The Ninth Ingredient Review

The Ninth Ingredient

Henri is a cooking apprentice and he wants to be a proper French baker. Then, the Italians start to invade France’s cooking scene and change their cooking traditions entirely. When Henri’s witty tongue gets him in trouble, he has to find the ingredients of gelato in a short period of time or he loses his apprenticeship and has to work for his uncle. In order to find the gelato recipe, he has to woo one of the Italians. At first everything is purely business, but then Henri starts to fall for the gelato creator.

I have to say; this book would have been far better if Henri had been more likeable. Alix, a young apprentice, embarrasses himself because he had diarrhea when he was presenting his hot chocolate to the master chefs and a noble. Alix had a crush on Henri and saved him by providing him with powdered sugar for his botched cookies just hours before. But does Henri stay quiet and allow his friend a moment of humiliation in peace? No! He makes a joke about how Alix the Chocolatier makes pudding from both ends, causing Alix to run out of the room weeping, and no one even laughed at Henri’s “joke” because he did this in front of the head chefs. Henri was never truly apologetic for ruining Alix’ chance at being a French chef, and he only feels sorry for himself because he has to find the gelato recipe now. I think I disliked him from this point in the book, and he didn’t get any more likeable for me.

The overall story was pretty confusing and seemed to jump around a lot. One minute Henri is being lectured by his uncle, the next he is fooling around with a priest in a barrel. I could never predict where Henri would be from chapter to chapter.

The only thing that I can say that I enjoyed in this book was the romance. Henri didn’t believe in romance or love until he met the gelato creator, he just believed in using sex for gain. Then, the gelato creator changed everything. This love story truly saved the entire book for me, even though it kept getting interrupted by the more annoying parts of the story.

I would neither recommend nor bash this story. It is a nice LGBT historical romance novel that is just ruined by an unlikeable character. If you are interested in reading and can get past this character, I would recommend it to you.


I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 books.

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Colonel Brandon’s Widow and Willoughby


Mrs Brandon, the former Marianne Dashwood, is now a widow, and not yet twenty-five.

Her former admirer Willoughby is as unhappily married as ever, and the thought that she is free to marry again drives him to distraction. He has continued in his dissolute lifestyle, which Marianne abhors, while his wife Sophia’s life has been poisoned by jealousy of Marianne.

Marianne urges him that the only possibility of happiness for Willoughby and his wife is for him to give up his empty pursuit of pleasure – but now the Colonel is gone, Marianne finds that she can no longer push aside thoughts of Willoughby easily herself; she must find some way of occupying her own empty hours.

Willoughby retains his rascally charm, which an older and wiser Marianne is determined to resist; Elinor and Edward are as astute as ever, while Sir John and Lady Middleton are as foolish. Mrs Jennings remains determined to marry off all her associates as before, while Sophia Willoughby is even more sour as the wife of the man she wanted, and Willoughby’s friends are suitably cynical rakes.

This sequel to Jane Austen’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’ strives to emulate some of the light ironic touch of the inimitable style of Jane Austen; it is both funny and sad, and is told as dark comedy.


Marianne and Willoughby are not together at the start of this novel.  In fact, Marianne is still mourning the death of her husband. Then Willoughby, her former lover, shows up and they start to fall in love again. Even though the novel is short, the book still follows the tried and true historical romance arc of introduction, then major conflict/suspense scene, and then nice ending. The story moved smoothly, and I was at the end before I knew it.

My main issue with this novel was that the characters had no chemistry. I didn’t feel that Marianne and Willoughby were truly right for one another. Most of the story consists of the two characters spending time apart. It seemed rather rushed at the end when the “romance” finally kicked in. This made the overall novel forgettable. Within a few hours of reading the novel, I was struggling to remember what had occurred in it. I may not have the best memory, but I can usually remember what I spent the better part of an hour reading later on the same day. It just didn’t leave any sort of impression on me.

