Month: December 2017

Review – The Earl Claims His Comfort by Regina Jeffers

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Hurrying home to Tegen Castle from the Continent to assume guardianship of a child not his, but one who holds his countenance, Levison Davids, Earl of Remmington, is shot on the road and left to die.

The incident has Remmington chasing after a man who remains one step ahead and who claims a distinct similarity—a man who wishes to replace Remmington as the rightful earl. Rem must solve the mystery of how Frederick Troutman’s life parallels his while protecting his title, the child, and the woman he loves.

Comfort Neville has escorted Deirdre Kavanaugh from Ireland to England, in hopes that the Earl of Remmington will prove a better guardian for the girl than did the child’s father. When she discovers the earl’s body upon road backing the castle, it is she who nurses him to health. As the daughter of a minor son of an Irish baron, Comfort is impossibly removed from the earl’s sphere, but the man claims her affections. She will do anything for him, including confronting his enemies. When she is kidnapped as part of a plot for revenge against the earl, she must protect Rem’s life, while guarding her heart.

This is book two in ‘The Twins Trilogy’ we have picked up where we left off in the previous ‘Angel Comes to the Devils Keep’ this time we are focusing on Remmington – who I have to say I have been really looking forward to reading his story since we first met this intriguing man in the previous and I have to say that Ms Jeffers has not disappoint where it comes to this man and this story. This is such a fabulous story, it isn’t just your stereotypical historical romance this is something else it has so many twists and turns, assignation attempts, identity theft and the mystery of why Rem is now the guardian of a little girl that has nothing to do with him and, yet she looks like him – why is that? And what on earth is going on with this elusive Frederick Troutman?

While on an assignment as an agent to the crown, Levison Davids; Earl of Remmington – otherwise known as Rem, gets a summons from home that he is to return as soon as possible, he is needed to take guardianship of a little girl that her mother has claimed is Rem’s but who isn’t. Rem as always is driven by duty, he isn’t the sort of man to shirk his responsibilities – even though the child isn’t his he knows that he can give her a far better home than that of her worthless and harsh step-father, so he goes back, it is while making his way to his ancestral Yorkshire home he is suddenly attacked and left for dead. The following day Rem is found semi-conscious by the most mesmerizing woman he has ever seen in his life, hair life a fiery red halo with the most alluring Irish accent he has heard that in that one moment when she is arguing with him and calling him some rather interesting names he falls for this antagonising and nymph like woman.

For a long moment Comfort wondered what it would be to skim her hands over the man’s roughened body. She had never known a man’s flirtations. Nor had she ever felt a man’s kiss or experienced any sort of intimacy beyond a dance or a walk, but she expected that she could enjoy touching Lord Remmington…..

Rem is a complex man, he harbours this idea that his family is cursed, that all males in his family are doomed and so he does start thinking why bother even fighting what is evidently going to happen, so he dives into his role as a secret agent, he spends years away on one assignment after the other and there is a moment in the book when Rem reflects on that and does regret his choice to basically run away when things get hard.

But he is very loyal, and duty bound he never shirks that duty, Rem is a good man, he is exceedingly stubborn and has the blackest, foul-mouthed temper you have ever seen – which for an Earl is very funny. On the other hand, he is very caring and loving, he has got the gentlest heart when able to show his true feeling’s – which he only does with Comfort, as the story moves along through one drama to the next we see how he takes comfort in just the thought of her and those moment are sparse but very precious for him.

Comfort Neville is caring for little Deirdre until the child’s guardian; Lord Remmington turns up, Comfort has it all planned out, she was going to assess to see if this Lord Remmington was going to do the right thing by young Deirdre, and if he proves to be trustworthy Comfort plans to go and live with her cousin. After finding him near death and nursing him and his bad temper back to health again she isn’t quite sure if this man is the right guardian for her precious ward; Deirdre. Yes, he maybe gentlemanly with some of the best connections in the country with the most tantalizing grey eyes and stunning rare smile but he is a bad-tempered oath with a certain darkness about him that draws her to him like a moth to a flame.

While Rem is reluctantly resting his handler Sir Alexander Chandler and best friend Huntington Mclaughlin; Marquess of Malvern start their investigation as to what happened to Rem but what they uncover is extremely unexpected and disturbing, the attempt on Rem’s life is just the tip of the ice berk in the mystery that soon arises its head. They find out that there is an imposter who is interestingly reported to be the mirror image of the real Earl, is gallivanting around the country as though he were the Earl of Remmington himself.

“…As I am the daughter of a minor son of an Irish baron, perhaps you fear I mean to poison your English hide. That must be it! My desire to cut you open and cleanse you of the blood and pus and mud is a plot! A plot,” she said in a thick Gaelic accent, “to be rid of the English, one thick-headed pig at a time….”

Frederick Troutman; the imposter they soon find out from their investigation is a dangerous and unhinged man who for reasons only known to himself is merrily living Rems life, he is causing trouble for Rem whenever he goes from arranging marriages and setting up mistresses to infiltrating his own home. While Rem and Malvern look deeper into this Troutman’s history and try to figure out why Troutman would want to do this to Rem, what motive has he got that he would want Rem dead? At Rem’s home a murder within Rem’s household turns their investigation on it’s head all over again and now it is a matter of time to solve this mystery as it becomes clear that this Troutman needs to be found before something else happens – or he decides to take his duplicity to another level, one that very would get him killed by Rem’s own hands.

