Reed has his fair share of demons. His and Harlow’s lives have been entwined for over a decade and now forced to work together, their complicated past begins to unravel.

Harlow is desperate to break free and make her own way in the world, but with a fractured family, a long-hidden secret and a need to belong, can her happy-ever-after be found during one Greek summer?

Escape to the beautiful Greek isles with bestseller Kate Frost for the perfect uplifting, feel-good romantic read.

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Work, responsibility, family, friendship, love. 

Warning: this book will make you hungry. 

Not going to lie, almost every highlight in this book from me was of food I wanted to eat. My mouth was watering and by half way through I had given up, made a Greek salad, and opened a bottle of red wine. 

Harlow has a pretty complicated if privileged life, and I loved that she explored her own privilege in the story. She was humble and caring, and wanted to prove herself as worthy of her accomplishments. Her family life is a bit of a mess, especially when it comes to her mother, and her ex-friend-with-benefits adds a whole other layer of complicated on location. The family dynamic isn't typical, but it was one I lived. Her step-mum and father are gems. 

Adonis is... And Adonis. I love that as much as he lived up to his gorgeous name, he was layered and a bit messy too. He has a heart of gold. 

It may be early March in the real world, but I was transported directly to a Greek island in summer. I could feel the heat of the sun, the refreshing kiss of the ocean, the sweat beading on my skin. The setting is glorious, every location perfect in so many ways, and backed up by the delicious food and delectable romance. I loved the little peeks at the behind the scenes of the film industry. 

I lived all the little Mamma Mia references too, although they made me feel old! Harlow watched it as a teen and err... I was older than that. 

This book couldn't be more perfect for brightening your day. I read it on a windy hillside in the borders, sheltering from the rain and cooried up in a blanket, but I felt like I was on the island with Harlow. I can't wait to read this again in the height of summer with a meze and wine. 

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Kate Frost is the author of several bestselling romantic escape novels including The Greek Heart and The Love Island Bookshop. She lives in Bristol and is the Director of Storytale Festival, a book festival for children and teens she co-founded in 2019.