Blog Tour Review | The Queen’s Choice by Anne O’Brien #TheQueensChoice

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Queen’s Choice by Anne O’Brien.

Thank you to Sophie from ed public relations for sending me the book to read and share my thoughts.

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Publisher: Mira Books

Publication Date: 14 January 2016

“France, 1399: The Duke of Brittany is dead and his widow, Joanna of Navarre, has inherited control of their land – a testament to her intellect, integrity and political prowess.

Then comes an unprecedented proposal from Henry IV, King of England. The price of becoming his Queen? Abandoning her homeland, leaving her children and sacrificing her independence.

Henry’s hold on the crown is unsteady and war is brewing. With the constant threat of rebellion, Henry will trust no-one – not even his new Queen. Crossing the channel is a dangerous prospect. But the union between Joanna and Henry would bring the chance of a vital alliance between two proud states – if they will allow it.

One question. Two paths. A choice that will make history.

MY REVIEW

Regular Me, My Books and I readers will already know that I’m a fan of Anne O’Brien’s writing. This obviously means that I was super-keen to find out what she had in store for me this time.

Wow, what a journey! I was quickly pulled into the storyline and, as with all of Anne’s books, it was wonderful to revisit the past and discover it from yet another viewpoint.

I found Joanna very easy to like, she was quite feisty and, at times, hot-headed but I loved that side of her. Henry was someone I had been intrigued by in The King’s Sister so I relished the opportunity to find out more about him. I was surprised by what I found. I hadn’t expected to like him because of his actions in the previous book but as I read about the things he had been through I couldn’t help but warm to him. Another surprise for me was how Thomas de Camoys became such a favourite of mine, I can’t quite put my finger on why I liked him so much, all I know is that I smiled whenever he made an appearance.

When Joanna had to make a big decision about her future I had very mixed feelings which, I would imagine, was exactly how she felt about the situation. I loved how I was drawn into the storyline and made to feel part of it – as usual the author had a fantastic way of making me feel at home in history.

The twists and turns that followed were truly captivating, I became immersed in historical politics, family loyalties and romantic words of the past. As I reached the epilogue (which was everything I hoped it would be by the way) I felt sad that the book was coming to an end.

This was another wonderful novel from Anne O’Brien, a must-read for all historical fiction fans!

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

ANNE O’BRIEN was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Master’s in Education at Hull, she lived in the East Riding for many years where she taught History. Leaving teaching – but not her love of history – Anne turned to novel writing and her passion for giving voice to the oft forgotten women of the medieval era was born. Today Anne lives in an eighteenth-century cottage in Herefordshire, an area steeped in history and full of inspiration for her work.

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The King’s Sister by Anne O’Brien

Publisher: Mira Books

Publication Date: November 2014

One betrayal is all it takes to change history

1382. Daughter of John of Gaunt, sister to the future King Henry IV, Elizabeth of Lancaster has learned the shrewd tricks of the court from England’s most powerful men.

In a time of political turmoil, allegiance to family is everything. A Plantagenet princess should never defy her father’s wishes. Yet headstrong Elizabeth refuses to bow to the fate of a strategic marriage. Rejecting her duty, Elizabeth weds the charming and ruthlessly ambitious Sir John Holland: Duke of Exeter, half-brother to King Richard II and the one man she has always wanted.

But defiance can come at a price.

1399. Elizabeth’s brother Henry has seized the throne. Her husband, confidant to the usurped Richard, masterminds a secret plot against the new King. Trapped in a dangerous web, Elizabeth must make a choice.

Defy the King and betray her family. Or condemn her husband and send him to his death.

Sister. Wife. Traitor.

She holds the fate of England in her hands.”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank ED PR for sending me this book to read and share my honest opinion. Although I don’t often read historical fiction I have found that I really enjoy books by this author (reviews here) so I was looking forward to getting stuck in.

Every now and then a book comes along that touches me in a completely unexpected way. The King’s Sister was one of those books – the wonderfully romantic tale of Elizabeth of Lancaster and Sir John Holland played on my mind long after I had finished reading!

