Month: August 2017

Review – The Good, The Bad and The Scandalous (Heart of a Hero Series #7) by Cora Lee

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WHAT IF YOUR favorite superheroes had Regency-era doppelgangers?
And what if a group of them were recruited by the Duke of Wellington to gather intelligence for him during the Napoleonic Wars while they protected their own parts of the realm?
You’d get The Heart of a Hero series.

Andrew Elliott, Earl of Hartland, is no stranger to scandal. A notorious rake and eccentric genius, he fights crime in armor of his own design and celebrates his achievements with the merriest of widows. What the ton doesn’t know is that Hart has received a warning: danger is heading for London and it’s looking for Sarah Shipton.

Sarah discovers the bookshop her mother owns is failing and they will have nothing to live on when the month is out. So when the Earl of Hartland offers for her, she agrees to the marriage. But marrying Hart throws Sarah from the frying pan of imminent poverty into the fire of a world filled with science and peril she never knew existed.

How will Sarah cope with the knowledge that someone wants her dead? Can Hart keep her safe from a person hell bent on her destruction

My View

The Good, The Bad and The Scandalous is book seven in this new and exciting Series; “The Heart of a Hero series” this series is made of up nine books that can be read as a standalone’s or as a series and it is written by nine fabulous authors. I fell in love with the series straight from day one when I got to read the initial prequel novella by Cora Lee “No Rest For The Wicked” and I was instantly drawn into the intriguing and sexy world that these (sometimes masked) heroes live in and I was instantly hooked by everything from the plot’s to the character’s and this one is great addition.

“I might know my way around a hammer and anvil.”

“I’m trying to picture you in a leather apron and heavy gloves, but it isn’t quite working.”

Andrew is an unusual man by day he is the notorious rake and eccentric charmer that woman want to bed and men want to be seen with, by night he don’s his suit of armour – which he designed and made himself – and goes out to apprehend those that are doing wrong, he finds them and hands them over to the authorities. Society are scandalized by his exploits but they are thrilled by them too, who knew that a handsome rake could be so selfless and brave.

But there is a side to him that nobody knows about, a side to him that no one in society can ever know about. He is also a part of a secret intelligence gathering ring founded by the Duke of Wellington himself, this ring has nine members all from different places in society, all with different backgrounds. They all help bring people to justice, people that in one way are another could threaten the very country that they are fighting to protect.

Andrew amongst other missives gets a message that book store owner Sarah Shipton is in grave danger, she has had a bounty put on her head by unknown assailants and in order to protect her he ends up causing a scandal which in turns forces his hand to marry her.

Sarah is in financial crisis, after the death of her mother she finds out that her mother has been hiding their financial situation from her. She learns that they are completely broke, the book shop where she has spent most of her childhood isn’t making the money they need, her dowry has been used to cover debts and they have nothing left. She is afraid that they are going to end up in the work house until one night at a ball she becomes embroiled in a scandal, where a knight in shining armour comes along to rescue her.

They make an agreement that can benefit both of them, for Sarah it’s not just financial protection but because of this bounty on her head she has got the ultimate protection from one of Wellingtons own. He will protect her from this unknown person who wants to harm her, and for Andrew he has got the very thing that he has never had, a family.

“You haven’t asked me a question, my lord.”He grinned.

“I haven’t, have I?”He took both her hands in his—their first skin-to-skin contact in their nearly ten-year acquaintance—and dropped to one knee.

“Sarah Shipton, will you make me the happiest of men and become my wife?” She arched an eyebrow.

“The happiest of men?”

“Too much? I’ve never proposed marriage to a lady before, so I wasn’t quite sure how to do it.”

“Too much for our situation, perhaps. But I appreciate the attempt at sentiment.”

At first they do what’s needed for both of them and as Andrew repeatedly says they “rub along well enough” but each of them realise that there is so much more to the person they have married, then what they originally thought. Sarah find him to be more than just a reprobate, a rake and a womanizer he is a kind hearted, eccentric genius with so much protective loyalty towards those that need his help. Andrew soon realises how much of a calm and intelligent woman she is and he finds her calming and she soothes his hectic mind and personality.

I do like Sarah and Andrew they are so much alike, they are like two peas in a pod. They are equally intelligent and their bantering is thought provoking and educating and highly enjoyable they seem to feed of each other. I particularly like how he doesn’t look down his nose at her, even though he is an aristocrat and she from working class stock he treats her as an equal and respects her for being an intelligent woman with her own mind.

“Save a life, get a kiss?” he grinned. “Can we make that a permanent agreement?”

“Yes,” she answered, leaning down again. “In fact, let’s make it two kisses.”

This time he was ready for her, and wrapped her in his arms when her lips met his.

I do really enjoy Lee’s work she brings her own individual charm and intelligence to the Historical Romance genre that is very rare, and this one is certainly no different. I love the whole concept of this series, favourite superheroes in the Regency era. It’s new and fresh and highly addictive to read and I have been hooked.

This is so highly recommended, if you like handsome, rakish regency heroes and you like a good super hero then you have to read this, in fact you have to read the entire series.

Just so good!