I would not recommend this novel. There are many historical romance novels that I have read, and this one just wasn’t my favorite. Maybe if the story was fleshed out a little more and the characters got to know one another more naturally I would be able to enjoy this romance. From where it stands right now, I would have to say to simply skip it.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 books

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Highland Salvation Blog Tour Plus Review

Meet the Author:

Winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award and Holt Medallion for Best First Book and Best Historical, Lori Ann Bailey writes hunky highland heroes and strong-willed independent lasses finding their perfect matches in the Highlands of 17th century Scotland. Writing about the people and places playing in her head helps her live out her dreams and delve into her love of history and romance. When not writing, Lori enjoys time with her real-life hero and four kids or spending time walking or drinking wine with her friends.
Connect: Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

About the Book:

Finlay Cameron, the bastard son of an English earl and a Scottish mother, weds stunning, outgoing Blair Macnab to ensure her clan’s loyalty to King Charles. She’s everything he’s ever wanted in a wife, but he suspects she may be plotting his murder.
Always considered to be nothing more than a pretty face, Blair Macnab yearns to prove her worth. She refuses to be used as a pawn for political gain, but when confronted by a blackmailer, her only option is to marry the brawny Finlay Cameron.
In Finlay’s arms, she feels safe for the first time ever. Until she learns that her blackmailer is hot on her trail and her secrets could soon be exposed…

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I don’t read that many Highlander romances, but this one stuck out to me in particular. Usually, the illegitimate child storyline comes into play for a historical romance based in London, not Scotland, but this book was a bit of both.

At first, I was a bit confused. I thought that Blair was going to marry her betrothed’s brother, but then she was able to run off with Finlay! Thank goodness she was able to, however, because Henry and his family definitely wouldn’t have given her a good life. Her relationship with Finlay gets off to a rocky start as he has to take her on horseback on a long journey the day after their wedding, and she is so ill on her wedding night that she feels that she is failing her husband. But the longer that they spend on this trip, the closer they get to one another, and the more that they realize that they love each other.

The romance in this story was amazing. Finlay and Blair definitely had chemistry, and they respected one another. Blair had already gone through a really poor relationship before, so she wasn’t sure exactly what a good relationship was. Finlay knew that she was beautiful, but he didn’t want to push this already broken woman too far. They dance around each other until they feel comfortable with one another, and then it still takes them a few chapters to realize how strong their feelings for one another truly are.

The side story about Finlay believing that Blair was out to kill him played out in an interesting way. It definitely wasn’t my favorite part of the story, it was pretty clear that Blair was madly in love with Finlay and would do nothing to hurt him. But it was interesting seeing Finlay try to figure out what exactly was going on with his wife, learning more of her backstory in the process.

My other favorite part of the story was learning about Finlay’s family. Illegitimate children always have interesting stories in romance novels, so I was hunting for all the clues as Blair and Finlay pieced together the truth about Finlay’s parent’s relationship. It was a sad story, but I enjoyed it. I did want to punch Finlay’s brothers though, they were so awful to him. It was no wonder that he was a bit emotionally closed off.

I read this entire book in one sitting, I just couldn’t put it down. 307 pages later, I am happy that I read it, and I hope to read more romance stories from this author.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an adult Highlander romance.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books

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Colonel Brandon’s Widow & Willoughby Blog Tour

Colonel Brandon’s Widow and Willoughby

by Marianna Green

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GENRE:   romance historical Jane Austen sequel

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BLURB:

Mrs. Brandon, the former Marianne Dashwood, is now a widow, and not yet twenty-five.
Her former admirer Willoughby is as unhappily married as ever, and the thought that she is free to marry again drives him to distraction. He has continued in his dissolute lifestyle, which Marianne abhors, while his wife Sophia’s life has been poisoned by jealousy of Marianne.
Marianne urges him that the only possibility of happiness for Willoughby and his wife is for him to give up his empty pursuit of pleasure – but now the Colonel is gone, Marianne finds that she can no longer push aside thoughts of Willoughby easily herself; she must find some way of occupying her own empty hours. Willoughby retains his rascally charm, which an older and wiser Marianne is determined to resist; Elinor and Edward are as astute as ever, while Sir John and Lady Middleton are as foolish. Mrs. Jennings remains determined to marry off all her associates as before, while Sophia Willoughby is even more sour as the wife of the man she wanted, and Willoughby’s friends are suitably cynical rakes.