With Rem investigating the spiders web of a mysteries, Comfort is now at her cousin; Isolde home she is helping around the house while waiting for the birth of Isolde’s little one but all the while all she can think off day and night is Remmington. Even though she knows that he must marry one day but he will never marry her – he won’t be able to marry her, she is an Irish catholic with a wild temper and idea’s that really have no place in her head.

Rem’s embrace tightened about her, edging Miss Neville closer. Her heat warmed his body from chin to abdomen. The rightness of her in his arms nearly knocked his defenses off kilter. His emotions screamed with disorientation.

Again, this is another thoroughly enjoyable read, Rem is everything that I love in a hero, brutishly handsome with a sensitive soul just waiting for the right woman to come along. The story is fast, thrilling and intriguing there are twists and turns which at times makes you stop and think ‘what just happened?’ The only thing I do have to say against it, is Comfort didn’t feature as much as I would have liked her to, she and Rem are such a cute couple and I would have liked a little bit more of the two of them together apart from that I found this to be another winner and it leaves you with such a good feeling and it is very much recommended.

This was a complimentary coy via the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Earl takes his Comfort can be purchased at Amazon.

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Chicks, Rogues and Scandals Best Books of The Year, 2017

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It’s that time of year again where I look back through the year and pick out my favourite books that I have featured on Chicks, Rogues and Scandals, it has been especially hard this time to pick my favourite’s as this year has been full of the most amazing books you can imagine. I have found new author’s that are now go to authors for their genre, new style books and series’ it has been an amazing year of reading. I have ditched my usual formula of best Hero/Heroine/Plot but I have still got a book of the Year – right at the bottom of the post. There are others books that I have loved this year, but if I kept adding books it would end up being my top 50 – I have already added more then I intended, as I only intended on doing my top ten, but there were some books that I couldn’t possibly leave off.  So, in no particular order here are my favourite Books of 2017 followed by my Book of the Year!

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14 Best Books of the Year; 2017

Echo in the Wind by Regan Walker

Echo in the Wind is a beautifully written story, its thrilling and exciting but yet the love story is so tender. Jeán Donèt really steals every scene he is featured in. He is a hero who can make any woman swoon with just a smouldering look, he is an enigmatic and suave individual who has a breath-taking Gaelic confidence and charisma. A heroine, who is not a wilting wallflower she is a vibrant and strong-willed, independent woman who has her own beliefs and views on the world and she isn’t afraid of voicing them. Together these two are a force to be reckoned with, but they compliment each other too. There isn’t anything about this that I don’t like!

The Viking Warriors Bride by Harper St George

This is so sexually charged, the chemistry between Vidar and Gwendolyn is red hot, any hotter and your eyes would smoke with just reading it, they are made of the same stuff. I love when they start getting to know each other, there is a real spark between them and the respect he shows her is sweet and uplifting. As always the writing is strong and articulated as we have come to expect from St. George. When I read an historical I like the historic detailing within the story and St George doesn’t disappoint, she has got it all spot on, everything is crystalized and explained to a high degree from the smells of our characters to the actual Viking marriage ceremony – which I found absolutely enchanting, the trading of the swords is a beautiful ritual.

Angel Comes to the Devils Keep by Regina Jeffers

This is highly enjoyable read, the romance between Angelica and Hunt simmers and sizzles nicely, Ms Jeffers has done a lovely job at building up their relationship from when Hunt gets injured right to the end, you never know in which direction their story is going to take as there is so much that stands in their way. Yet, that connection that they share, that Hunt has especially, is tender and loving and at times you are just as agonised as he is. I really like how Jeffers has mixes a romance novel with a murder, kidnapping an espionage thriller, I found it exciting, romantic and one that I highly recommend.

The Unexpected Countess by Laurie Benson

This is great read, there is the perfect amount of romance and adventure with a huge, fabulous twist that is so unexpected. The Unexpected Countess is a huge success, a thrilling jaunt with an original plot. It is just so good! Benson has really out done herself with Hart and Sarah she has done such a great job with them, especially Hart who is a seriously great man to get to know I like Benson’s work her fun and charming personality just oozes off the page. But what I particularly like about her writing is that you get a real feeling of a writer who loves what she does, she puts her heart and soul into her work, her warmth is so palpable, her work is comforting as well as thrilling which I find so rare.

The Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews

Now I loved this book, I do love my heroes to be trouble and vulnerable and wanting a strong women to help them back to happiness and this is just that, this is truly breath-taking and I loved every single moment of it, the plot is gorgeously written. The simplicity of the story is what gives it real back bone, there isn’t twists turns at every corner so you lose track of the initial story. The Lost Letter is a beautiful, romantic and emotionally shattering, as the writing is so well-defined that you feel every emotion and I just love it to bits. For me this is one of those books that you keep on the bookshelf for ever, you will read and re-read it and you will never tire of Sylvia and Sebastian’s love story.