This was a ARC copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Good, The Bad and The Scandalous is out now and can be found at  Amazon

Heart of a Hero Series

No Rest for the Wicked by Cora Lee (prequel novella)
Only A Hero Will Do by Alanna Lucas
Once Bitten by Aileen Fish
Lightning Strikes Twice by Jillian Chantal
No Hiding for the Guilty by Vanessa Riley
The Marquis of Thunder by Susan Gee Heino
The Good, The Bad, And The Scandalous by Cora Lee
The Archer’s Paradox by Ally Broadfield
The Missing Duke by Heather King
The Mercenary Pirate by Katherine Bone

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Review – His Mistletoe Wager by Virginia Heath

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“Five berries equal the five separate kisses I challenge you to steal.”

Notorious rake Henry “Hal” Stuart, Earl of Redbridge, is certain he’ll win his Christmas bet— until he learns he’ll be stealing Lady Elizabeth Wilding’s kisses. A woman who refuses to be charmed! Once jilted, Lizzie must guard her heart, because the ton is unaware of her scandalous secret— her son!

Despite their increasing attraction, she can’t risk the persistent Hal bringing down her defenses. But when her former fiancé returns, Lizzie realizes that perhaps Hal’s the one man she can trust— with her heart and her son…

My View

This is my first Christmas book of the year and it is a doozy, and it can’t be kept just for Christmas “His Mistletoe Wager” should be read now and then again and again and then at Christmas and then again…

Be mine for ever, Lizzie. I have a sneaking suspicion I’m a little bit in love with you. Good grief!

Was he? How had that happened?

He needed to stop speaking. Clamp his wayward jaws shut.

“I can’t marry you.”

“Why not?”

“It would be totally wrong…”

Five years earlier Elizabeth (Lizzie) Wilding is waiting in the church for the love of her life, only to be horrible jilted by only to be told by a note hastely scribbled. She is broken this man was suppose to be her happy ever after, she had given him everything even her innocence only for him to jilt her. Leaving her facing scandal and censor, not only that but leaving her pregnant.

Now she is five years older she has sworn off men for the rest of her life, she has built a wall around her heart and no man will ever broach it again, the only man she wants in her life is her son; George. She has decided that now her son is getting older she is to leave her aristocratic life and move to Yorkshire in peace where her and her cute as button son, George can live without all the cloak and dagger, creeping around as what happens now. She has planned to live her life as a widow, which is entirely proper and also she knows that as a widow her son will be accepted. But unfortunately for lizzie her father has yet again decided that she needs to get herself back on the marriage market and it would be in her best interest to find a gent and get married.

To not only complicate things and make matters worse for her, she has caught the attention of the rakish and womanizing Henry Stuart, the new Earl of Redbridge, for whatever reason he has suddenly decided that she is exactly what he needs to get through this Christmas. He makes her a bargain that she cannot possibly pass up, but in dealing with the devil himself will she be able to fulfil her dream of living independently? Or will she succumb to his charms?

The initial meeting between her and Hal is really very funny, he forces himself in to her little bubble and she is just so irritated by him. She literally think of him as a pesky wasp that first needs swatting with a good old fashioned barbed, tongue lashing. When that doesn’t work she decided that the only way to make the wasp go away is to ignore it, which is highly amusing.

“I am in no mood to engage in polite conversation or anything else this evening.” She flicked her eyes back towards the dance floor and turned her body away from his, allowing the uncomfortable seconds to tick by.

Men were like wasps. If you ignored them, they eventually went away.

She heard the slight creaking protest of wood and realised he had eased his big body into the chair alongside . She gave him her best unwelcoming frown and curtest tone.

“I do not recall inviting you to sit.” This insect clearly needed swatting…..

Lizzie has been through the mill, the way her ex-fiancé treated her was awful and the scoundrel should be well and truly ashamed of himself, but instead he waltz’s back into society as though butter wouldn’t melt. He is nothing but an arrogant two faced, and too far up his own arse lout, who can also bring a lot of trouble down on her family. Not just her, but her father. Let me that say that her father did what any father would do in the circumstances, that his daughter was in, but now trouble is being brought down on his head for his actions.

I really like Lizzie, people from society may think of her as an ice queen and a boring old spinster who wouldn’t know fun if it danced naked in front of her, but that’s just a visage. That’s how she wants everyone to think her to be, that way she is protecting her damaged heart and her young son. She is a really good mother to him she tries her very utmost best for him, and her plan to move to the country to live as a widow is proof of far she will go to make sure her son gets the very best life. And to be perfectly honest, I can’t fault her for her plan to live in a secluded cottage in Yorkshire. The girl is on the money.

I like her father as well, the way he protects his daughter from the society vultures, he makes sure that after the jilting no scandal will tarnish Lizzie’s name. He even goes against the grain of the time by letting Lizzie keep her illegitimate son which was very rare as most unwed aristocratic women had their children taken away to hide the scandal. I applaud him for that and I highly applaud him for what he did, maybe not the best course of action but applaudable anyway.

Hal has got to the point in his life where he is bored of the rakish behaviour, he want’s something more to fill his days. Not just a quick tryst with a willing widow, he finds that since gaining the title he has found an whole new love of books and politics and how things are run.

He has spent his life going against the grain and flaunting his rakish ways for all and sundry to see but now that he has taken his rightful place in parliament he finds that he enjoys the debates. He is growing into the Earl we know deep down he is and, we as readers can see what he’s missing in his life and why he isn’t as bothered with bed hopping as he used to be. But as ever with our heroes it does take them a while to get to the conclusion that; Yes, he needs a woman! A good, strong woman who can put him in his place.