Elizabeth as a character had so much zest and passion within her, she was a romantic at heart and I found myself willing her on in her sometimes defiant behaviour. Unsurprisingly she found herself drawn to John and the love story that followed was exciting, dramatic and heart-melting.

Once again I just loved the way the author brought these historical characters to life and, in a crazy kind of way, they almost felt like close friends by the time I got to the end of the book.

Family loyalty was a big part of the storyline but love was an even bigger part, this was a truly powerful love story that pulled a range of emotions from me. In particular, there were a couple of scenes towards the end which had me in floods of tears – I felt as heartbroken as the character on the page!

This was another enchanting read from Anne O’Brien, my favourite so far.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

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Bad Brides by Rebecca Chance

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“Good brides promise to obey. Bad brides wouldn’t dream of it…

Milly Gamble is an up-and-coming actress, and the perfect English flower child. At 23, she’s always been cast as the innocent heroine. But looks can deceive. Calculating and fiercely ambitious, Milly is determined to be the most famous star in England. And how better to achieve her goal than by dating Tarquin Ormond, lead singer of the biggest folk band of the moment? Tarquin is madly in love with Milly; Milly is only in love with herself.

Brianna Jade is an all-American pageant girl. The daughter of Tamra Maloney, a stunning billionairess, Brianna is a sweet, pretty girl who is more than happy to go along with her mother’s ambitious plans for her. Now Tamra’s brought her to the UK and hooked her up with an Earl. He has a crumbling stately home and needs a rich wife to help restore it to its former glory. Tamra is as ambitious and determined as Brianna is sweet and innocent – is this more a case of mother-in-law-zilla than bridezilla?

Both Milly and Brianna’s upcoming weddings will be huge, lavish events that garner national press. But with the cover of the biggest magazine in the country to be won, things are about to get very dirty…”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank ed pr for sending me this book to read and give an honest review.  I’ve enjoyed previous books by this author (reviews here) so I was looking forward to getting stuck in to this one.

The character introductions at the beginning of the book gave me a very clear impression of what their personalities were like. The two sets of couples and the people who surrounded them were all very interesting although for some reason I found myself more drawn to Brianna Jade and Edmund. I could tell early on that it was going to be an eventful read and boy was I right!

The appearance of characters from Rebecca’s previous books gave Bad Brides a familiar edge, I always enjoy catching up with old characters because it makes me feel like I’m meeting up with old friends. Out of all the new characters, it was Abel the pig farmer who piqued my interest the most. He was a quiet, mysterious type who I just wanted to know more about.

There was also a darker side to the storyline involving bribery, lies and manipulation. This was something that I particularly enjoyed because it surprised me, I gasped out loud in shock on quite a few of these darker occasions.

Certain twists towards the end hinted at the direction in which the storyline was headed and by the time I got to the last few chapters I had a fairly good idea how things were going to turn out.

As always with books from this author, there were some very steamy moments and scenes involving drug use so if this is likely to offend you then it probably isn’t a book for you.

Bad Brides is full of glamorous characters and naughtiness, a classic Rebecca Chance book!

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Waiting For Prince Harry by Aven Ellis

Waiting for prince harry

“Twenty-four-year-old Kylie Reed has always been a rule follower. Organized and cautious to a fault, her dreams for life are often filed away for future use—when she has a house, when she meets her future husband, when she has been at her visual display job at a chic Dallas boutique longer. Kylie always has a reason for living her life in the future, not in the present, and fears not living her life to the fullest and reaching her dream of becoming a fashion designer. 

The only exception to rules, of course, would be running away with Prince Harry. But living in Dallas and not knowing Prince Harry make this a non-option. 

Or does it? 

Because when Kylie accidentally falls into the lap of a gorgeous ginger guy—yes, even more gorgeous than the real Prince Harry—all bets are off. Kylie’s life takes some unexpected twists and turns thanks to this encounter. Could this stranger be the one to show Kylie how to live in the present? “

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank the author for sending me this eBook to read and give an honest review. I read and reviewed (here) Aven’s first book Connectivity which I thoroughly enjoyed so I couldn’t wait to get started on this one – the title really has the smile factor!