Besieged and Betrothed by Jenni Fletcher

What a terrific read, I will apologise for the amount of gushing I will most likely be doing about this book, but I have so much to say about it. Jenni Fletcher has real out done herself with this, it is such a compelling and highly charged romance that grips you from that very first page where our bulking, tank of a hero spots the fiery haired, tomboy on the battlements. I was literally hooked, and I was eager to finish and yet when I did turn the last page it was a sobering moment as that was it, done. I could’ve read this again as soon as I had finished. It’s fun, witty and at times heart-breaking, and fabulously engrossing. I just love it.

The Lions Embrace by Marie Laval

The Lions Embrace follows on from Angel Heart in the last book we met Marie-Ange and Hugo Saintclair who are the parents of our hero in this one; Lucas Saintclair and oh, my word what a man! He is simply delectable! Lava’s talent at entwining history of area and the cultures and languages, with a thrilling game of cat and mouse plus the tantalizing love story is faultless. She sprinkles The Lions Embrace with her customary Gaelic charm and she enhances your reading with detailing the sights, aromas and culture of each area we visit during the book and it enhances the reading experience. You become transported to this hot, dusty and dangerous place and it is utterly exhilarating.

 The Knights Scarred Maiden by Nicole Locke

I love this, this is absolutely superb! It sticks with you and gets under your skin, but in a very good way you become absorbed in their dark and dangerous world. I have read Historical Romances​ that has stuck with me long after finishing the book, but this is right up there with some of the best books I have read. It’s beautiful, heart wrenching and you get tingles while reading it. I do genuinely love this book, the plot is fast, complex and thrilling. Rhain and Helissent take you on this sensual, nerve wrecking journey as they find their feet and try to survive and move on with their lives.

The Last Gamble by Anabelle Bryant

This is the third instalment of “The Bastards of London Series” and I do think this is the best one yet. I have been really looking forward to reading this one, after meeting the dark and shadowy Luke Reece in the previous book’s he intrigued me. I wanted to know his story, his past and what in the hell his happening with his lost son and Bryant doesn’t disappoint. This series caught my attention from day one and it’s gone from strength to strength, Bryant has yet again created an entertaining, thrilling and sensuously attractive story. The thing that does set this one apart from the others has to be Luke, we have had snippets of this shadowy man’s turmoil in the previous two books “The Den of Iniquity” and “Into The Hall of Vice” and to finally get to see his story unfold and see his Happy Ever After is very satisfying

No Rest for the Wicked by Cora Lee

No Rest For The Wicked is apart of the “Heart of a Hero” series and it is a series I am looking forward to reading more of. The chemistry between out estranged couple is heated, the tension just ripples as well as the distrust for each other. This is fast, fun and exciting a fabulous read. I do really like this, it is smart, sexy and so well written but the more than that it makes you think. It is really lovely watching as these two get to know each other all over again and as their defences lower and they get closer and closer. They are both very reluctant to reveal their hearts, so it’s quite sweet when they finally do.

lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress by Lara Temple

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 Temple 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.

The Crown Spire by Catherine Curzon & Willow Winsham

On first meeting their highway men our ladies fall for their irresistable and roguish charm in a heartbeat, not unsurprising really! They are saved and taken to an inn where they meet the cheeky, charming Innkeeper Ed Hogan and the shy, gentlemanly Doctor James Dillingham. There is something irresistable and provoking about these two handsome Scotsmen, not to mention something very familiar, could it be that Alice and Beth may have met these two rogues before? I love this, the chemistry between both our couples is rich and sensual and very sexy, like all Historical Romance fan’s I do particularly like a good rogue and The Crown spire doesn’t disappoint, in fact we are spoilt as there are two highway men to get to know and adore. It’s going into the super market and getting a two for one deal. Curzon and Winsham have created two strong and charming heroes, that you are bound to fall for.

A Warriner to Rescue Her by Virginia Heath

Move over Heathcliffe there is a new gruff, monosyllabic, tormented hero in town in the form of Captain Jamie Warriner. Oh my word! I was warned I would love him and he has more than lived up to the hype, he really is something special. He is a proud man who after serving his country with courage facing down more horrors than any man should face he is back and he is in pain, not just physically but he is trying adjust to civilian life but like a lot of soldiers today poor Jamie is struggling. I was drawn to him the moment I met him in the previous book “A Warriner to Protect her” there is just something about this gruff but hugely sensitive man, that draws you in. Yes, he may be as stubborn as an OX – as well as built like one – but he has a good and kind heart, who needs a little love.
Proof of Virtue by Leila Snow

Ms Snow is was a new to me author and I can say this is simply stunning, there is pure and honest anguish which oozes of the page, It’s raw and immensely real to the era and really shows what life in the Victorian era was like for regular, working-class people. It’s so realistic, it’s like you are in the work house and mill alongside Emma, and you are experiencing her turmoil and suffering. It is gloriously detailed and graphic, some may think that for a historical romance it is too graphic of their suffering, but for me that is what makes an historical. This is how they should be, it has real meat on the bone. I can absolutely say for certain that Ms Snow is going to go very far in this genre, her way with language and fact is mesmerizing. If you’re like me and you like grittier, brutally honest and very real historical where the romance is hard fought for genuinely deserved, than this is the book for you.