But I am jumping the gun ahead a little here, his brother-in-law the fabulous Aaron Wincanton sees how down in the dumps Hal is, so he sets him a wager. Hal has to steal five kisses from a woman – of Aaron’s choosing – in five different places before the end of the Christmas season. And another term to the wager; appropriately named “His Mistletoe Wager” is that Hal’s sister and Aarons’ wife; Connie does not find out about it!

Hal is appalled by the prospect of trying to woo five kisses out of “Sullen Lizzie” the most guarded, ice queen he has ever known. But the minute he speaks to her, he knows that there something about this woman. he sees how when he tries to speak with her she closes down she erects that brick wall and refuses anyone entry into her thoughts, he starts to see her as so much more than what she appears to be and the unveiling of this wonderful young woman to him is beautiful.

There is so many layer’s to this man, he is charming roguish and seeing as he is a big kid himself he is great with children, his two adorable nieces – who are just like the mother Connie and Georgie. He is the typical cheeky and fun uncle that everyone wants in the family.

“Where have you been!” Instantly, she clamped her silly jaws shut.

“Be still my beating heart. You sound astoundingly pleased to see me.” His words grated. 

I do love a Christmas story and this is such a sweet, festive tale that can be read at any time. For me Lizzie’s personal struggle and trials that she has to face and what she has gone through is the centre stone of the book, and that’s what Heath is particularly very good at. She brings the character’s alive and as always Heath transports you to another time and place with her charming and enigmatic writing, which is as ever spot on.

For me Aaron does steal the book, but that’s probably because I have a soft spot for him. I love what Heath’s done with him and his family it’s so good catching up with Connie and Aaron and seeing how well their doing and how they are still the super cute couple they were in the end of their book.

Over all Ms Heath has done it again, she had created a fun Christmassy and intriguing love story and one that I highly recommend.

This was a ARC Copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.

His Mistletoe Wager is released on 1st October and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

 

A Chat With…Author Interview With Regina Jeffers

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I have the great privilege of chatting with Award Winning author Regina Jeffers, so take a seat and lets lets get to know a little about Regina…

Regina Jeffers is an award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency, historical mysteries, and contemporary novels. She is a retired English teacher and an often sought after consultant for media literacy and language arts

Frankie Reviews : Hi Regina, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.  First, what five words would you use to describe yourself?

Regina : Independent, loyal, hardworking, practical, overly critical of self, intelligent (Oops! That is more than five words.)

Frankie Reviews : If you could live in any era and place, when and where would it be? And Why?

Regina : As I have published 30 books which feature the Regency era (1811-1820 England), most people would think that I would choose that period. In reality, as much as I love all things Regency, I doubt that I would want to time travel to the era of the Napoleonic Wars. I admit it: I have grown soft in my old age, for I enjoy air conditioning and indoor plumbing and modern medicine. I would wish for a bit more manners among the general populace and for the joy of a long walk or afternoon tea, but I am not willing to give up my modern conveniences unless Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is part of the equation. (sighs heavily in amusement)

Frankie Reviews : Very Interesting, Who was your childhood hero?

Regina : I grew up in the 1950s. We were not so keen on naming movie stars and singers and sports stars and the like as “heroes” in those days. I liked a few of the politicians and world leaders, but that was more from hearing my family speak of them. My personal hero was my mother. She was a single mother living in a time when women did not separate from their husbands. She had the courage to carve out a life where I was the first one of my family to attend college. I hold a B.A., M.A., and a Ph.D. We were never rich, but we survived chastisements and misunderstandings and society’s censor together. Above, one can note that the first word I chose to describe me was “independent.” I learned that quality and many more at my mother’s hand.

Frankie Reviews : What a wonderful hero to have! What is your favourite time of the year?

Regina : Autumn has always been my favourite time of the year. While others look upon the fall/autumn as a time that the earth is preparing for winter, I think of the season as a time to shed summer’s blazing sun while avoiding winter’s chill. It is the time for long walks, football games, leaves changing color, harvest celebrations, prayers of thanksgiving, and most importantly, my birthday. As George Eliot said, “Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird, I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns.”

Frankie Reviews : Out of all your work, who is your favourite character and why?

Regina : As my career started with a retelling of Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view, Fitzwilliam Darcy is my favourite character, but he is not MY creation. Back in 2011, I wrote The Phantom of Pemberley, a cozy mystery set at Darcy’s home. In that book, I gave life to one Adam Lawrence. Lawrence (Viscount Stafford) was the son and heir to the Earl of Greenwall, a rake, and a thoroughly charming man about town. Readers enjoyed him so much that they began to ask for more of the gentleman.

In his own words from a previous interview, Adam Lawrence explains, “I first appeared in Jeffers’s cozy mystery, The Phantom of Pemberley. In it, I begged shelter at Pemberley House during a raging snow storm. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Austen’s most famous hero, would have preferred to turn me away for I was traveling with my mistress, and Darcy wished not to expose his wife and sister to such a woman. However, as I am an intimate acquaintance of his cousin, Darcy relented. Later, he was glad of my attendance in what turned out to be an impromptu house party because I aided in his attempts in locating a killer at the grand manor.
“In other of Ms. Jeffers’s books, my role varies. I had a “walk through” role in A Touch of Velvet, greeting the Duke of Thornhill and Miss Velvet Aldridge at the infamous Vauxhall Gardens. In A Touch of Grace, I was the foil to Gabriel Crowden, the Marquis of Godown, for he and I often vied for the same women. I again came to the aid of the heroes of A Touch of Mercy, A Touch of Love, and A Touch of Honor by providing transportation, advice, and a bit of “pretense.” I attended the house party in His American Heartsong and persuaded Lawrence Lowery to seek out an American hoyden, Miss Arabella Tilney, as his lady love, as well as protecting the reputation of both Lowery and the lady. In Ms. Jeffers’s Austen-inspired novel, Mr. Darcy’s Bargain, I assist Darcy in capturing Mr. Wickham and foiling the authorities.