This sequel to Jane Austen’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’ strives to emulate some of the light ironic touch of the inimitable style of Jane Austen; it is both funny and sad, and is told as dark comedy.

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Excerpt

The union of the Willoughbys’ only resembled that of the Brandons’ in being childless. Unlike the latter couple, they had no common interests to compensate, unless an unfortunate tendency to over indulge in wine and other stimulants could count as a mutual source of diversion. It is true that they did share in common a manner of relating to each other that involved raised voices behind slammed doors, angry silences and periods of cold civility; but this shared inclination brought them no closer together.

It could be further urged on their behalf , that in this conduct, they provided society with the diversion of much talk, and their staff with constant entertainment; – for Willoughby’s confidential valet knew all about his improper pursuits, while his wife’s lady’s maid could recount how Mrs Willoughby had cursed him for a fortune hunting libertine in full hearing of the servants, and of how savagely he had kicked shut her sitting room door before retorting that, ‘Devil take it, in his whole worthless life, he had only cared for Mrs Brandon, and he’d be damned if he pretended anything else to please a scolding…’

But the reader does not wish to hear any more of this. Seemingly their staff lacked any discretion, and soon enough, the content of the Willoughbys’ exchanges leaked out into polite society, which showed still less decorum in repeating them assiduously. Many a man had dined out for a month on his knowledge of episodes that ought to have been cloaked in decent silence, and Miss Steele was one of many maiden ladies agog for the latest outrage…

“Not another word, damn it!” he exclaimed, coming again to a stop and turning on her in a fury she had never seen in him before. “I cannot endure to hear this from you, of all people. As to my wife, it must come to a separation; we are so at each other’s throats. Then, Mrs. Brandon, you recommend to me a life devoted to duty?” He stood breathing quickly, while unseen by either of them, a hare bolted across their path. Willoughby’s normally fractious mount did not even notice. Throughout their talk, it had showed remarkable patience at being stopped and started at every other minute, and now stood gently waving its ears, almost as if it felt for its master’s desperation.

He rushed on, “No doubt that is how you plan to waste your youth and beauty. No, I cannot find comfort in a life devoted to good works. Mrs. Smith’s tenants must go to the hell in a handcart along with their master, when he comes to inherit. Lord, but I am well served for my former misdeeds and treachery.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Marianna Green is lives in the UK, has a geekish fascination with English Literature and History, and an irrepressible sense of humour.

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8058693.Marianna_Green

Amazon link

Book is currently on sale for 99 cents!


GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:

Marianna Green will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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The Ambitious Barrister and the Maid Blog Tour Plus Review

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Cover_The Ambitious Barrister and the Maid.jpgThe Ambitious Barrister and the Maid
by Marianna Green

GENRE: Steamy Historical Romance

Sarah-Ann Jennings is quite happy to satisfy her master’s lust. Forced into domestic service by a penny pinching aunt, she is determined to make enough money to secure her own future and that of her eccentric younger brother. She rather enjoys him, besides.

There is, of course, no question of any emotional entanglement between them. Mr. Alfred Grand is a cold-hearted fortune hunter in search of a wealthy wife, after all.

For all that, when Sarah-Ann comes to suspect that somebody may be trying to poison him for reasons of their own, she is ready to put all her energy and determination into finding out who it is. This steamy romance set in the mid-Victorian UK is definitely for over eighteens.

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I love historical romance stories, and so I was excited to read this story. I definitely wasn’t disappointed.

Sarah is a good maid. She listens to the head maid Mrs. Carr, and she listens to everything that Mr. Grand says. When Mr. Grand takes a liking to her, she doesn’t hesitate to fall for him. It is improper for a maid to fall for her master, especially when he is an eligible bachelor looking for a rich wife to marry. He needs this rich wife to save his estate, but he can’t seem to stop falling for his maid.

I thought that this book would be just an adult historical romance, but then I realized that it was going to be a bit different. For starters, Sarah was 17 at the start of the novel. At first, I thought that it was weird, but then I realized that she was probably old for an unmarried girl at the time. Mr. Grand never forced her into anything, he just knew that he liked her and she reciprocated his advances. The start of the novel was more focused on sex, but then things got even more interesting as the story progressed.

