Book Review: How (Not) To Marry A Duke by Felicia Kingsley

My latest review is of How (Not) To Marry A Duke by Felicia Kingsley.

One minute, Jemma Pears is a struggling theatrical make-up artist in London.  The next, she’s been left a vast fortune by her estranged grandmother.  The catch: she must marry a man with a title to inherit.  Jemma thinks this is truly impossible: she’s a romantic, searching for true love, not just a convenient marriage…and besides, where wicked she even find a titled guy?

Enter Ashford, the new Duke of Burlingham.  His legacy: massive debts that he must pay back immediately or risk the bank seizing his assets.  Or worse: his mother’s wrath!

When their lawyer hears of their situations, a secret match is made despite their mutual hatred of each other: through marrying Ashford, Jemma can inherit and Ashford can pay back his debts immediately.  Problem solved.  That is, until their marriage is leaked to the press and everyone finds out…

Now they have to play out the charade for at least a year or risk going to jail for fraud!

A hilarious pretence ensues and Jemma must battle against a crazy mother in law, a stuffy aristocracy, and finally, and most surprisingly of all, confusing feelings for Ashford…!

I was looking forward to reading How (Not) to Marry A Duke as it looked like it would be a light-hearted, opposites attract type novel.  Thankfully I was not wrong!  This is a novel about two people from two very different worlds, who find themselves married; Jemma in order to inherit a life changing sum of money from her grandmother, and Ashford to pay off the debts left behind by his dead father.

There are no surprises here – Ashford and Jemma could not be more different, and being forced into such a stressful situation only accentuates their differences.  You know what they say though, opposites attract!  I really enjoyed this novel, it was lighthearted and fun, following these characters as they essentially torment each other!  If I was to have one criticism though, it would be that the ending felt quite rushed.  A few months of events are crammed into a few short chapters before we finally reach our happy ending.  Jemma’s stubbornness was also a little too far-fetched for my liking.  However, these things did not detract from my enjoyment of the novel.  I am therefore more than happy to recommend it for a chilled out Sunday afternoon reading!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖

Thanks to Netgalley and Aria for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

*BLOG TOUR* A Village Affair by Julie Houston

Today it is my pleasure to share with you my review for A Village Affair by Julie Houston on her blog tour.

Cassie Beresford has recently landed her dream job as deputy head teacher at her local, idyllic village primary school, Little Acorns.  So, the last thing she needs is her husband of twenty years being ‘outed’ at a village charity auction – he has been having an affair with one of her closest friends.

As if it weren’t enough to cope with, Cassie suddenly finds herself catapulted into the head teacher position, and at the front of a fight to ward off developers determined to concrete over the beautiful landscape.

But through it all, the irresistible joy of her pupils, the reality of keeping her teenage children on the straight and narrow, her irrepressible family and friends, and the possibility of new love, mean what could have been the worst year ever, actually might be the best yet…

I was very excited when I heard from Julie Houston and she told me about her new novel, A Village Affair.  When you live in a village, you are all to aware that everyone around you knows a lot about you, sometimes too much!  A Village Affair highlights both the good and bad sides to this.

Cassie Beresford is very happy.  She has a long, loving marriage, two wonderful teenage children and she is just about to start her dream job as Deputy Head Teacher at her local primary school.  So it comes as a shock when she finds out in front of the whole village that her husband of 20 years, Mark, has been cheating on her with her best friend Tina.  To add insult to injury, she then finds herself in the position of Head Teacher the day before term starts.

In the face of all of this stress and trauma, Cassie also finds herself at the forefront of a fight with some developers who are seeking to build on the local green belt land surrounding the village.

The number of challenges that unexpectedly face Cassie take her through many emotions, as she seeks to find her place in the world again whilst fighting a number of battles.  A Village Affair is a story about a women who has to find herself when she thinks she is lost.  It is a story about reaffirming relationships, forging new ones and discarding broken ones.  Cassie is a strong independent woman, she just doesn’t know it yet!

I am more than happy to recommend this novel.  I really enjoyed following Cassie and her family as they faced these intense challenges, overcoming them together.  If you are looking for a novel with a bit of heart, this is the novel for you.  Let me know what you think!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Julie Houston, Netgalley and Aria for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.  Thank you also to Vicky Joss as Aria for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.