“My dear Ms. Jeffers has been kind enough to bring me from the shadows and into a starring role. I am greatly in her debt and that of her loyal readers who kept asking for me to have my own tale. His Irish Eve takes place some six years after I released my mistress to a return to her family after that debacle at Pemberley House. Little did I know at the time that Cathleen Donnel was with child. It was only after Cathleen’s cousin contacted my father for financial assistance that I learned of my ‘bastard.’ When I arrived to claim the child, I found not only a son, but also two daughters. As I am certain you readily suspect, they are triplets.

“This encounter brought me into the life of not only the children, but also their cousin, Miss Aoife Kennice, who assumed the children’s care when Cathleen passed. Miss Kennice is the type of woman to demand that a man be a better person. She rejected my flirtations, while enticing me to learn more of my responsibilities as the future Earl of Greenwall, a task I have avoided for years. Plainly, we were meant to be together for she is ‘Aoife,’ the Anglicized name for ‘Eve.’ I am very impressed when Ms. Jeffers adds these little details to a story, for Aoife and I are quite happy to be ‘Adam and Eve.’”

Frankie Reviews : Wow! Great answer and thank you for joining us Adam. Where does your inspiration for your books come from?

Regina : Inspiration to write comes from my need to express myself creatively. Despite that analytical mind I mentioned earlier, I possess a creative streak that is my passion. I have taught dance and danced on Broadway. I have performed in professional and community theatre. Writing is just the next phase in my life. I am one of those people who is rarely seen without a book in my hands. I read daily, as did my mother. I write the type of stories I wish to read—stories of people overcoming obstacles to know a bit of happiness in life.

As to writing historicals, I admit that I am a research geek. When I find some unique bit of history, I cannot wait to add it to my next story. Sometimes, the story develops around the history and sometimes the history simply embellishes the story, but the two are closely tied together.

Frankie Reviews : What three tips would you pass on to an aspiring author?

Regina : Trust your instincts, but do not fall in love with what you write. There is always a need for editing and revision. Listen to your Beta readers and your editors. Sometimes they see what you cannot. There is a time to stand your ground and a time to bow to others’ opinions.

Write daily, even it is only a few paragraphs. It is difficult to keep the flow of the story fresh in your mind if there are long gaps between your thought processes and putting pen to paper.

Keep some sort of “history of” the story as you write it. List character names, brief descriptions of the characters, places used within the story line, some sort of timeline that indicates the number of days that passed between event A and event B, etc., and perhaps a bulleted chapter summary. Readers despise when the character’s name in the early part of the book is “Edgar” and later he is “James.” This often happens with secondary characters. Remember they are important to the plot. Bulleted chapters help in locating a particular scene when you are in the midst of deep edits, and a timeline keeps the events plausible. I write historicals. It was not possible for a couple in the early 1800s to elope to Gretna Green in Scotland and be back in London within a week. A timeline would indicate that to an author.

Frankie Reviews : Thank you very much, those are seriously great tips. If you were hosting a dinner party what three people would you invite? (They can be real/fictional, from any era)

Regina : I have been asked this often, and my answer has not varied. I would invite Ernest Hemingway and the now-not-so-politically-correct General George Custer. Then I would ask Miss Jane Austen to join me in fending off the gentlemen’s opinions. I have always thought that both men were flawed and very complex personalities, for each could find poetry and romance and hope even in disaster. I believe Miss Austen would appreciate their tales and would not be “shocked” by them, for Austen’s letters reveal a sharp-witted and acid-tongued woman, who was discerning and sometimes critical and very worldly in many ways.

Moreover, Austen’s books were used in the fever chart that the War Office drew up to treat shell-shocked soldiers in World War I. Her works were considered therapeutic to those most seriously wounded and in need to be read to, mainly because even though one knows what will occur at the end of an Austen novel, she manages to keep the reader in suspense—a characteristic all three dinner mates share.

Frankie Reviews : I never knew that about Jane Austen’s work being used to help WW1 soldiers, thank you for those very interesting facts. Thank you, Regina for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today

I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun . . . What is your all-time favourite naughty but nice food?

Regina : Whether one pronounces the word as /pəˈkän/ orˈ/pēˌkan/, I am a Southern girl at heart. I would choose anything with pecans: Pecan Sandies, Toasted Pecan Turtle Clusters, Butter Pecan Cookies, Southern Pecan Butterballs, or Pecan pie. You name it, and I am all in.

Sounds good to me, Thank you Regina!

If you want to learn more about Regina and her work or connect with her, why not check out the links below.

Every Woman Dreams Blog / Website / Austen Authors / Facebook / Amazon / Twitter

News : Review Request’s Up-Date

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I am changing my “Review Request Policy” so this will affect who and what I review, I decided to write a post instead of just editing my “Review Policy” because I wanted to explain my reasons for the change to my reviewing policy.