Sarah and Mr. Grand were together, but they started having feelings stronger than lust towards one another. The main conflict of the novel was when they were discovered and they were battling with others and with themselves to figure out what would come next in their lives. This novel may be steamy, but it does have a plot, and that plot can truly draw you in.

The only thing that I have to say is that it took me quite a bit of time to get to know and enjoy the characters. It may have seemed at the start that Mr. Grand was cold, but he fell for Sarah quickly in this short story. Then, the rest of the story seemed to fly by, and I was left wanting more. If only this was a series so that I could learn what happened to the other characters in the household in more depth! The story was short enough for me to read in one afternoon but long enough for me to be sad when it was over.

I would definitely recommend this steamy historical romance novel to anyone looking for a new adult book to read.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books

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Excerpt One

The man’s eye fell on me. I would have liked to think that he was wholly moved by pity at the sight of the tears welling in the eyes of the scrawny creature that I then was. There was indeed a spark of sympathy in his, but also some calculation.

That might seem to be a long word for a housemaid, but I had been educated to be a young lady.

Mr Grand was a man who thought ahead. He saw something in me that interested him. It wouldn’t do for now, for though sixteen, I had much filling out to do. He was ready to wait, just as he was prepared to wait for the right chance to further his career. He was a man who saw potentials closed to those with a less penetrating gaze. In pursuing his goals, he was patient.

“She will do very well, Mrs. Carr,” he gave that cold smile he sometimes used. “That solves your little problem. Now, as to mine –”

The housekeeper was indignant enough to do what servants, even the higher ones, should never do. She cut him off, which was bad enough, and then she contradicted him. “Hardly, Sir. I have no time to train her, and -”

He drew back. She could not have done more to ensure I got the post. He looked down his well-shaped nose at her and cut her off in turn. “I just hired the girl, Mrs. Carr. That makes an end to the matter. See about her box and the rest.”

Later on, I was willing to bet, he would see about my box himself.

AuthorPhoto.jpgBio:

Marianna Green is lives in the UK, has a geekish fascination with English Literature and History, and an irrepressible sense of humour.

Goodreads

The book is $0.99.

 

Giveaway!

Marianna Green will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Blog Tour Plus Review

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The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol. II
by Collins Hemingway

Publication Date: August 8, 2016
eBook & Paperback; 332 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1535444958

Jane Austen Lived a Quiet, Single Life-Or Did She?

Tradition holds that Jane Austen lived a proper, contemplative, unmarried life. But what if she wed a man as passionate and intelligent as she-and the marriage remained secret for 200 years?

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen resolves the biggest mystery of Austen’s life-the “lost years” of her twenties-of which historians know virtually nothing.

• Why the enduring rumors of a lost love or tragic affair?

• Why, afterward, did the vivacious Austen prematurely put on “the cap of middle age” and close off any thoughts of finding love?

• Why, after her death, did her beloved sister destroy her letters and journals?

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy answers these questions through a riveting love affair based on the history of the times and the details of Austen’s own life.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

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The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen: Volume I

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol. I
by Collins Hemingway

Tradition holds that Jane Austen lived a prim and proper life as a single woman. But what if she wed a man as passionate and intelligent as she—and the marriage remained secret for 200 years?

Go with Jane Austen as this thinking woman, and sensitive soul, seizes the opportunity for meaningful love with a man who inspires her and understands her independent spirit—the one man worthy of her mind, heart, and soul.

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This story started off with Jane and her best friend going on a hot air balloon excursion. Even though I know little to nothing about hot air balloons, Hemingway perfectly described it. I felt like I was in the sky myself! I was even scared when Jane and Ashton had to figure out how to fly the patchy balloon on their own and was exhilarated when they landed. Then I remembered that this book took place in the early 1800s and that their family is worried sick as they are spending a day or two waiting for a letter to arrive about the pair’s safety.  This perfectly depicted how some things like balloons had been invented, but the world was still far from being modernized in any way.