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So Chicks, Rogues and Scandals all time Book of the Year, 2017 is…

The Captains Disgraced Lady by Catherine Tinley

Tinley has captured the mixed emotions of Waterloo war is mesmerizing. You feel the sadness and despondency of the men and the civilians. Those chapters that cover the battle are superb, the detailing of what was going on and how everyone was coping and the actual battle scenes where Harry is in hand to hand combat is brutal and engrossing. This is atmospheric and so beautifully written and from reading this, I do think Tinley has a gift for capturing those little nuances in human thought and feeling and placing on the page. I had been looking forward to this story and it was so much more than I expected, you’ve probably guessed by my gushing how much I love this book and that I cannot recommend this enough, this is a must read! If you like your charming yet fragile heroes, feisty independent heroines all brought together with a stonking good plot and tied off with some beautiful romantic scenes and moments then this is the book for you.

So there you have my favourite books of 2017, have you read any of them and if so what you think? I’d love to know what your favourite’s have been from the past year.

Review – The Viscount and The Vicars Daughter; A Victorian Romance by Mimi Mattnews

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England, 1861. A world-weary rake and a prim vicar’s daughter are thrown together during a holiday house party. Will they discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?

A WORLD-WEARY RAKE
After years of unbridled debauchery, Tristan Sinclair, Viscount St. Ashton has hit proverbial rock bottom. Seeking to escape his melancholy, he takes refuge at one of Victorian society’s most notorious house parties. As the Christmas season approaches, he prepares to settle in for a month of heavy drinking…until an unexpected encounter changes his plans—and threatens his heart.

A PRIM VICAR’S DAUGHTER
Valentine March is not the drab little spinster she appears to be. When her new job as a lady’s companion lands her smack in the middle of Yorkshire with England’s most infamous rake, she resolves to keep her head down and her eyes fixed firmly on her future—a future which most definitely does not include a sinfully handsome viscount.

A MATCH MADE IN SCANDAL
A friendship is impossible. An affair out of the question. But when one reckless act binds them together, will two star-crossed souls discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?


Let me start by saying what an unbelievably great book, it is rich and emotional and for me definitely what I have now come to expect from Ms Matthews. The Viscount and the Vicars daughter is very different from other historical romances it does go along the lines of marriage of convenience but the difference if that Tristan genuinely does love Valentine very much, and he wants to do what is right by her – after what happened, even with so much going against them not just society and his father and his lack of funds after his after cuts him off but also his black reputation. To see his transformation from the cynical and harsh rake to the loving and protective man right before your eyes is refreshing and appealing and hugely enjoyable.

The story opens as Tristan Sinclair; Viscount St Ashton is making his way to the Fairbanks house party, which is a notoriously scandalous event that only the blackest of reputations from society attend. He isn’t attending because he want’s to, he’s there because he has been summoned by his father; the Earl of Lynden who figures this is the best chance to have ‘the chat’ with his wayward son and heir. Tristan cannot think of any thing worse than having to listen to his father lectures about him settling down and stopping his rakish behaviour, or maybe his sire will do what he is always threatening and cut him off? Anyway, while trying to waste time before he must face his father’s wrath he stumbles across a woman in the woods, a chance meeting that will change his life forever.

“….But kissing you…” His expression warmed. “Valentine, I wanted to kiss you in the folly— when I was wet, irritable, and cold sober.” He paused. “I want to kiss you now.”

After the death of her father, vicars daughter Valentine March has had no choice but to go into service she is the companion of the most selfish and manipulative women ever, really tis woman and her daughter are horrendous they are so selfish and vain that they have their staff especially the woman dress in the same uniform of spectacles and black sack of a dress just so that they don’t over shadow precious felicity – really that would be the end of the world – she is upset after spoilt Felicity Brightwell has more or less destroyed the only thing she had of her late mother, the nasty little madam in a fit of temper had burnt Valentines’ mothers bible. It is while in the woods at her lowest that she meets the most handsome man that she has ever met – a meeting that will stay with her for the rest of her life.

From that one chance meeting in the woods both their lives turn up-side-down forever, as on the first night of the house party Tristan is told in no uncertain terms that is has to either do his duty and move to their ancestral estate in Northumberland or he be cut off starting with immediate effect and Valentine goes back to her job as companion/slave to Lady Brightwell, but both have of them have been affected by their chance meeting. Valentine as much as she distrusts the rakish and sinful Tristan she cannot get the sinner out of her mind, for a few moment’s he wasn’t the scoundrel that everyone thought his to be but he was kind and caring and so different to what she expected the Lord of St. Ashton to be. Tristen has met his fair share of women and every one of them have fallen to their knees at his charm, and yet the prim and virtuous Valentine March is so different she isn’t at all what usually takes his attention yet all he can do is think about her. For the first time in his life he is concerned for someone else bar himself, his protective instincts are on high alert whenever she is around, especially being at this scandalous and debaucherously sinful party.

“You’re slipping away from me. I can see it. I can feel it happening, but I don’t know how in the devil I’m supposed to stop it.”
“I’m not slipping away from anyone. I’m right here.”

Tristan can’t seem to help himself, but he wants to help her, when he returns some items to her that she left in the woods after they had met, they share a moment which turns into something more only for them to be discovered by the whole house. Valentine is dismissed from her post as companion and Tristan knows that there is only one way for this scandal to disappear – him and Valentine must marry!

Let us just say that valentine is shocked by this turn of events, after her own nearly scandalous episode in her past she has become weary and cynical of all men – especially those silver-tongued charmer’s such as the Viscount, but this one moment of pure joy has been her downfall and if she doesn’t accept his proposal she may become destitute. Tristan even though he had no intention of marrying yet again can not explain his addiction to this woman, she sets him on fire whenever she is close. He finds that in that moment when they are both backed into a corner he can’t think of anything better than marrying her, he wants her, and Tristan will do anything in his power to have her.

Everyone, which is including Tristan’s father; the Earl is adamant that Valentine will be ruined because Tristan is the worst rake ever, he is known to never keep his promises and that he is too wild to ever settle down – especially with the likes of a lowly vicar’s daughter with a secretive past. The moment that they become engaged you are willing them on, you are wanting them to finally find the happiness that they both deserve. I felt so very sorry for Tristan because of his wild youth he has been stuck with this label that he can’t seem to ditch. I really do like Tristan, he is a powerful force, not just the fact that he is a Viscount that has nothing to do with it, he is charismatic, dynamic with a very well hidden and very rarely seen good heart and any woman that he sets those genuine smiles on are exceedingly privileged because they are rare and beautiful.

“I’ve put my faith in you, sir. And I have precious little faith left to spare. Don’t you dare let me down, Tristan. Don’t you dare break my heart.” Tristan stared down at her, stunned.
“Do I have your heart, Valentine?” Her mouth trembled.
“I’m very much afraid that you do.

The relationship between Valentine and Tristan is honest and pure, he never lies or misuses her, he is kind, unlike his reputation he acts like the true gentleman around her something which has very rarely happened to Valentine. She has never been treated as though she is special or like a proper lady before in her life, in all honesty when her mother died her father the vicar was very harsh with his grieving daughter and so she hasn’t experienced true kindness so obviously she is suspicious of Tristan’s motives. I love how from the moment of meeting Valentine, Tristen knows that this woman is exceptionally special and that she is just what is fractured and blackened heart needs – he knows she is the one immediately, he doesn’t fight how he feels for her the biggest obstacle in their way is her independent and cynical nature.

The Brightwell’s are the most horrid and spiteful women you have ever met, as much as Lady Brightwell irritated the hell out of me with her constant simpering and ‘poor me’ routine the crown for the most self-centred, manipulative and spiteful woman must go to her daughter; Felicity – who being the jewel in the aristocracy’s crown but, she is as unpleasant as you can get. I view her as more of an acid tongued viper, just waiting to strike and I think that Matthews has got their character’s and personalities just spot on, they are both awful self-centred women, yet they have such a prominent role in the book and without them Valentine and Tristan wouldn’t be the adorable couple that we come to know.

I do really like this one, as we have come to expect from Ms Matthews we are transported the fascinating Victorian era, and I do really like this era it is full of promise of what is to come and also darkness of what is happening and amongst the grim reality we have wonderful stories like this one. The Viscount and the Vicars Daughter is hugely romantic, fabulously written and researched, it teases the senses and makes you wonder and surprisingly all the romance comes from Tristan. He surprises you as you get to know him throughout the book, the change in him from his black rakish reputation to the man he becomes is beautifully composed.

This is very much recommended, if you like the marriage of convenience with a light twist and transformed rakes and cynical, shy heroines this is the book for you – even if you don’t like all that, this is still a must read.

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

The Viscount and the Vicars daughter is out 23rd January 2018 and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

Review – Origins; The Legend of Ava by Ivy Logan

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Ava, the sorceress is pulled from the beyond to a destiny wherein a young woman is brutally killed earlier than her eyes. Forewarned towards interfering within the destiny, she nevertheless resolves to shop the killer of the lady. what will be the results of this act of mercy?
Ava’s movements fail to abort an incredible war between supernaturals and human beings and he or she realizes that compassion has its personal results. Supernaturals are banished to every other realm but peace is never everlasting. Threat usually lurks across the nook however love can by no means be denied. A fatal and forbidden love will result in events spiraling out of manage.

Ava is stuck in a web of deceit and worry.

The Legend of Ava is a brief myth fiction story, based on paranormal romance adventure and time tour, examine this enticing and interesting tale of a well that means and merciful sorceress caught in a tangle of the beyond, present, and destiny. whilst her exceptional buddy disappears her existence unravels before her eyes.

I don’t usually go for fantasy reads, but I was intrigued by this, so I thought to give it a go, and I am in two frames of minds about it. It is an interesting and very fresh concept and one that I haven’t really come across in romance before, but there were times when I was confused as to what was going on. As intriguing as the storyline is I found with this being a short story there is too much going on, if this was a full-length book or long novella the constant action and busy-ness of the plot would all level out, but I thought I was a little packed with too much supernatural for my liking.

The story opens to a young girl running for her life through some woods, she is chased by something. Young guardian Ava is a sorceress who being a guardian is one of the high ranking super naturals who are there to watch over the humans and try and keep peace between the super natural world and the human one, Ava who can travel through time is watching over this young girl but being only there to observe she knows that she can’t interfere in anyway or the past, present and future will change. But seeing this young girl being brutally murdered by an unknown creature she cannot stop herself to try and help in some way. Unfortunately, due to her interference there are consequences that can not be undone by magic or time travel and their world of super naturals and humans is torn apart laving nothing but hatred and despair on both sides.

Can their worlds be joined together again and regain the peace that they all once knew, or has too many things changed?

I think this would be perfect for those readers that like something different and who enjoy lots of mind twisting stories that keep you guessing, its is fun and for me the best part of the story is the beginning that first chapter captures your imagination but for me it went a bit too far into super natural and magic. This is very much recommended for readers of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter but for historical romance readers like myself it didn’t quite have enough of the romantic aspect in it to keep me hooked.

An unusual take on the romance genre!

This was a complimentary copy via the author in return for an honest review.

Origin’s: The Legend of Ava can be purchased from Amazon.

Review – The Holly and the Thistle by Regan Walker

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A war of wills ensues in this enjoyable romantic tale that is highly recommend for anyone who wants to get into the holiday spirit.

A chance meeting at Berry’s wine shop, a misunderstanding and Christmastide all come together to allow the most handsome Scot in London to give Lady Emily Picton the best Christmas gift ever: a marriage not of convenience, but of love.

The Holly and the Thistle is another charming seasonal romance by Regan Walker, this is a part of the Agents of the Crown series, but can be read as a standalone. I have actually read these out-of-order but that really doesn’t matter because, as always with Walker’s stories you’re more focused on the couple taking centre stage and their happily ever after.

William Stephan is in London for the Christmas season as directed by his father, if it was up to William he would still be in Scotland at his ship builders yard but while his father is still head of their clan, William must do as he is told. At least while in London he can see his old school friend Lord Ormand and his lovely wife, through his friend he is invited to a Christmas house party at the legendary Dowager Countess of Claremont – who is known for her match-making. On his way to the party he stops off at Berry’s Wine Shop to pick up one of the owners famous Brandy’s and while there he meets the most interesting woman he has ever known, mouth like a fish wife and a temper to match and yet she has the most alluring heather eyes, that instantly captures him. I love how he always associates this woman and her beautiful yes with his home.

It was her pale purple eyes that convinced him to head for the shelf where he’d seen the Portuguese wine. She might be a charwoman who hadn’t bathed in weeks, but those eyes were remarkable, the color of thistle blooming in the Highlands.

Emily is a widow and while on her way to the Christmas party hosted by her good friend, Muriel; the Dowager Countess of Claremont – who is by far one of the best character’s that have come out of Ms. Walker’s imagination – Emily stops of at Berry’s Wine Shop to buy Muriel a gift of her favourite tipple. Once there, she is soddened to the skin due to the down pour she has been caught in, she is cold, wet and her temper is on the fringes of exploding, which it does to the man she presumes is the shop assistant in Berry’s. She is not just disgruntled by the appalling weather but knowing that his house party is just another chance for Muriel to put her well known match-making skills to the test, and yet again try to find Emily another husband – which really is the last thing that she wants at this present time. Or maybe any time!

As much as she loves her good friend she rather wishes that the old Dowager would cease in her obsession with finding Emily a partner, but she will do as she always does and erect her icy wall and shoot down any man who decides to come near – That is until she meets a charming Scotsman.

As all the guests arrive at Lady Claremont’s, Emily and William are introduced – or like shoved together by Muriel and Emily is so embarrassed to find that this handsome Scot is the very man she thought was the sales assistant at Berry’s, the one she had behaved like a common fish wife to and this is the man who her friend is pushing her towards. At first Emily is appalled that her friend would want to pack her off to a Scotsman and off to the inhabitable highlands, but she soon realises that her best friend may be on to something where this handsome man is concerned.

“I enjoyed that—all the more for sharing it with you, leannan.” Emily was alarmed at this continued and increasing intimacy, and she rose to stand by the fire.
“What is that name you keep calling me?”
“Sweetheart.”
“Sweetheart? Really?” Emily nearly choked on the word. That was something a man called his wife.
“It’s the way I think of you, Emily.”

William knew that there was something about that heather-eyed woman and here she is shooting flaming arrows at him from those eyes as she finds out who he really is, as much as William as always thought that work comes first and that he isn’t ready for anything more than a quick dalliance, it is a case of love at first sight when he meet’s Emily. He knows that this is the woman that he wants to marry she is everything that he has been looking for, even though he didn’t realise he was looking for something – but here she is.

I really like how quickly he falls in love with her, despite knowing that his father wouldn’t approve of her due to her being English, William knows that Emily is the one for him and he doesn’t hold anything back while charming her. Emily amazes me that she holds him at bay for so long, how on earth can she resist him, like she does is a wonder to me, but his resilience and determination proves too much for our reluctant ice queen, eventually her barrier’s slowly lower and she begins to let him in to heart closely guarded heart. those moment when her defences are down, and his charm is at full throttle there are some really beautiful and tender moments between them. I especially like when they are watching the Mummers; a group of actors and other performers that put on a mini show for each household they visit in exchange for something to eat or maybe a few coins – those moments while William and Emily are watching them is so tender, she takes great pleasure in showing him their traditions and he takes pleasure in being with her.

Muriel yet again knows exactly what she is doing, she see’s that William and Emily are very good for each other and she ever so gently gives them the push that is needed. I love the Dowager Countess, she is the highlight of the Agent’s of the Crown Series, I particularly like when Emily talks to Muriel about this and the Countess reply’s that she just wants to see her happy, and this man can do that. I think that is a really lovely scene and shows just how much Muriel cares for Emily and for those around her and it’s yet another reason why I think this woman is such a prominent character in this series.

“I’m not in the market for a husband, Muriel, and well you know it.”
“Perhaps you should be. Men like William Stephen don’t arrive in London every day.”
“You would see me in Scotland?”
“I would see you happy, my dear,” said the countess, reaching out to pat Emily’s hand. “That man”—the countess’s gaze traveled to where William stood singing—“can make you happy.”

This is another highly romantic story, it’s tender and charming and full of Christmas cheer and as ever with Walker we are transported to another time because of her brilliant way with words and flawless historic detailing.

Yet again another winner in my eyes from Regain Walker, I cannot recommend this highly enough it is just perfect to read at Christmas. There is romance, lots of laughs sprinkled with some lovely festive traditions.

Definitely a must read!

You can purchased The Holly and the Thistle on Amazon.

Review – Dancing For The Devil by Marie Laval

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Can her love heal his haunted heart?

Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847 Bruce McGunn is a man as brutal and unforgiving as his land in the far north of Scotland. Discharged from the army –where he was known as the ‘Claymore Devil’–haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades, and convinced he is going mad, he is running out of time to save his estate from the machinations of Cameron McRae, the descendant of the McGunns’ ancestral enemies.

When the clipper carrying McRae’s new bride is caught in a violent storm and docks at Wrath harbour, Bruce decides to revert to the old ways and hold the clipper and the woman to ransom. However, far from the spoilt heiress he expected, Rose is genuine, funny and vulnerable –a ray of sunshine in the long, harsh winter that has become his life.

But Rose is determined to escape Wrath and its proud master –the man she calls ‘McGlum’.

This is the third story from the Saintclair family, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know this charming family through Angel Heart then The Lion’s Embrace and finally this one, this time we focus on Rose Saintclair’s story, which is just as romantic and intriguing as the previous. This one is filled with ghostly appearances, tortured minds and a murderer on the loose, plus a psychological game of cat and mouse between Rose and Bruce.

Rose having secretly married Scotsman Cameron McRae she is sailing from her homeland in Algiers to Cameron’s Highland home, to announce their marriage and to meet her new family. After being caught in a storm her ship is forced to pull into a cove in Cape Wrath; the ancestral home of the Laird; Bruce McGunn! Rose having only heard what her husband has told her does not wish to spend any time at all in Wrath, she would happily keep going to her new home especially once she sees the castle at Wrath and all she can think is that she has landed in hell.

The minute her and the extraordinarily large Scotsman meet there is fireworks, it is like a battle of wills between them and she is adamant that she is not staying. But her attraction to him has other idea’s…as well as the Laird himself.

Never had a man deserved his nickname more than Lord McGunn, and even though she’d never seen him fight, she sensed that his nickname of ‘Claymore Devil ’ suited him like a glove.

Since returning from the war in India after being discharged from the army in somewhat questionable circumstances, Bruce is now trying to save his estate from bailiffs and collectors all working on the behalf of his families, enemy, one Cameron McRae. The McRae’s and the McGunn’s have been at logger heads for as long as anyone can remember, which all came about with one McGunn seducing the wife of a McRae and since then the two-powerful clans have been mortal enemies. Bruce is determined that the manipulative and ruthless McRae will never get his hands-on Wrath, so on hearing that McRae’s ship has pulled up in his cove and that on ship is one of McRea’s women. Bruce decides to take the spoilt little madam captive and hold her for ransom, so he can finally get the threat from his home lifted off his wide shoulders.

All goes according to plan, that is until he meets Rose!

She isn’t what he was expecting her to be, he had immediately thought of a posh, spoilt and ninny brained young woman who he could easily subdue, how wrong he is. Rose is the complete opposite, she is feisty, argumentative and as stubborn and as unrelenting as Bruce himself. She fight’s him and his authority tooth and nail at every turn, even when she is helping him in his hour of need she does it her way. Their love/hate relationship is stirring stuff and there is times when you think that they are too different and there is a moment when you wonder if this is it for them, if he has pushed her away for good.

I absolutely love their interactions’ between each other especially when they are arguing and both of their stubborn and argumentative personalities comes to the surface, like when they first meet on the beach and he tells her in no uncertain terms that she is going with him and of she doesn’t like it he threatens to throw her over his shoulder and carry her – which he actually does later on in the book – but she gives just as good shouting and swearing at him calling him a stinking old macaque.

‘Here. Please don’t cry,’ he said in a hoarse voice. She nestled closer, and it felt like she was melting, warm and pliant in his arms. Heat shot throughout his body and suddenly he didn’t want to comfort her at all, but kiss those lips and breathe in her sweet female scent until he was drunk..

Once Rose is settled in his castle at Wrath thing’s take a very unexpected turn for both of them, in the first few days of her stay there Rose is woken by a mysterious woman in black who is talking French to her, telling her that he needs help that they are coming for him and only Rose can help, she has no idea what the lady is talking about and after following the lady on both occasions she is led to Bruce, who first she finds him having a nightmare where he is back on the battlefield with his men and the second time he is standing on the edge of a cliff saying that they are coming for him. Rose has no idea who Bruce is talking about or even who the woman in black is, but she knows something is going on in the castle, every time she mention’s the woman she is told point blank that she must have been imagining things.