I wanted to put the minds of those authors – that are on my books (so to speak) for reviews – to rest, and assure them that I am not giving up reviewing. I have just got to the stage in my reviewing life and my personal one where I need to make this change so that I can still review at the same high quality in which I review at now. If I don’t change my review policy it would mean letting authors down and that is something that I really don’t want to do.

New Reviewing Policy (This will be added to my Review Policy Page)

From now on I will only accept review requests if you fall into one of the following categories:

• I have previously reviewed your work before and enjoyed it (eg: I rated it a four or five stars on Goodreads).

• I have featured you on Chicks, Rogues and Scandals (eg; Author Interviews or guest posts).

• I am on your Reviewers Street Team. 

I have shown an interest in your work on social media.

This does mean that from now on until further notice I won’t be accepting new to me authors – unless I have shown an interest in your work – I am very sorry if this comes as a disappointment to anyone, but as I am about to explain it is just not possible to take on new authors that are not in the above categories.

I am sorry!

I am still happy to host guest posts, Spotlight and cover reveals and I am always on the lookout for authors to feature in my “A Chat With…” Author Interview Page. So, if you still want to feature on Chicks Rogues and Scandals just send me a message whether that be email, comment, Direct Messaging via Facebook or Twitter or even carrier pigeon, I will always reply.

So why have I made this decision?

For the last few months my life, both sides of my life – the reviewing one and my personal one – has been a whirl wind, there has been so much going on. I have got things going on in my family/personal life that I would rather not divulge on my blog, but let’s just say there has been trials and changes that I now need to do my reviewing around and not just alongside as I have always done. I hope that makes sense?

The way that Chicks Rogues and Scandals has gone from strength to strength is just astounding and I am so very humbled by all the support that I have had, and the very kind messages that I get on a daily basis. It is very touching to get messages from my followers who tell me that I have inspired them to read more, or that I have introduced them to new authors. That, for me is the ultimate compliment and one that I am very proud of. That is one of the reasons that I started blogging, not just to share my thoughts and opinions on books and various others topic that I tend to babble on about, but to get none readers to pick up a book, to introduce new authors to fellow readers and I am rather proud that I have accomplished those set out goals.

In the last nearly two years since Chicks Rogues and Scandals was born – two years in October! Wow, that has flown by. I have been so privileged to connect with the most amazing people that anyone could meet, a lot of those wonderful authors who have taken a chance on this amateur reviewer have become firm friends – I’m pretty sure you know who you are *cough* Unlaced Ladies 😉 and those fellow reviewers that I have met along the way have also become the some of the most important people in my life – I hope you six ladies know who you are (Carol, Rose, Shell, Alison, Gwessie and Amy).

Yet, as well as Chicks Rogues and Scandals has been going there is a bit of a cost to that bit of success and that has to be the amount of review requests that I get. Don’t get me wrong I love getting the messages and emails on a daily basis from authors and publishers asking for a review from me, I get a warm feeling deep down. But it has got to the point now where I am turning down reviews, I hate writing those messages or emails saying to an author that I can’t review their work. I always feel callous and rude to reject those requests, which is why I have written this post.

I hope this post has explained everything but if you have any questions then don’t be afraid to leave me a message, Thank you again for all the support and kindness that everyone has shown me. Now that I have put this new Reviewing Policy in place I no longer have to rush and get stressed when I’m late with a review, back to my chilled out of overly laid back approach.

Frankie x

New Review – Lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress (Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies Series Book 1) by Lara Temple

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Betrothed…to the wrong man!

Building a life away from her bullying family, schoolmistress Helen Tilney now needs to convince her childhood sweetheart she’s a worthy bride. Standing in her way is Lord Hunter—the man Nell has just discovered she’s betrothed to!

Hunter’s offer of marriage to Nell came out of guilt, and now seems less than appealing! So when she asks for his help to win another man, he agrees. Until their lessons in flirtation inspire a raging desire that has Hunter longing to keep Nell for himself…

My View

Firstly I must warn you that I will probably do a great deal of gushing throughout my review, but when you read something that is as superb as this, then I hope you will forgive me. This is book one in this new series; The Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies Series by the highly talented Lara Temple, and one that I have been looking forward to reading. But nothing prepared me for the huge emotion that surges through you as you read it.

I know that Lara has said that this series is her baby, this is a personal story for her and you can really understand as you are reading it just how much of herself she has put into this. I have always liked her work but this really resonates with me, this touched a cord with me more than any other book I have read before, you can feel Temple’s heart and soul running through this, it is very emotional and it packs a real punch and it stays with you long after the last page.

He must be freezing. She wrapped her cloak around his hands drawing them into hers. “You must be cold.”
“I am many things at the moment, cold is not one of them.”
“Sorry my hands are so rough.” She said…
“The hands of a queen are never soft. They aren’t passive. They take what they want. They are beautiful and elegant and strong. You can take what you want.”

Hunter, Raven and Stanton are three lords who have all been through their own personal trials and tribulations and have witnessed and suffered heartaches due to the wars. They are all wounded in some way or another (maybe not physically, but still wounded) and they have seen the effects of the war on ex-service men, so they create the Hope House. A safe refuge for those men that have been cast out and who have suffered and who are in terrible need.

