Limoncello Sparkler

Need a summer read?  One that you can take to the beach or poolside?  Or, do you just need something light and fun to start the summer?  Either way, It Takes a Villa, is it.  Kilby Blades’ latest is the next stop on the TLC Book Tour.   

Read on and enjoy.

About the book:

For the reasonable price of $1, Natalie Malone just bought herself an abandoned villa on the Amalfi Coast. With a detailed spreadsheet and an ancient key, she’s arrived in Italy ready to renovate―and only six months to do it. Which seemed reasonable until architect Pietro Indelicato began critically watching her every move…

From the sweeping ocean views to the scent of the lemon trees, there’s nothing Pietro loves more than his hometown. And after seeing too many botched jobs and garish design choices, he’s done watching from the sidelines. As far as he’s concerned, Natalie should quit before the project drains her entire bank account and her ridiculously sunny optimism.

With Natalie determined to move forward, the gorgeous architect reluctantly agrees to pitch in, giving her a real chance to succeed. But when the fine print on Natalie’s contract is brought to light, she might have no choice but to leave her dream, and Pietro, behind.

About the author:

Kilby Blades is a USA Today Bestselling author of Romance and Women’s Fiction. Her debut novel, Snapdragon, was a HOLT Medallion finalist, a Publisher’s Weekly BookLife Prize Semi-Finalist, and an IPPY Award medalist. Kilby was honored with an RSJ Emma Award for Best Debut Author in 2018, and has been lauded by critics for “easing feminism and equality into her novels” (IndieReader) and “writing characters who complement each other like a fine wine does a good meal” (Publisher’s Weekly).

During her fifteen year career as a digital marketing executive, she moonlighted as a journalist, freelanced as a food, wine and travel writer and lived it up as an entertainment columnist. She has lived in five countries, visited more than twenty-five, and spends part of her year in her happy place in the Andes Mountains.

Kilby is a feminist, an oenophile, a cinephile, a social-justice fighter, and above all else, a glutton for a good story.

(Also, Kilby Blades is not her real name.)

What I thought…

It’s been a while since I’ve read a bodice ripper, and while It Takes a Villa isn’t as racy as some in that genre, there are some steamy scenes.   The novel is not all about the sex though;  there’s more to it than that.  I thoroughly enjoyed rooting for Natalie as she begins a huge new journey in her life, one that she had planned for with her grandmother.   I also enjoyed the mystery around her grandmother’s time in Italy.

As always, however, I get a bit perturbed with the whole breakup scenario that is evident in every book in this genre.   I also (as some have mentioned in their reviews) found the last line of the book to just be odd and abrupt.

Yes, this is a light read.  Yes, it’s a romance.  Yes, it’s a bit predictable.  I still enjoyed it and would recommend, as I mentioned above, for summer reading.

The food (and drink):

It’s Italy and there’s a decent amount of food mentioned in the novel.  Since I was reading this book on the run (not to the beach but for work-related travel), I didn’t keep a running list of the food, but I did dog ear a lot of pages.

  • Caffè con panna
  • Delizia al limone (mini sponge cakes filled with lemon curd)
  • aqua pazza (poached fish with olive oil and tomatoes)
  • non tutte le cimabelle riescono col buco’ (‘not all douhgnuts come out with hole’) (112)
  • lemon crostata
  • lemon ricotta cake
  • gelato
  • zuccherini (wedding ring cookies)
  • fish with olive oil, white wine, lemon juice, tomatoes and salt
  • Spaghetti ala vongole (spaghetti with clams)
  • pasta al limone
  • limoncello
  • jellies, preserves, cured meats, and fairly traded yerba maté
  • sfogliatelle (This pastry is sometimes called a lobster tail in the U.S.)
  • lemon water

As you notice, there’s a lot of lemons featured in the food listed above.  Pietro grew up on an estate that produces fantastic lemons and limoncello.   I loved the tradition of leaving baskets of lemons to woo one’s love.  According to Alfonso (Peitro’s father):

The men of our family bringing lemons to the women they love. In our family, to bring a woman lemons is as good as a declaration. (352)

Pasta could have been my go to, but I had to highlight limoncello.   I have made my own when my in-laws had a huge harvest of Meyer lemons.  

I’ve used some of that limoncello to make jelly.

If you’re a devoted reader, you know I usually default to a cocktail.

Limoncello Sparkler


Light and refreshing. You can actually drink a few of these without remorse.


  • 1 slice lemon
  • 1 sprig mint
  • 1 oz. limoncello
  • Sparkling lemon flavored water (I used LaCroix LimonCello.)
  • ice


  1. Place lemon slice, mint and limoncello in a rocks glass. Muddle.
  2. Add ice and sparkling water. Stir. Garnish with more mint if desired. Serve.

Yield: 1

See what others thought about It Takes a Villa:

Instagram features:

Monday, May 23rd: @nsiabblog

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Tuesday, May 24th: @mamabeardteacher on TikTok

Tuesday, May 24th: @randi_reads

Wednesday, May 25th: @karendeeandabc

Wednesday, May 25th: @lovemybooks2020

Thursday, May 26th: @everlasting.charm

Friday, May 27th: @purrfectpages

Sunday, May 29th: IG: @shobizreads and TT: @shobizreads


Monday, May 30th: @jenniaahava

Tuesday, May 31st: IG: @welovebigbooksandwecannotlie and TT: @welovebigbooks

Wednesday, June 1st: @subakka.bookstuff

Thursday, June 2nd: @rozierreadsandwine

Thursday, June 2nd: Stranded in Chaos and @sarastrand9438

Friday, June 3rd: @that.bookmom

Friday, June 3rd: @temmathomas

Monday, June 6th: @booksnbikram

Monday, June 6th: @nurse_bookie

Tuesday, June 7th: Books & Bindings

Tuesday, June 7th: @bookedwithheather

Wednesday, June 8th: The Romance Dish

Wednesday, June 8th: Living My Best Book Life and @livingmybestbooklife

Thursday, June 9th: @kristens.reading.nook

Friday, June 10th: @readingwithremy

Friday, June 10th: Kahakai Kitchen

Monday, June 13th: Eliot’s Eats

Monday, June 13th: @readingforamoment

Tuesday, June 14th: @abookwormwithwine

Wednesday, June 15th: @thereadingchemist

Wednesday, June 15th: @moonlight_rendezvous

Thursday, June 16th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Thursday, June 16th: @jessbeyondthepages on TikTok

Friday, June 17th: Books Cooks Looks

I’m also linking up with June’s Foodies Reads.

6 comments to Limoncello Sparkler

  • Probably not my sort of book, but I’ll take the Sparkler! I’ve got lots of Limoncello made from our lemons, so perfect!

  • mae

    I love lemons in any form, whether sweet or savory. At the moment I’m contemplating just eating the rest of the lemon curd from the jar that’s open in the refrigerator. And if there is a partly squeezed lemon wedge left on my plate, I eat everything but the pith and rind. MMM lemons! Your Limoncello sounds wonderful.

    best… mae at

  • Another book to add to my summer reading list. Thanks! I’ll have to make this sparkler while reading it on the porch. 🙂

  • Your sparkler looks amazing! I need to restock my limoncello.
    I am glad it wasn’t just me with the abrupt ending! I felt like we were in mid-conversation and my ebook arc missed some pages.

  • Mmmm, lemon. I don’t think I’ve ever read a bodice ripper! Will probably skip the book, but definitely make the drink. Thanks!

  • i used to make limoncello every christmas but I stopped a few years back. I do love it tho.!