So, Rose not only has to manage being held captive by the brutish, sinfully handsome Bruce – or as she likes to call him McGlum. She has a strange woman in black waking her in the middle of the night, plus there something funny going on in the village when two young women turn up brutally murdered. It’s all go and right in the middle of all this is our hero and heroine battling each other in every way that you can imagine.

These two are a match made in fiery heaven and hell, the chemistry between harsh and tormented Bruce and exotic and feisty Rose is sizzling, it’s a real love hate relationship at times, yet they share so much, they share so many of the same characteristic’s, they are both loyal, kind and both in dire need to love. Rose is just as complex and thought provoking as Bruce, who is a fantastic character. He is a true star, he completely believes that he is going mad and that he is being haunted by his dead comrades, but the truth is far more shocking then that.

 ‘I did warn you this afternoon that I’d toss you over my shoulder, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do now if you don’t come with me.’ ‘Never!’ ‘Then you leave me no choice.’ He lifted her up and flung her over his shoulder..

As ever Laval intrigues with her thought provoking and romantic writing, the story is just seamless, it draws you into the mysterious, dark and dangerous lives of our character’s. I loved the previous two books, but I think that this one is my absolute favourite, the story is thrilling and romantic it keeps you guessing as to what is going to happen. This has everything that we have come to expect from Ms Laval, fabulous storyline, amazing complex and adorable characters and I cannot recommend this and her work enough.

Definitely a must read for any who loves historical romance with a thrilling and mysterious twist.

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

Dancing with the Devil can be purchased from Amazon.

  

Review – An Actors Guide To Romance by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

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When long-time theatrical enemies are cast as lovers, their late-night rehearsal brings a whole new meaning to method acting.

For twenty years, Adam Fisher and Thomas Fox have been the best of enemies. From their first meeting at drama school to shared stages, shared bills and a competition to amass the most illustrious awards, they have been the names on every theatregoers’ lips. Separately they can sell out an entire run in an hour, so when they’re cast as lovers in London’s hottest new play, the tickets are gone in minutes.

But for rakish Adam and gentlemanly Thomas, the small matter of their first on-stage kiss is causing a headache for everyone. Over a bottle of wine on one rainy night in the city, these two acting legends will do whatever it takes to banish their first-night nerves. After all, as everyone knows, the show must go on.

This is so different to anything I have read by Ms Curzon before, it’s fresh and new and the first contemporary I have read for a while. I am in two frames of mind about it, though on one hand I like it, the story line about these two rival actors taking on their most difficult job by playing lovers is fresh and so different to what I have read before. The characters are interesting as different from each as you could get and, yet they make a great duo, for a short story their past history is surprisingly very detailed – from the moment when they first met and why they are rivals even their past relationships everything is covered. On the other I would have liked a bit more of it, I would have liked to know where Adam and Thomas go from where the book leaves them, for me their story is cut of in it’s prime and it left so many questions in it’s wake about the characters and where the story was going.

“Equal billing, darling! I am no one’s support.”

Adam and Thomas have known each other since drama school, which is where their rivalry really started they have both competed with each other for roles for as long as they can remember and now they are both actors at the top of their game and both are highly sourght after. So when a mutual friend cast them as lovers in her knew theatre prodiction they both jump at the chance not just to help an old fiend out but to maybe rile each other up a bit. As soon as the word is out that the great Thomas Fox and Adam Fletcher are actor together in this new show people flock to the theatre and the ticket fly out of the door, so now the first show is a sell out but there is a problem – our leads have an issue with the kissing scene.

After weeks of rehearsing they just cannot do this scene, with the opening noight just around the corner Thomas knows that some thing has to be done about it, so one night he grits his teeth and goes to try and resolve the issue between the two of them. But can Adam and Thomas get past this obstacle and make this a show a success? or will their mutual mixture of irritation and lust for each other get in the way?

“Two handsome chaps like us, eh?” Thomas tried for levity. “What’s the world coming to if we’re both single?”“Isn’t it a shame that it was hate at first sight?” Adam laughed…

These two are like chalk and cheese, you really have never known two such different characters Thomas is a gentleman to the core, he is cool and serious and unlike Adam – who you find is far more flamboyant, Thomas is more reserved. Thomas, I think is more nervous about this scene then Adam, but it’s got nothing to do with him being ashamed or embarrassed about his sexuality – and why should he be? Its more of the fact who he has to kiss.

Adam is a rake, there is no other word to describe him, he likes nothing better than messing about and playing the clown. I find Adam hugely fascinating he does act like the court jester, but I think there is something else beneath all that bravado. He is just as nervous about this kiss as Thomas and this is why he fools about as much as he does, he enjoys winding Thomas up to see how far he can push him and yet when Thomas is obviously nervous, Adam has this knack of calming him down.

For a short story it has a lot in it, I find that those moments when Adam and Thomas are alone to be their real self’s is very beautifully written, there is a lot of sexual tension between them. Apart from it being a bit too short – I would have liked this to be a full story so that we can really get to know Thomas and Adam. I liked it, it’s clever and very witty and a really interesting and different read, and yes I do very much recommend it.

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

An Actors Guide to Romance is released on 23rd January 2018 and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.