The whole story of these three noble lords setting up Hope House for ex service men is so inspirational. Like now there was so many men that had come home from the war wounded in more ways than a civilian can imagine, they are cast out from the military and just as now the very people who these brave men fought for just don’t care anymore, they are left destitute and in a lot of cases they had lost the will to live and I love how that is the very focus and underlying story of this book.

When we first meet out couple they are both young and have both suffered greatly. Hunter having just lost his brother in horrific circumstances plough’s on with life, he doesn’t grieve for the brother he felt he let down. He just goes about his life making these big decisions that does end up with him owning two horses and another life changing decision that comes back to bite him.

He goes to the Tinley’s to discuss his water source from the river that join’s both their lands together, but in the process he finds a down beaten and bullied young girl who reminds him of his brother. He at first thinks her to be vibrant and free-spirited but he soon realises the horrible truth.

Nell is in a living hell. She is bullied, humiliated and ridiculed daily from everything from her being too tall, not pretty and lacking in everything that a man holds dear. Bell’s aunt Hester treats her niece like dirt off her boot, her father is no better he stands there and lets this happen to his seventeen year old a daughter. He should be protecting her and nurturing her and yet he stands back and allows this vile acid tongued women to have her way.

For me that is worse than the actually bullying, that makes him no better and he should be absolutely ashamed of himself.

Funnily enough when Nell is away from her so-called family she is a right little rocket, she is a spirited young woman. A skilled and confident rider and trainer, like Hunter she has got an extraordinary gift with horses, I would definitely say that she is some kind of Horse Whisperer, she and Hunter understand horses better than they do people.

She glanced over at Hunter. “Your team is just as evenly paced and perhaps having a little more staying power.” Hunter resisted the urge to smile, barely and some of his tension faded.
“e you placating me, by any chance? Precisely how old you think I am?”
“Ancient.” She replied.

Four years later, these two are reunited, after she finds out that all these years Lord Hunter and her father came to an agreement that solves Hunter’s water and drainage issues on his land and takes Nell off her father’s hands. They become engaged, only without Nell’s knowledge. Well obviously Nell is furious and she heads off to Lords Hunter’s to tell him in no uncertain terms that this engagement is to be broken off.

Hunter is shocked in the change of Nell the last time he saw her four years earlier she was a timid, bullied lass and now she is a vibrant no-nonsense woman who knows her own mind and he is instantly drawn to her.

Hunter is tormented by what happened to his brother, he blames himself not just for Tim’s suicide but Hunter thinks he should have stopped his baby brother joining the army. He thinks that if he did then Tim wouldn’t have been taken Prisoner. Obviously Hunter has got nothing to feel guilty about he did his absolute best for his brother but unfortunately you cannot help someone if they have lost themselves. It is absolutely heart-breaking you want to put your arms around Hunter and give him huge hug and tell him that it’s not his fault.

Temple has his agony absolutely spot on, she has portrayed the suffering that these brave men are going through with real tact and decency and with up most respect, and I absolutely applaud her for that. It is sensitive, but yet brutally honest and that is what I really love about it.

Now, I really like the other two in their trio; Stanton their Parliamentary Lord is the diplomatic one, he is quiet and brooding who doesn’t show his hand until he absolutely has to, he isn’t one to raise his voice but when he gets angry it is palpable. Raven has to be my absolute favourite so far, even though this is book one and we have just met the lads he has definitely caught my attention. I’m drawn to the black-haired charmer, he is a proper Rogue, but you sense that there is a real darker undercurrent to him.

“Ah, the sentimental of today’s youth…”
“ You can be as caustic as you like, Raven. Your one of the least sentimental people I have met.”
“I have my moments, luckily none of them involved an offer of matrimony.”

I cannot wait to read the rest of this series, if this first instalment is anything to go by we are in for something special, because this is flawless. I could read this over and over again and I would still laugh, cry and be shocked over and over. The romance is as ever beautifully written by Temple, but for me the real winner, the thing that sets this book apart from others is the undercurrent story, that is where the heart-breaking and emotional moments come from.

This is simply beautiful and perfect and I adore it.

I was so privileged to have received a very ARC copy from Lara in exchange for an honest review.

Lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress is to be released on 1st November and can be pre-ordered now at Amazon.

New Review – Mad For The Marquess by Jess Russell

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James Drake, Marquess of Devlin, had everything—until he was found covered in blood, standing over a dead girl. Now locked away in a madhouse, he has one short year to recover his memories and prove his sanity, or be condemned for life. But the demons inside Devlin’s head are far easier to battle than the evil surrounding him at Ballencrieff Asylum.

Anne Winton hardly expects to find her calling—or love—while working in a lunatic asylum. But despite all warnings, the “Mad Marquess” proves dangerously fascinating to innocent Anne. She vows to save him not only from his adversaries, but from himself.

Initially, Anne is only a pawn in Devlin’s bid to gain his freedom, until he begins to see her not just as a means to an end, but as a beautifully passionate woman. He must choose: compromise the woman he loves, or languish forever in hell.

My View

I had read an awfully lot of good things about this book, so I did go into reading it with a very high expectations of what it would be like, but what I thought it would be like was completely different to what I actually thought and felt about this book.

It is seriously good in every sense of the word, I do say this a lot but this is simply stunning, it is a heart wrenching and at times very disturbing but I couldn’t get enough of it.

