Off to a fairytale we go..

Peaches & the Duke Book Cover Peaches & the Duke
Rocking Royal Trilogy #1
Jeffrey L Mayo, Ginger Voight,
Romance, Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Independently Published
August 24, 2020

For Peaches McPhee, the chance to interview the Duke of Mayhem is too good an opportunity to miss. This eccentric, elusive royal went rogue to pursue a career as a rock god years before, but he was finally willing to spill the tea in a tell-all memoir that would ensure he'd never sit on a throne.Only Auggie isn't the only one keeping secrets. And it's a secret that is increasingly harder for Peaches to hide the closer he gets to her, literally bringing a fairy tale to life. When the whole world turns its focus on her and those she loves the most, a palace just might be the last place left to hide.Ginger Voight is back and she expands her Groupieverse across the oceans to foreign lands, where a rock and roll prince might have found an American princess. With the help of her best friend, they bring 40 years of storytelling collaboration to sweep you away to a magical land where fairy tales really do come true, whether you like it or not.You fell for Vanni, you pined for Drew... but nothing could have prepared you for Auggie.Say hello to your next book boyfriend.

OK. So he is  called the Duke of Mayhem in  a Rock and Roll band – that’s his stage name  – but he has another identity – a Prince! The prince of Aldayne. Aldayne is an imaginary island off the coast of Ireland – quite large it seems and comprised of 2 volcanos and the land between. And then there is the black soil which grows black roses, black wine and black berries. Now if you have been to the Canaries, you will know about the balc volcanic sand/soil on Tenerife that grows a particlualrly sweet wine often just referred to as ‘Canary’ in historical records. The grapes grow in an unusual low braided form rather on long rows of trellis.

So Ginger has appropriated some of this geology, she has also appropriated a little geology from the Isle of Man, the island that does lay off the coast of Ireland –  and was formed partially by an underwater volcano although nothing is active now of course.

So Aldayne, still has a monarch – a true feudal monarch, no constitutional monarchy here and Auggie was expected to be the 51st Quinn king of the island. Ginger also gives the island a rather nice history as a place that took in refugees and immigrants from all nations for a very long time, and where many of the aristocracy were black and there seemed to be no colour bar or racial tension.

Peaches McFee on the other hand was a music/media journalist born to a family of ‘hippies’. Or at least a family where, apart from the oldest son, the children were brought up in a rather free flowing family as the parents moved around a lot – often acting as caretakers for properties. In fact currently, they were living in a farm whose owner had bought it as a present for his wife, who died soon after, and thus he couldn’t bear to live in it. It was a $4 million complex of 10,000 sq feet of main house, with 8 bedrooms and 8 baths, plus a guest house of 2500 sq feet  with 2 bedrooms opening onto a pool with a waterfall! There was a tennis court, stables, horses, full of animals and organic produce. Of the McPhee children, the one everyone falls in love with is the baby of the family – Dashiel – who loves to dance in  a rainbow tutu and refuses to let anyone cut his strawberry blonde hair.

Peaches is hired by Auggie to write the story of his next band tour – a 5 month long trek round America and Europe, at a very sizable amount of money. But Peaches has a secret – and so it runs out does Auggie – in fact he has several that he doesn’t tell her.

This is very enjoyable and very different love story. A version if you like of Cinderella without the shoe and a rock band instead! Nice story telling and imaginative geography/geology/history of the island – combinations of the place we’d like so many places to be perhaps?

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Look harder!

A Royal Christmas Quandary Book Cover A Royal Christmas Quandary
Samantha Hastings
Young Adult Fiction, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, Swoon
Swoon Reads
October 6, 2020

Readers looking for a light, fun read full of holiday mischief will be delighted by Samantha Hastings' A Royal Christmas Quandary, perfect for fans of A Christmas Prince and The Crown. When you spend Christmas in a castle, anything is possible. 1860. Lady Alexandrina Gailey is looking forward to a cozy holiday at Windsor Castle with her best friend, Princess Alice, and her long-time crush, Lord George Worthington. But Drina's plans are all but dashed when Alice's parents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, declare that Alice must choose one of two royal princes to become engaged to before Christmas. There's just one problem: George, a junior member of the Foreign Office, has accidentally misplaced one of the princes. Together, Drina and George scour the town of Windsor for the missing prince, desperately hoping to deliver him to the royal dinner party with the queen none the wiser. They might just need a royal Christmas miracle to pull it off.

I liked the way this story mixed fact with fiction – faction in truth except that the people you would normally write faction about, were bit part players here. Queen Victoria appeared here in all her majesty and dictates. A suitable story for tweenagers.

Unfortunately for our heroine the entailed Estate was still legal at this time. In fact: England only outlawed the entail in 1925 applying to real estate. But England still allows male-only primogeniture for aristocratic titles, but this was changed for Royalty in 2013 whereby an Act of Parliament replaced male-preference primogeniture with absolute primogeniture for those in the line of succession born after 28 October 2011, which means the eldest child, regardless of sex, precedes their siblings.

And as for the crinoline and corsets – well – the fact that women had difficulty going through doors was well known as it was considered fashionable to have the largest crinoline you could, with the most furbelows!


I liked the adventures that our hero and heroine got up to, no matter how silly or unlikely, but still come back to the idea that 18 is much too young to decide on who to marry even though it was common then – and as for the Princess who was engaged at 14, well…

I also liked the parlor games and thought they could be great fun considering the lack of other entertainment – and as for the forfeits they were rather cheeky. Ice skating was a popular pastime too as it was rather colder during this period than it is now – partly because of the mini Ice Age being experienced, but also because of the Krakatoa explosion in 1883 which dropped average temperatures by at least 1 degree for over a year due to the dust cloud cover.

Over all a nice romp through a Victorian romance .

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Clean a room? Easy!

Roommaid Book Cover Roommaid
Sariah Wilson
Fiction, humour, romance
Montlake Romance

From bestselling author Sariah Wilson comes a charming romance about living your life one dream at a time. Madison Huntington is determined to live her dreams. That means getting out from under her family's wealth and influence by saying no to the family business, her allowance, and her home. But on a teacher's salary, the real world comes as a rude awakening--especially when she wakes up every morning on a colleague's couch. To get a place of her own (without cockroaches, mold, or crime scene tape), Madison accepts a position as a roommaid. In exchange for free room and board, all she needs to do is keep her busy roommate's penthouse clean and his dog company. So what if she's never washed a dish in her life. She can figure this out, right? Madison is pretty confident she can fake it well enough that Tyler Roth will never know the difference. The finance whiz is rich and privileged and navigates the same social circles as her parents--but to him she's just a teacher in need of an apartment. He's everything Madison has run from, but his kindhearted nature, stomach-fluttering smile, and unexpected insecurities only make her want to get closer. And Tyler is warming to the move. Rewarding job. Perfect guy. Great future. With everything so right, what could go wrong? Madison is about to find out.

Clumsy maid [Original] : animemaids

What are you to do if you want to be a teacher – so much so that you are prepared to be cut off from your family – and nasty witch mother – and all that they represent – money and servants and…?

Of and somewhere to live that you can afford on your exceedingly small probationer salary. You start by couch surfing and when that gets old – for you and owner of the couch – you ask your realtor aunt to help. And she shows you what you can afford and you shiver in disgust – so when she offers you the opportunity to share a flat rent free in return for dog sitting and cleaning, you jump at it.

Oh you fool. If you only knew the future.

This is a lighthearted and warm story about he nasty machinations of the rich and privileged and all he politics and games they play and a naïve young woman who tries to change her life around. She finds herself in a really nice place, with a nice friend or two but her mother does everything she can to try and ruin it. And almost, but not quite, succeeds. So we end up with a good result and happiness all round – for most people anyway.

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Random Babies

Random Acts of Baby Book Cover Random Acts of Baby
Surprise Baby, Romantic Comedy
(6 Aug. 2020)

You know those television stories about the woman who goes to the emergency room thinking she has a bad case of indigestion or kidney stones or a burst appendix and she comes home with a bouncing baby boy?Stupid woman, right? Who the hell doesn’t know she’s pregnant for nine and a half months? I used to think those mamas were one block short of a level trailer.Used to.Random Acts of Baby is the 11th book in Julia Kent's New York Times bestselling series as Darla, Trevor, and Joe go on a long, crazy journey involving a baby, living two lives, and learning who you can count on most when you need a helping hand.

This book disappointed. I thought it was not as funny as the last one apart from one scene which had me in stitches – crying tears of laughter – see Trevor in the cupboard with the chicken, eggs and a shoe.

For me, the story was not as well-crafted with few new characters, new life events and mayhem. And I was disappointed to find out who had the baby!

Sorry Julia. This one failed for me.

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Why is humour often grave?

Grave Humor Book Cover Grave Humor
A Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) #14
R. J. Blain
Fiction, paranormal, urban famtasy
Pen & Page Publishing
May 12, 2020

Most days, Anwen regrets working at a funeral home. With the residents no longer inclined to stay in their coffins where they belong, she's got her hands full making sure everyone follows the rules: In the funeral home, there is no screaming, no murdering, no mutilation, no possessions, no kidnappings, no resurrections, and no cursing of any type. Be quiet and stay polite. The day Old Man McGregor decides to take a walk and disturbs her peace, Anwen learns there's a lot more to the basement in the funeral home than a vampire and a handsome gentleman on ice. If she's not careful, she'll learn first-hand why 'eternally yours' is the most potent of threats. Warning: this novel contains romance, humor, bodies, shenanigans, and mythological puppies. Proceed with caution.

Part of a long series with bodies….

This was a good length and so it was long enough to complete a story in one book. No need for a sequel here and I enjoyed reading through whole.

Just a couple of minor grouches from me though – 1. For me it seemed there was too much emphasis on the Aramaic pantheon; and 2. I got seriously confused at times when the characters were explaining all the different relationships within the angelic host and others. This just needed to be simplified down for those not familiar with this pantheon and the way angels and their various families are linked.

I had not realised, until I looked it up, that angels are common to many religions including Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. Of course Medieval scholars managed to make it all very complicated and to have many different choirs of angels and thrones etc but the one thing that most agree on is that Azrael holds a rather benevolent role as the angel of death, wherein he acts as a psychopomp, responsible for transporting the souls of the deceased after death. I have come across the concept of a psychopomp before in Christine Bauer’s work so this was at least familiar to me. But of course, each religion has a different take on angels – names, roles and hierarchy too.

I’m glad that I didn’t give up though. As I found that the story kept me interested and I loved the Mausoleum and graveyard. Anwen was an interesting heroine and I loved her chats with the dead and the loved the way the dead behaved too.

A different world again – but as the angels and others keep hinting – each world that the universe  builds lasts only a time – and then is destroyed for some reason and another world appears and magic appears in this new world at some point too. But each world acquires its magic at a different point in its history. Some characters in these stories live through multiple worlds – often by sleeping for long periods. Interesting thought and philosophy.

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