The storyline began with Kylie as bridesmaid for her brother’s lavish wedding, sadly she felt uncomfortable and out-of-place because she was the kind of person who preferred her own company.  She certainly didn’t seem to have much in common with most of the wedding guests so I could see how she would feel strange about it. On the brighter side, the wedding led to her meeting Harrison for the first time and I have to say I particularly loved the way they met.

Kylie and Harrison had fab chemistry, there were many moments between them that made my heart skip a beat – it was very easy to see what she saw in him because I personally think he was kind of perfect.  The effect that Harrison had on Kylie was lots of fun to read especially when she was trying to avoid facing her feelings. Later on their kisses were electrifying, they almost sizzled off the Kindle screen at me!

The author’s comfortable writing style made this so easy and fun to read, the references to Connectivity added some familiarity to the book and I really liked that.  I also liked the way Aven brought social media into the storyline, for me it made it so current and relatable.

This was a unputdownable, feel-good read that held my attention throughout.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

Connect on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/AvenEllis1 

Talk on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/AvenEllis 

Visit on the web:

http://www.avenellis.com/index.html 

Check out pins on Pinterest:

http://pinterest.com/avenellis/

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

The Scandalous Duchess by Anne O’Brien

The scandalous duchess
Published by MIRA on 7 March 2014.

“If you will be a great man’s mistress you must pay the price…

1372, The Savoy. Widow Lady Katherine Swynford presents herself for a role in the household of merciless royal prince John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, hoping to end her destitution. But the Duke’s scandalous proposition leaves her life of pious integrity reeling…

Seduced by the glare of royal adoration, Katherine becomes John’s mistress. She will leave behind everything she has stood for to play second fiddle to his young wife and ruthless ambition. She will live in the shadows of the most powerful man in England in the hope of a love greater than propriety. 

But soon the court whispers – whore, harlot, vile temptress – reach the ears of not just John’s bride but his most dangerous political enemies. As the Plantagenet prince is accused of bringing England to its knees, who better to blame than shameless she-devil Katherine Swynford? Dragged from the shadows, Katherine must answer for her sins.”

MY REVIEW

Firstly I’d like to thank ED PR for sending me this book to read and give an honest review.  I previously read and very much enjoyed The Forbidden Queen (review here) by the same author so I was really keen to get started on this one!

The prologue introduced me to Katherine and the unfortunate situation she found herself in. Katherine seemed like a strong, interesting woman and I was immediately drawn in by her. When the Duke’s proposition came along a short while later I found that it wasn’t as harsh as I had expected and, even though I felt he was rather quick off the mark, I actually quite liked him. Katherine’s reaction to the proposition was interesting and once again not as I had expected – as I read further and learned the strength of her feelings I began to understand her reaction better.

The Duke’s seduction of Katherine was wonderful to read, this part created a dangerous sort of excitement that radiated from the book.  I felt nervous for Katherine when rumours began to circulate and I was surprised by this – being a married woman myself, I thought I would feel a strong dislike towards the ‘scandalous Duchess’ simply because of her involvement with a married man but somehow it wasn’t like that at all.  She wasn’t as brazen as I thought she would be and I found myself respecting her attempts to put distance between herself and the Duke.

The whole story captivated me, I was taken along on a historical ride that had me glued to the pages and eventually I was brought to tears by an emotional epilogue.  It was beautifully written once again, the author has the wonderful ability of making history come to life.  I have to admit that history has never been one of my favourite subjects but with Anne’s books I find myself utterly immersed in the subject – the characters, the setting, the old-fashioned customs, and especially the romance, all combined to give me a fascinating glimpse into the past!

This was another fabulous, romantic read by Anne O’Brien.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR

Anne O’Brien was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire.  After gaining a BA Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Masters degree in Education at Hull, she worked as a History teacher in East Riding until she was encouraged by success in short story competitions to become a full-time author.  After publishing a number of “Regency Romances”, Anne decided to focus on giving voice to women in history who fascinated her the most.  In 2010, she published the acclaimed Virgin Widow, which told the story of Anne Neville, the wife of Richard, Duke of Gloucester.  Devil’s Consort followed in 2011, telling the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and in 2012, Anne published The King’s Concubine, depicting the scandalous life of Alice Perrers, the mistress of Edward III, and Katherine de Valois, the child bride of Henry V in The Forbidden Queen (2013).  The Scandalous Duchess is her fifteenth novel.

Anne lives with her husband in an 18th Century timber-framed cottage in the depths of the Welsh Marshes in Herefordshire, an area steeped in history.  ’A wild and beautiful place’, on the border between England and Wales, it is renowned for its black and white timbered houses, ruined castles and priories and magnificent churches, as well as a fair few bloody deeds.  When not writing, Anne enjoys trekking (early experiences were both exhilarating and beautiful, or life-threatening!), yoga and gardening in her herb patch patterned on a Tudor knot Garden.

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Waiting For Prince Harry by Aven Ellis – Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the Fiction Addiction Book Tours cover reveal blitz for Waiting For Prince Harry by Aven Ellis.

And what a gorgeous cover it is!

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Coming in 2014 – Publisher Soul Mate.

“Twenty-four-year-old Kylie Reed has always been a rule follower. Organized and cautious to a fault, her dreams for life are often filed away for future use—when she has a house, when she meets her future husband, when she has been at her visual display job at a chic Dallas boutique longer…Kylie always has a reason for living her life in the future, not in the present, and not living her life to the fullest and reaching her dream of becoming a fashion designer.  

The only exception to rules, of course, would be running away with Prince Harry—Kylie’s ideal man. A hot, fun ginger boy would be worth breaking all the rules for, of course.  And Kylie is sure Harry just needs the right, centering woman to settle him down.  But living in Dallas and not knowing Prince Harry make this a non-option.

Or does it?

Because when Kylie accidentally falls into the lap of a gorgeous ginger boy—yes, even more gorgeous than the real Prince Harry—all bets are off. Could this stranger be the one to show Kylie how to take a chance, to face her fears, and live in the present?  And could this stranger be the Prince Harry she has been waiting for? Kylie’s life takes some unexpected twists and turns thanks to this chance encounter, and she knows her life will never be the same because of it…”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author PhotoAven Ellis has been writing fiction since she was sixteen. She studied communications at a large Midwestern university, and after graduation, Aven worked as a reporter for a community newspaper, followed by a stint at a public relations agency.

But writing about city council meetings and restaurant franchises was not as much fun as writing for young women trying to figure out their careers and potential boyfriends. So Aven got herself a job in television that allowed her to write at night.  Connectivity is Aven’s debut novel; Waiting For Prince Harry and Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista (New Adult romantic comedy) will be published this year.

Aven lives in Dallas with her family. When she is not writing, Aven enjoys shopping, cooking, connecting with friends on social media, and watching any show that features Gordon Ramsay.

AUTHOR LINKS

Connect with me on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/AvenEllis1 

Talk to me on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/AvenEllis 

Visit me on the web:

http://www.avenellis.com/index.html 

Check out my pins on Pinterest:

http://pinterest.com/avenellis/

Check out Connectivity, Aven Ellis’ debut novel:

Connectivity

“Overachiever Mary-Kate Grant (who is indeed named after an Olsen Twin) has followed every rule to the letter to pursue her dream of working in TV programming. Ripping a page from the “hard work pays off” playbook, she takes an assistant level job at a Chicago sports network to break into the industry.

MK has no time or desire for a relationship right now—she is totally focused on her career and being independent, unlike the other women in her family.

But MK’s plans are run through the shredder when she finds herself working for William Cumberland, a British media mogul who made his fortune with Connectivity, a social media site. William blows into Chicago just like the winds off Lake Michigan and purchases the group of networks MK works for—and makes her his personal assistant in the process.

Suddenly MK finds her career plans in jeopardy. William makes her question everything she has ever thought and has the uncanny ability to see right through her. And for the first time in her life, MK finds herself not only questioning what she wants for her career but for her personal life as well…”

AMAZON | GOODREADS

Aven Ellis has featured twice before on Me, My Books and I – read her author interview here and read my review of Connectivity here.

GIVEAWAY

The giveaway on this blitz is 1 x ecopy of Waiting for Prince Harry (when it is published) and 1 x ecopy of Connectivity.  Open Internationally. Click the link below and follow the instructions to enter.

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Good luck!

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Killer Queens – Rebecca Chance

Killer Queens

“Every little girl grows up dreaming of finding a prince – but what is the fairy tale turns into a right royal nightmare?

Lori is a beautiful, blonde, all-American athlete. When the charismatic ruler of a small, filthy rich European state asks for her hand, she thinks she’s snagged Prince Charming. But she soon realizes that all that glitters is not gold…

Belinda was once the most recognized and loved princess in the world. Forced to stage her own death, she lives incognito abroad with her adoring royal lover. Now, she is determined to return to England to see her son Hugo wed, even if it means risking her own life.

Chloe, Prince Hugo’s fiancée, is the archetypical English rose. But it’s a long road to becoming a princess, even when you’re dating the heir to the throne. Perhaps the fairy-tale ending isn’t all it was cracked up to be…

Killer queens, scheming kings, murder plots and lashings of steamy sex – find out what REALLY goes on behind closed palace doors.”

Firstly I’d like to thank ed pr for sending me this book to read and give an honest review.  I love books by this author (reviews here) so I couldn’t wait to see where I would be taken this time!

I was quickly pulled into the crazy world of royalty; each of the Princesses/Queens brought something different to the storyline and captured my interest with their dramas.  Belinda’s story began by taking me back twenty years with the fascinating tale of how she faked her own death.  I was interested to see how events in the present day would affect her.  I had a variety of reactions with Lori, one minute I felt sorry for her and the next irritated by her actions – I just had to yell at the book a couple of times when I thought she should have made better choices.  Chloe was my favourite character along with her best friend Lauren, they made such a fantastic comedy duo.  There was a hilarious moment involving the two friends that had me giggling uncontrollably – just look out for the scene where they watch some CCTV footage (I will say no more)!

Certain characters strongly reminded me of our own royal family and I couldn’t help but picture them as I read the book.  My imagination was teased with thoughts of royalty and their lavish lives but I was also shown the less glamorous side – some of the dramatic twists were simply shocking!  There was a particular twist towards the end that I just hadn’t seen coming, I loved it!

As always with this author’s books there was plenty of sexual scenes and strong language so if you are likely to be offended by this then it may not be a book for you.  I thought that these scenes were well written and none of them felt out-of-place so in my opinion they were an important part of the storyline.  I will just say though that I don’t think I’ll ever look at a banana in quite the same way again :D.

This was a fun and feisty read with plenty of action to keep you hooked, a classic Rebecca Chance sizzler!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born in North London, Rebecca Chance read English Literature at Cambridge and wrote for various newspapers and music magazines before moving to Tuscany to learn Italian and to focus on writing books.  After eight years in Italy, she moved to Manhattan, where her experience of the New York dating scene inspired her non-fiction dating book Jane Austin’s Guide to Dating, which was featured on the Richard and Judy Book Club and published under the name Lauren Henderson.

Now back in the UK, Rebecca lives in London with her husband and has quickly made the bonkbuster genre her own, bringing the genre ‘bang’ up to date and, reflecting the trials and tribulations of both women and men, gay and straight, as she hones in on the outsized dreams and desires that we all covet.  Rebecca Chance’s bestselling novels include Divas, Bad SistersBad Girls, Killer Heels and Bad Angels.

To find out more:

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Killer Queens was published by Simon & Schuster on 8th August 2013, it can be purchased from The Book DepositoryAmazon or from most good book retailers.