James Drake, Lord Devlin after being discovered by the murdered body of a young girl was locked up n a lunatic asylum, where he has steadily got worse, his illness has got to stage where he is addicted to laudanum. He must prove his innocence or he will be forced to languish in the hell that he is in for the rest of his days, but how on earth can he do that when most of the time he doesn’t quite know who he is?

Even though he knows that he must clear his name and prove his innocence which is easier said then done as James finds even the simplest things in a life a struggle he is paranoid, lost in his own laudanum induced hazy hell where demons are controlling him and his very thought’s and because of the cruel treatments from the doctors it is all clearly sending him over the edge.

But yet as soon as he looks at Anne he is suddenly brought back to reality even for the briefest of moments, in that moment he looks into her eyes he is back to himself for a second.

Because of his harsh treatment by the hands of the so-called doctors he had trouble focusing and distinguishing between real and dream the one thing he knows for certain is that there is a beautiful woman, and for first time in years he feels human again.

“And I love you, my beautiful Owl.” His arms came around her surrounding her in his love. “I would have discovered this great epiphany much earlier had I been wiser.

The relationship between Anne and James is really quite special, yes they may have been forced to together by a lie of Anne’s, but it was a lie full of good intentions. Without her James would never get the chance to prove his innocence.

They are wary of one and other, they are both going into their relationship with some kind of childlike quality. She isn’t used to all that goes on between men and women, she is very sheltered and him having forgotten about the process either though illness or his brutal treatment and so to see them skirt around each other is charming, if at times so emotional and heart-breaking.

Anne has secrets of her own too which is why she is at the asylum working as a maid come assistant come dogs body, she doesn’t want anyone to know her past or anything about her life. She is a highly private person she does come across as a bit of a naive little girl at times, but she is strong, good woman who knows to get on with the job. She understand the concept of hard work and of loyalty and of respect to the resident’s. Which is why I think James is so drawn to her, he sees something in her that he hasn’t seen in anyone else. She doesn’t see a lunatic but a vulnerable, highly sexy man who has got a real gift, he is a real artist.

What did this beautiful madman seek? She closed her eyes to gather her own light, her powers of healing. Perhaps she might bring him comfort….

He frowned, cocking his head, his mouth now a soft smile, his eyes shimmering pools of silver. “You…”

I have never read anything like this before the whole concept of the plot is surprising and brilliant. The detailing of James illness and his so-called treatment is harrowing and so brutally honest, and it is those details that get to me eve time.

Russell has captured the brutal treatment of people who are in the asylum with respect and honesty, these poor people are ill which is no fault of their own and they are treated abysmally just because they have a metal illness. It is very shocking but things like this need to put out there to make people aware. James suffers and your heart breaks for him every time he gets some treatments his stress and anxiety is palpable.

Russell had created characters that you fall in love with and you urge them on through their own personal battles and tribulations. The two lead characters you genuinely care about, you go through so much with them as they go along their own paths.

James is a man who has suffered, and he is still suffering from, what we call PTSD which even now is a hard illness to have for anyone. In that era when no one understood he got treated like a criminal the thing that helped him was his paintings, but due to ignorance that one release was taken away from him and it sends him over the edge. I love how as soon as he sets eyes on Anne she calms him and helps him without doing anything the power she has over him just by being there is truly beautiful watch .

I really, really like this it is so different to the regular Historical Romance it is new and fresh and at times difficult but it’s cleverly written and Russell has treated the characters who are suffering from various mental illness with the utmost respect and dignity.

This is a terrific book and I cannot recommend enough. But I do warn you that you may need tissues because there is some high-octane emotion going on here.

This pure brilliance!

His was a complimentary copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.

Mad for the Marquess is out now and can be found at Amazon

Spotlight Post of Daughters of Ireland by Santa Montefiore

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I am very pleased to have been asked to host an Exclusive Spotlight on Best Selling  Author; Santa Montifiore and her newest release Daughters of Ireland, so sit back and enjoy.

About the Author

Santa Montefiore has written fourteen bestselling novels, which are translated into thirty languages. She is a fascinating person herself, as sister of Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, the former British Socialite, and personal friend of the Royal Family.

Santa grew up on a farm in Hampshire and was educated at Sherborne School for Girls. She read Spanish and Italian at Exeter University and spent much of the 90s in Buenos Aires, where her mother grew up. She converted to Judaism in 1998 and married historian Simon Sebag Montefiore in the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London. They live with their two children, Lily and Sasha in London.

With my novels, I hope to carry you away to sunnier shores, while at the same time remind you of all that is wonderful about England. Above all, they are love stories, because love is more important to me than anything else. I hope you laugh and cry in equal measure, but most vitally, escape for a while. Santa x

You can find it more about Santa by following the links

Website | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads

About the Book

In Ireland 1925, the Anglo-Irish war is long over, but life will never be the same. Castle Deverill has been home to the Deverill family in West Cork for hundreds of years, until it fell prey to a devastating attack during the war. Young Celia (Deverill) Mayberry and her husband bought the estate, determined to restore it to its former glory. But not everyone is elated. Although Kitty is grateful to her cousin for ensuring the castle will remain in the family, she cannot help but be wistful for the days when she was the mistress of Castle Deverill. While she is content in her new life, her heart still yearns for Jack O’Leary. As Kitty struggles with her choices, she must make a heartbreaking decision that could hurt those closest to her.