The first part of this book is getting to know Jane and Ashton. They aren’t together but are just friends. Jane thinks that she is already too old for marriage at 26 years old, and instantly declines Ashton’s offer of marriage. Then, most of the rest of the book is in letter form. This was a beautiful way to write the story, as several years go by, but the characters have to actually wait for the letters to arrive and be responded to. Readers can see how much passion was poured into each letter, as the barrier between friend and lover starts to disintegrate.

I knew little to nothing about Jane Austen before reading this story, and I love how the small tidbits about her life were thrown into the main romance storyline. Like she sends a letter to Ashton about the books that she had been working on, and about all the female authors that she had been having conversations with. It seemed more real. She wasn’t able to do much in society as an unmarried woman, but she decided to spend time with the other talented women of her time. Hopefully, we will get to know who some of these women were in future series installments.

The one thing I didn’t like that much about this book was that some things moved a bit too quickly. I felt like we were rushing from the balloon incident to being at home with Ashton and then Ashton was away again. If those parts had slowed down a bit, I would have loved every second of this read!

I would recommend this series to anyone looking for a new historical fiction romance to read.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books

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Praise for The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Series

“A skillful portrayal of an early nineteenth-century literary icon takes this historical romance on an imaginative journey of the soul. … The adventure of a true romantic partnership and all the excitement that the nineteenth century had to offer. … [The] novel invites you to linger, to savor, and to enjoy. … Makes for wonderful reading. … A Jane that lives and breathes on the page.”—Claire Foster, Foreword Reviews, 4 stars

“Hemingway captures the energy of the times, while also writing with the irony and sly humor of Austen herself. … A strikingly real Jane Austen fully engaged in the turbulent times. … She is a living, breathing presence. … [He] displays a notable ability to recreate time and place. … A lively, compelling read, [a] sobering but moving conclusion.” —Blueink Starred Review

“An enjoyable novel in an imaginative, well-researched series. … A well-researched work of historical fiction … [with] sweet moments and intriguing historical insights. … An incredibly moving portrait of a woman facing loss and love.” —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Whether his subject is literature, history, or science, Collins Hemingway has a passion for the art of creative investigation. For him, the most compelling fiction deeply explores the heart and soul of its characters, while also engaging them in the complex and often dangerous world in which they have a stake. He wants to explore all that goes into people’s lives and everything that makes tThe hem complete though fallible human beings. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding regard for courage in the face of adversity.

As a nonfiction book author, Hemingway has worked alongside some of the world’s thought leaders on topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; the Internet and mobile technology; the ins and outs of the retail trade; and the cognitive potential of the brain. Best known for the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought, which he coauthored with Bill Gates, he has earned a reputation for tackling challenging subjects with clarity and insight, writing for the nontechnical but intelligent reader.

Hemingway has published shorter nonfiction on topics including computer technology, medicine, and aviation, and he has written award-winning journalism.

Published books include The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy, Business @ the Speed of Thought, with Bill Gates, Built for Growth, with Arthur Rubinfeld, What Happy Companies Know, with Dan Baker and Cathy Greenberg, Maximum Brainpower, with Shlomo Breznitz, and The Fifth Wave, with Robert Marcus.

Hemingway lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife, Wendy. Together they have three adult sons and three granddaughters. He supports the Oregon Community Foundation and other civic organizations engaged in conservation and social services in Central Oregon.

For more information please visit Collins Hemingway’s website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 14
Review at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, January 16
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, January 17
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, January 18
Review at Rainy Day Reviews

Monday, January 21
Feature at Donna’s Book Blog

Tuesday, January 22
Excerpt at T’s Stuff
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, January 23
Review & Guest Post at To Read, Or Not to Read

Friday, January 25
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, January 28
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste

Tuesday, January 29
Guest Post at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Wednesday, January 30
Review at Library of Clean Reads

Friday, February 1
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Saturday, February 2
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Sunday, February 3
Review at Bri’s Book Nook

Monday, February 4
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Tuesday, February 5
Review at Maiden of the Pages

Wednesday, February 6
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Bookish Rantings

Thursday, February 7
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, February 8
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Saturday, February 9
Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol II