The Tenth Kingdom [Kathryn Wesley]

308039Do You Believe In Magic?

The Tenth Kingdom is a contemporary drama, set in a world where fairy tales, folklore and traditional myths come to life.

The story follows the fortune of Virginia, a New York waitress, who unwittingly finds herself in the fantasy world of the Nine Kingdoms, where she must save a prince from the clutches of his evil stepmother, and restore him to the throne.

This is a modern, epic tale of good versus evil that will grip the imagination and leave you spellbound.

My thoughts on the novel: The Tenth Kingdom is one of my favourite fantasy books. It’s based on a successful Hallmark mini-series. Famous fairytales, myths and legends are revisited in this captivating story where magic and reality merge beautifully.
The characters are very endearing, the intrigue is action-packed, and carefully sprinkled with a lovely sense of humour. Will Virginia and her father manage to find the traveling mirror to return to New York? Can they defeat the Evil Queen and help Wendell take his throne back?

It is an emotional journey from down-to-earth Manhattan to the incredible, multifaceted lands of this magical realm where you’ll meet trolls, fairies, princes and princesses, among many other fascinating creatures.

It will appeal to both the young and the young at heart.

My Score: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Interview with author Darcie Boleyn

Last weekend, I finished reading A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas by Darcie Boleyn, a great holiday novel I reviewed here. Darcie Boleyn kindly answered a few questions. Hope you’ll enjoy learning more about her!

Thanks for agreeing to this interview. First off, can you tell us more about yourself? How did you become an author?

D.B: I’ve always written, and as a child I used to enter short story and poetry competitions. This continued when I went to university but then, as life became busier, writing took a back seat. I nursed the dream to write for years when my children were young, and I tried to write a novel but spent far too much time procrastinating, which meant that it didn’t get finished. A few years ago, my husband encouraged me to really try again, and following a few false starts, I finally had that amazing acceptance email. Since then, I haven’t stopped!

Your latest novel A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas is a festive, enchanting read whose main character, Lucie, has a very dark, heartbreaking past. Where did you find the inspiration to write such a poignant story that manages to combine both light and deep content?

Thank you so much! I try to combine comedy with reality in my writing. I want to create moments where readers laugh out loud but also ones where they feel other emotions, as, after all, life is a mixture of good and bad times. I also aim to give my characters motivation for their behaviour and decisions, whether linked to positive or negative experiences. I begin with an outline and character profiles, but as I write, these take off in all directions and the characters tell me things about themselves; it’s very exciting. Lucie was actually hiding her darkest secret from me, until I reached the point where she reveals it. I had an idea of what it was but when she actually spoke about it, even I was surprised.

What do you love the most about storytelling?

Creating new characters and watching as their lives unfold. It’s a very enjoyable process and the way I described it recently to my husband was like entering a dark corridor where the lights come on automatically, one at a time, as I move forwards. I don’t always know exactly what’s at the end, or even the next step, but as one light comes on, I can see more of the way ahead and this keeps going until I reach the end.

What do you find hardest in the writing process?

The fact that I have a day job too. There are days when I long to just stay home and write but I can’t and this definitely slows me down. Also, when you write, you’re putting yourself out there, and if you’re gentle and a softy like me, you do have to try to toughen up when it comes to some of the more critical reviews.

Can you describe your typical writing day?

I write whenever and wherever I can, although my most productive time seems to be early morning straight after breakfast. I make a cup of tea or coffee, read over my notes and the previous scene, visualize the scene I’m about to write, then off I go!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers willing to write a good Christmas story?

All stories are different and depend upon the author’s own views of Christmas and own experiences. For me, a Christmas story should include some traditional Christmas themes and activities but also create that all important festive setting. Elements such as the weather and music can all help to pull the reader into your novel, so really appeal to the five senses. In a more general sense, I would encourage aspiring authors to keep trying. The success of the ebook industry means that there are more opportunities to become a published author than in the past. Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, you just have to sit down and write. You can edit later, but you have to get the words down on the page first.

Are you currently working on a new novel? If yes, can you tell us more about it?

I’m working on a summer novel right now and it’s set in beautiful Italy. I don’t want to say too much at this point because it’s early days, but I hope to have some very good news to reveal in coming months.

Thank you so much for hosting me at your lovely blog! Have a fabulous Christmas!

Love, Darcie XXX


Darcie Photo copy 2Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

Connect with Darcie online:






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Warm your heart with this perfectly festive romance…

Lucie Quigley hates Christmas. It’s the time of year when everything goes wrong in her life. So this year, when she’s asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Manhattan wedding, she jumps at the invitation to escape the festivities.

Dale Treharne has been best friends with Lucie for as long as he can remember. He’s used to looking out for his oldest friend and when she asks him to be her plus one, he can’t seem to find a reason to refuse. Instead, he sees it as a way to help Lucie get through what is, for her, the most miserable time of the year.

In New York, as the snow starts to fall, Lucie and Dale start to realise that their feelings run deeper than just friendship. But can they overcome their pasts, and make it a very merry Manhattan Christmas?

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas – Book Spotlight

In my writing, themes such as the importance of family and friends and the modern family unit often emerge. I’m a hopeless romantic; I believe in true love, and that it’s worth fighting for. I also adore Christmas and hope to spend it in New York one year. I went out to Manhattan in late October 2009 and my husband proposed to me in Times Square, so New York has a special place in my heart.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas is about two friends, Lucie and Dale, who’ve always been there for each other. This year, Lucie has been asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Christmas wedding in New York. She asks Dale to go with her because they do everything together and because she can’t imagine going without him.

I wrote the story in the summer, as often happens with Christmas books. My family find the whole process quite amusing, as while the sun is shining outside the window (on those days when we get sunshine, of course) and others are jetting off on exotic holidays, I’m hidden away in my study humming along to Christmas tunes and yearning for a mince pie.

My inspiration for the story started as a seed of an idea that bloomed into a novel. I love festive stories, especially A Christmas Carol, and one day I started thinking about a character who might, in some ways, be a modern female version of Ebenezer Scrooge – but not as miserable or miserly. I thought, what if there were a few ghosts of Christmas past haunting her; a few events that she couldn’t quite get over? Then I added a very positive spirit of Christmas present – to help her learn to love the festive season – in the hunky form of Dale.

But will he be the spirit of Christmas future?

You’ll have to read A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas to find out!

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas [Darcie Boleyn]

Lucie Quigley hates Christmas. It’s the time of year when everything goes wrong in her life. So this year, when she’s asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Manhattan wedding, she jumps at the invitation to escape the festivities.

Dale Treharne has been best friends with Lucie for as long as he can remember. He’s used to looking out for his oldest friend and when she asks him to be her plus one, he can’t seem to find a reason to refuse. Instead, he sees it as a way to help Lucie get through what is, for her, the most miserable time of the year.

In New York, as the snow starts to fall, Lucie and Dale start to realise that their feelings run deeper than just friendship. But can they overcome their pasts, and make it a very merry Manhattan Christmas?

My thoughts on the novel: A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas is a true gem. This feel-good novel is both moving and enchanting. From Tonbridge, England to Manhattan, New York, the reader gradually learns more about the deep, complicated relationship between Lucie and Dale, two best friends who’ve known each other since childhood.

Lucie has a difficult, heartbreaking past. I thought the author wrote beautifully about Lucie’s struggle with the memory of her mother dying on Christmas Eve all these years ago. Dale is a sensitive, affectionate character that you’ll grow very fond of. You know they’re made for each other and yet, it’s lovely to see the whole process they have to go through to reach the same conclusion.

Manhattan around Christmas time offers the perfect backdrop for the most romantic scenes. The whole drama around Petra’s big fancy wedding is very entertaining, especially because of the clash between these two opposite worlds — Lucie and Dale vs Petra and her clique.

It’s a festive, poignant read you won’t be able to put down until the end.

Score: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


Coup de foudre sous la neige [Sarah Morgan et Kate Hoffman]

Coup de foudre sous la neige : 2 romans (&H) par [Morgan, Sarah, Hoffmann, Kate]

Publié chez Harlequin, cet ouvrage réunit deux romans où se mêlent romance et magie de Noël, une combinaison idéale en cette saison !

Roman n° 1 — Un Noël dans ses bras, Sarah Morgan
Evie n’avait pas prévu de mettre son patron sur sa liste au Père Noël : le prince charmant milliardaire qui embrasse la femme de chambre, il y a longtemps que ça ne se fait plus, si ? Mais quand un paparazzi les photographie ensemble et qu’Evie se retrouve au bras de son irrésistible patron à jouer la comédie des fiançailles sous le sapin, elle se met à rêver du plus beau des cadeaux : l’amour…

Une romance façon « Coup de foudre à Manhattan ».

Ce que j’en ai pensé : La référence d’Amazon au film mettant en vedette Jennifer Lopez est particulièrement bien vue. Ce roman à l’eau de rose réunit tous les ingrédients de la comédie romantique et (un chouïa) érotique : c’est léger et pétillant, quoique cousu de fil blanc. On se laisse porter par cette histoire d’amour entre deux personnages issus de deux mondes différents. Prévisible mais divertissant.

Ma note : ♥ ♥

Roman n° 2 — Noël en Alaska, Kate Hoffmann
Pendant ce temps, Julia, elle, a décidé que l’amour, Noël et autres illusions, on ne l’y prendrait plus. Mais Sam, son fils de huit ans, veut sa part de magie : il se lance, tout seul, à la recherche du Père Noël, et se cache dans un petit avion en partance pour le Grand Nord… Un coup de fil furieux prévient Julia : à l’autre bout de la ligne, le pilote — il vient de trouver Sam et somme Julia de venir immédiatement récupérer son fils…

Un très joli conte de Noël entre deux personnages que tout oppose.

Ce que j’en ai pensé : Ma préférence va sans hésitation à cette deuxième histoire digne d’être adaptée en téléfilm de Noël comme ceux que l’on aime voir sur TF1 en cette période. Une histoire d’amour inattendue dans un décor magique tout ce qu’il y a de plus « Noël-esque ». Pas de scène de sexe graphique, mais des descriptions subtiles et « fleur bleue », ce qui était un choix pertinent compte tenu de l’ambiance générale. Une romance familiale qui vous fera fondre !

Ma note : ♥ ♥ ♥

The Empire State Cat’s Christmas Gift [Nic Tatano]

The night her house catches fire, kick-ass lawyer Tish McKenna’s neatly ordered life is thrown into chaos. At least she’s alive—thanks to her adorable cat, Socks!—and after her near-death experience Tish realises she wants more in her life than late nights and case files…

Professionally speaking, hot-shot attorney, Spencer Capshaw hadn’t realised how far off track he’d come. Sure, he had his reasons originally—saving his dad’s life required more money than the DA’s office paid him—yet helping corrupt corporate bigwigs was not why he became a lawyer…

With a little help from a furry friend, these two lost souls find each other in the heart of Manhattan. But when Tish and Spence are pitted against each other in a trial that pushes them both to their limits, can their budding relationship survive?

My thoughts on the novel: If you’re looking for a lovely, warm and festive rom-com, look no further. This novel is a combination of Ally McBeal and a typical Meg Ryan movie, all wrapped up with a magical touch of holiday cheer. What’s not to love?

Tish and Spencer are two charming characters with strong personalities. They’re brought together thanks to Benny, a very endearing secondary character, and also through the unexpected help of Tish’s cat. But, when the reader learns the pair already crossed paths years ago, you only want to keep turning the pages to find out whether the stars will finally align perfectly for them.

It’s particularly refreshing reading about Spencer’s frame of mind. He’s an astonishingly romantic male character. The way he depicts his relationship goals in life is utterly sweet. Any romantic soul indulging in this novel will really enjoy this part of the book.

As far as the narration goes, it flows really well with a series of vivid, well-paced twists, all set in wonderful, magical New York.

The author instills a good amount of humour in serious scenes like the court hearings where the female judge is worth mentioning. It’s an amusing character in all its seriousness. I really enjoyed the dynamic created between the two attorneys and the judge. I couldn’t help but think of episodes from Ally McBeal.

I highly recommend this novel. It will easily appeal to those who love a fun, heartwarming love story with a happy ending.

Score : ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Un bébé ? Non merci… [Emily Griffin]

La trentaine heureuse et une carrière d’éditrice réussie, Claudia mène une vie épanouissante à Manhattan aux côtés de son mari Ben, l’homme de sa vie avec qui elle partage de nombreux points communs, en particulier le désir d’une vie sans enfant. Tout bascule lorsque Ben change d’avis et commence à exprimer, de manière graduellement insistante, son souhait naissant de paternité. Ajoutons à cela des proches et des amis qui ne cessent de questionner le couple sur le moment où ils comptent devenir parents, Claudia a de plus en plus de mal à supporter les sous-entendus et les pressions. Après tout, on ne demande jamais aux parents de justifier leur désir d’avoir des enfants, pourquoi en est-il autrement pour ceux qui choisissent un style de vie différent ?

Claudia et Ben se trouvent dans une impasse dont la seule solution semble le divorce. Claudia parviendra-t-elle à oublier celui qu’elle considère comme l’homme de sa vie ? Pourra-t-elle, à 35 ans, retrouver un homme qui partage son désir de vie exclusivement à deux ?

Ce que j’en ai pensé : Ce roman aborde le sujet de la maternité, du couple et du rôle de la femme avec intelligence et subtilité. Dès les premiers chapitres, j’ai été happée par cette histoire d’amour entre Claudia et Ben, un couple fort, uni et parfaitement assorti jusqu’à ce que Ben exprime le souhait de changer radicalement cette dynamique harmonieuse. Pourront-ils surmonter cette crise profonde ?

Les personnages secondaires ne sont pas en reste. La famille de Claudia joue un rôle important puisqu’elle vient éclairer des pans de sa personnalité, notamment eu égard à son enfance peu ordinaire et à sa mère très singulière. Ses sœurs sont notamment des personnages bien développés qui incarnent un type de femme particulier, un solide mécanisme comparatif pour mieux interpréter le personnage de Claudia. L’entourage amical compte énormément dans la compréhension des personnages, en particulier Annie et Ray le couple d’amis dont Claudia et Ben sont très proches. L’annonce de l’arrivée de leur premier enfant marque le début des ennuis pour Claudia car c’est bien l’événement qui déclenche des envies de paternité chez son mari. La séparation du couple s’accompagne inévitablement d’une certaine distanciation amicale, un bouleversement profond des relations qui remet en cause la vision que Claudia a de la vie. Finira-t-elle par céder aux pressions et à faire un bébé pour reconquérir Ben et reprendre le cours de leur vie… comme avant ?

L’évolution psychologique des personnages est rédigée avec délicatesse et intelligence. Je tiens à souligner que la fin est très satisfaisante car elle ne tombe pas dans la caricature, ce que je craignais par-dessus tout.

L’auteure offre une fin crédible et émouvante à cette comédie romantique qui dose savamment moments légers et sujets graves.

Ma note : ♥ ♥ ♥

Sexe, diamants et plus si affinités [Lauren Weisberger]

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « Sexe, diamants et plus si affinités »

J’ai hésité un long moment avant d’emprunter ce roman car le titre me semblait tomber dans la catégorie « roman érotique », une catégorie bien différente de la chick-lit et de la romance générale. Toutefois, l’auteure est archi-connue. Lauren Weisberger est la plume derrière le succès phénoménal Le Diable s’habille en Prada. J’ai donc décidé de laisser une chance à ce roman… et je n’ai pas regretté !

L’histoire : Trois jeunes amies new-yorkaises trentenaires connaissent tous les endroits branchés de Manhattan. Lors d’une soirée un peu arrosée, elles concluent un pacte — Chacune doit changer quelque chose dans sa vie. Adrianna, la Brésilienne femme fatale, décide de s’assagir et de chercher le mari idéal. Pourra-t-elle se contenter d’un seul homme ? Emmy, l’indécrottable romantique, vient de se faire lâchement plaquée par son petit ami de longue date. Elle décide alors d’adopter une autre approche de la vie et accepte (enfin !) le travail dont elle rêve et qui la fera voyager dans le monde entier. Elle peut ainsi profiter de sa liberté retrouvée et se lancer dans un Tour international de la Débauche sur les conseils de son amie Adrianna qui est encore consternée par le très faible nombre de conquêtes d’Emmy. Quant à Leigh, la working girl typique, tout semble lui réussir : un petit ami attentionné et canon, un job parfait dans une maison d’édition et un appartement de rêve. Mais sous cette apparence de perfection se cachent des fêlures et de profonds doutes.

Ce que j’en ai pensé : L’auteure nous plonge avec aisance dans le quotidien et les tracasseries de nos trois héroïnes qui ne manquent pas de nous rappeler les personnages de la série Sex in the City. Adrianna, Emmy et Leigh incarnent chacune un type de femme précis, sans pour autant tomber dans la caricature (trop) poussive. Elles ne restent jamais complètement figées dans leurs traits de caractère. Au fil des rebondissements, chacune va se découvrir de nouvelles facettes, de nouvelles forces et de nouvelles envies. Les trois héroïnes évoluent de manière crédible au rythme des péripéties tantôt drôles tantôt poignantes.

J’ai été agréablement surprise par ce roman, mais je reste dubitative quant au titre choisi pour la version française — je trouve qu’il ne rend pas justice au contenu du roman. Il donne une image légèrement trop réductrice à mon sens. On s’imagine une histoire borderline romance érotique, alors qu’il s’agit bien de chick-lit où les scènes d’amour sont généralement traitées avec plus de délicatesse et de subtilité. Je suis persuadée que je n’aurais pas hésité aussi longtemps à me plonger dedans si le titre avait été un peu plus subtil. Certes, le titre original « Chasing Harry Winston » (À la poursuite de Harry Winston) était trop mystérieux pour un public francophone (Harry Winston est un joaillier américain surnommé le roi des diamants), mais avec un peu d’imagination, tout est possible !

Cela me donne une idée de jeu interactif — Quel titre auriez-vous choisi pour ce roman ? N’hésitez pas à soumettre vos suggestions dans le champ réservé aux commentaires ou sur mes pages Facebook et Twitter.

Pour ma part, je partirais bien sur quelque chose dans le style « Croqueuse d’hommes et de diamants ».

Ma note : ♥ ♥ ♥