About the Author

Julie Houston is the author of The One Saving Grace, Goodness, Grace and Me and Looking for Lucy, a Kindle top 100 general bestseller and a Kindle Number 1 bestseller.  She is married, with two teenage children and a cockerpoo, and like her heroine, lives in a West Yorkshire village.  She is also a teacher and a magistrate.

*BLOG TOUR* Mistletoe & Mystery by Daisy James

Today it is my pleasure to be a stop on the blog tour for Mistletoe & Mystery by Daisy James.

Welcome to the Cotswolds Festive Feast cookery course…

Fresh off the successful opening of the Paradise Cookery School in St Lucia, Millie Harper is headed to the Cotswolds for Christmas!

Co-presenting Claudia Croft’s famous Festive Feast cookery course at Stonelea Manor is a dream come true for Millie…as is reuniting with gorgeous estate manager Zach Barker.

But arriving in a winter wonderland Millie learns the manor is under a mysterious threat. It’ll take a holiday miracle, but Millie is determined to save the school and get Zach under the mistletoe to finally finish what they started in the Caribbean!

I was very happy to be given the opportunity to rejoin Millie Harper, following her return from St Lucia where she had successfully opened the Paradise Cookery School for famous chef, Claudia Croft.  Mistletoe & Mystery is the third book in The Paradise Cookery School series, a series that I have thoroughly enjoyed.  I must admit that I was a little disappointed when I discovered that this novel would be set in the Cotswolds….I have nothing against the beautiful Cotswolds, but I really have enjoyed the St Lucia setting of the previous two novels.  I shouldn’t have worried though – a book set at Christmas really should be in a cold, snowy, magical English village and so it didn’t disappoint!

I have really loved following Millie, a woman who at the beginning of the series doubted herself following a harsh break up.  She doubted herself both as a person and as a chef.  Opening the Paradise Cookery School in St Lucia really made her character flourish as she gained confidence in her own abilities.  Mistletoe & Mystery continues to see Millie grow as a person, and we also get to see if her relationship with Zach could grow into something more.  We also get the meet the elusive Claudia Croft, as she opens her home to Millie.  There is of course some plot twists thrown in, which are full of emotion as we learn more about the owner of the Paradise Cookery School, a company we have grown to love across the three novels.

I am more than happy to recommend this novel (along with the previous novels, Sunshine & Secrets and Confetti & Confusion) – all three could be read as standalone novels, but personally I would recommend reading them all.  Let me know what you think!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Netgalley and Canelo for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.  Thank you also to Ellie Pilcher at Canelo for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)


Author Bio

Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England.  She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plot lines.  When not scribbling away in her summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter.  She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china teacups are a must.

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Todays review is of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine? (Thanks Netgalley)

Firstly, I am late to the party.  Everyone is reading or has read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.  Everyone.  I have had this recommended to me so many times, and I still didn’t manage to pick it up until now.  It’s won awards, and it has still take me this long to read it.  I can only apologise.

Secondly, I am giving this novel 5 stars.  That’s right, this is my second 5 star review in a matter of weeks.  I don’t know what is happening! I feel it is important that you know this is a 5 star novel from the outset, rather than waiting until the end of this review to find out!

So, I loved this book. Eleanor is a beautifully crafted, complicated character who really gets inside your head and stays with you. Her matter of fact statements, the shocking way she’ll sometimes impart information makes you feel for her all the more. Despite her tough, somewhat lonely life, she has come through it all (albeit with a quite serious drinking problem). You can’t help but want her to connect with other people to build the life you know she deserves.

I am often put off reading award winning books – I know this is a little controversial – because critics (in my opinion) do not always represent the wider audience. For example, how many Best Picture Oscar winning films do you actually like? But I am happy to confirm that this novel thoroughly deserved to win its awards. It is an amazing debut from Gail Honeyman, and I look forward to seeing what else she brings us. I also cannot wait to see what Reese Witherspoon does with the book now that she owns the films rights – exciting times ahead!

So, to round up – if you haven’t already read this book, go out and get yourself a copy.  You will not regret it!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.