Wealthy and the toast of the town in New York City, Bridie Doyle has come a long way since she was the daughter of one of the cooks at Castle Deverill. But all her money cannot ease the pain over having given away her baby or from seeking revenge upon the woman who wronged her all those years ago.

As Celia wastes no time, or expense, in hiring workers to renovate Castle Deverill, dark shadows are gathering once more, as the financial markets begin to shake. Now everything that felt so certain is cast into doubt as this daughter of Ireland must find the inner strength to build a new future.

Exclusive Excerpt

At last the castle came into view. The western tower where her grandmother had set up residence until her death was intact but the rest of it resembled the bones of a great beast gradually decaying into the forest. Ivy and bindweed pulled on the remaining walls, crept in through the empty windows and endeavored to claim every last stone. And yet, for Kitty, the castle still held a mesmeric allure.

She trotted across the ground that had once been the croquet lawn but was now covered in long grasses and weeds. She dismounted and led her horse around to the front, where her cousin was waiting for her beside a shiny black car. Celia Mayberry stood alone, dressed in an elegant cloche hat beneath which her blond hair was tied into a neat chignon, and a long black coat that almost reached the ground. When she saw Kitty her face broke into a wide, excited smile.

“Oh my darling Kitty!” she gushed, striding up and throwing her arms around her. She smelled strongly of tuberose and money and Kitty embraced her fiercely.

“This is a lovely surprise,” Kitty exclaimed truthfully, for Celia loved Castle Deverill almost as much as she did, having spent every summer of her childhood there with the rest of the “London Deverills,” as their English cousins had been known. Kitty felt the need to cling to her with the same ferocity with which she clung to her memories, for Celia was one of the few people in her life who hadn’t changed, and as she grew older and further away from the past, Kitty felt ever more grateful for that. “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming? You could have stayed with us.”

“I wanted to surprise you,” said Celia, who looked like a child about to burst with a secret.

“Well, you certainly did that.” Kitty looked up at the facade. “It’s like a ghost, isn’t it? A ghost of our childhood.”

“But it will be rebuilt,” said Celia firmly.

Kitty looked anxiously at her cousin. “Do you know who bought it? I’m not sure I can bear to know.”

Celia laughed. “Me!” she exclaimed. “I have bought it. Isn’t that wonderful? I’m going to bring back the ghosts of the past and you and I can relive the glorious moments all over again through our children.

“You, Celia?” Kitty gasped in astonishment. “You bought Castle Deverill?”
“Well, technically Archie bought it. What a generous husband he is!” She beamed with happiness. “Isn’t it a riot, Kitty? Well, I’m a Deverill too! I have just as much right as anyone else in the family. Say you’re happy, do!”

“Of course I’m happy. I’m relieved it’s you and not a stranger, but I admit I’m a little jealous too,” Kitty said sheepishly.

Celia flung her arms around her cousin again. “Please don’t hate me. I did it for us. For the family. The castle couldn’t possibly go to a stranger. It would be like giving away one’s own child. I couldn’t bear to think of someone else building over our memories. This way we can all enjoy it

You can continue to live in the White House, Uncle Bertie in the Hunting Lodge if he so wishes and we can all be terribly happy again. After everything we’ve suffered we deserve to find happiness, don’t you think?”

Kitty laughed affectionately at her cousin’s fondness of the dramatic. “You’re so right, Celia. It will be wonderful to see the castle brought back to life and by a Deverill no less. It’s the way it should be. I only wish it were me.”

Celia put a gloved hand on her stomach. “I’m going to have a baby, Kitty,” she announced, smiling.

“Goodness, Celia, how many more surprises have you in store for me?”
“Just that and the castle. How about you? Do hurry up. I pray we are both blessed with girls so that they can grow up here at Castle Deverill just like we did.” And Kitty realized then that Celia had placed herself here within these castle walls for more than merely the annual month of August.

She was one of those shallow people who rewrote their own history and believed in the absolute truth of their version. “Come on,” Celia continued, taking Kitty’s hand and pulling her through the doorframe into the space where once the great hall had been. “Let’s explore. I have grand plans, you know. I want it to be just the same as it was when we were girls, but better. Do you remember the last Summer Ball? Wasn’t it marvelous?”

Kitty and Celia waded through the weeds that grew up to their knees, marveling at the small trees that had seeded themselves among the thistles and thorns and stretched their spindly branches toward the light

The ground was soft against their boots as they moved from room to room, disturbing the odd rook and magpie that flew indignantly into the air. Celia chattered on, reliving the past in colorful anecdotes and fond reminiscences, while Kitty was unable to stop the desolation of her ruined home falling upon her like a heavy black veil. With a leaden heart she remembered her grandfather Hubert, killed in the fire, and her grandmother Adeline who had died alone in the western tower only a month ago

She thought of Bridie’s brother, Michael Doyle, who had set the castle ablaze, and her own foolish thirst for recrimination, which had only led to her shame in his farmhouse where no one had heard her cries. Her thoughts drifted to her lover, Jack O’Leary, and their meeting at the wall where he had held her tightly and begged her to flee with him to America, then later, on the station platform, when he had been arrested and dragged away. Her head began to spin

Her heart contracted with fear as the monsters of the past were roused from sleep.

Full book list can be found on Santa’s website, link above.

*The Excerpt, Author Photo and Cover were provided by Publisher Harper Collins for exclusive use by Chick’s Rogue’s and Scandal’s Blog for this post.