Forbidden To The Highland Laird by Sarah Mallory | #Review #ForbiddenToTheHighlandLaird #LairdsOfArdvarrick | @SarahMRomance @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks
Hello, Sunshines, I hope you are all well on this sunny Sunday! I am super excited to be sharing my review of the utterly gorgeous (and that’s just the cover) new book; Forbidden to the Highland Laird by Sarah Mallory. I can’t wait to share this book with you all, be prepared for babble! Firstly, I want to say thank you to Sarah for the advance reader copy. Now. lets have a look at this book.
Forbidden to the Highland Laird by Sarah Mallory
Series: Lairds of Ardvarrick
Genre: Historical Romance, Scottish Romance
Publisher: Mills & Boon/Harlequin Books
Release Date: 1st December, 2020.
A Scottish beauty
Lures the Laird to sin!
Exchanging elegant society balls for clan wars, Logan Rathmore has returned to Scotland as the new Laird of Ardvarrick. Peace is within grasp when he meets musician Ailsa McInnis from a rival clan.
Her stubborn pride and innocence fascinate him—but with her now under his protection, he must do nothing to abuse her trust.
The fragile peace is dependent on his being able to resist the forbidden temptation she presents…
My, oh my! Oh, my! Oh, my!!
I could go on, but you get the drift of my initial feeling of this magical book…..In other words, I adore every page!
Firstly, I have to mention the cover, isn’t it glorious? The art department has once again smashed it with the detail, that cover model is exactly how I imagined Ailsa as I was reading, the cover Logan is a wee bit of kilter for me, but I can see a lot of the chemistry that shimmers between Logan and Ailsa throughout the story on the cover. It’s beautiful!!
This is the first book in the brand new Lairds of Ardvarrick series, It’s a beautiful, sensual and captivating, emotional and heart-warming. It’s a brilliant start to I can see is going to be a captivating series. Plus, this is also Sarah Mallory’s first Highlander romance, something which in my humble opinion is long overdue and equally well worth the wait, and easily has become one of my favourites.
Hmmm, I think, I say that about every Sarah Mallory book I read. But, I do love her work and this is what happens when you have a top-notch author, who is at the very peak of her game, you fall in love with each and every book. Sarah has really put so much into this book, the research gone into the history of the era, the setting’s right down to the clothes, the music and of course the stunning Castle Ardvarrick – I was completely whisked out of my chair to the atmospheric and hauntingly beautiful Scottish highlands.
I really liked how Logan and Ailsa slowly get to know each other, it’s not; boom straight to bed, their romance blossoms beautifully, each page they become closer and closer. I absolutely love the little things he does to put her at ease, to draw her closer into his light, shows her that there is kindness and that she is valued, proves to her that she can be happy. Dancing in the moonlight, reading her poetry …my goodness I fell under his spell just like Ailsa….except for me, it was way sooner, I was a swooning and melting mess.
But, then again I have always loved a Scotsman..;-)
Unusually for a Harlequin/Mills and Boon, there is quite a large cast of character’s, we have Logan’s clan, Ailsa and her clan, villains, unruly cousins, but instead of being inundated with characters popping up left right and centre and never knowing who is who and where they belong. Each character has a place and they each make an impact onto the story, there are one or two which I would love to see have a story of their own.
I loved Ailsa’s passion for her music, even though I do think she has been a little groomed in her beliefs about this ‘curse’ all to make her more biddable and compliant to what her family want. My heart went out to her, she is lonely and sheltered, she has so much love coursing through her and so far her only outlet for that has been through her music, and then out of the mist comes walking a; fall to your knee’s, swoon-some (Is that a word??) charismatic, charming, protective handsome chap, who bestows a gift on her that no one ever has; kindness….plus, the sexiest tilting smile which would make any women go weak at the knee’s….all he was missing was a kilt 😉
This is an intriguing story, going from the back blurb alone you would think it’s a basic enemy to lovers type, but as always with Sarah Mallory, there is more to the tale then that, if you have read any of Sarah’s books you will know she likes to mix thing’s up, she likes to add sneaky little twists and additional elements that bring the story to life and makes you keep flicking through the pages and this is no different. There is a lot going on, various subplots, family myths, clan wars, villains and right in the midst of such turmoil are two lonely, passionate and likeable people all of which entwine together to create a highly enjoyable love story with a twist.
I loved it, I cannot recommend it enough, it may not have as many kilted rough-around-the-edges highlanders as I would have liked but luscious Logan soon worked his Scottish magic.
Summer Warrior (The Clan Donald Saga #1) by Regan Walker | #Review #SummerWarrior #TheClanDonaldSaga |@RegansReview
Hello, Sunshines, I hope you are all well? I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of the stunning new book from Regan Walker; Summer Warrior, which is the first book in the new series, The Clan Donald Saga. I am super excited to be sharing this book with you all, firstly I want to say thank you to Regan for the advance reader copy. Now, let’s have a look at this book.
Summer Warrior by Regan Walker
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Clan Donald Saga #1
Format: Ebook, Paperback
Release Date: 7th October 2020
Somerled’s parentage was noble, of the Kings of Dublin, the royal house of Argyll and the great Ard Ri, the High Kings of Ireland. But when the Norse invaded Argyll and the Isles, his family’s fortunes fell with those of his people. When all hope seemed lost, he rose from the mists of Morvern to rally the Gaels, the Scots and the Irish.
Sweeping across Argyll and the Isles like a fast-moving storm, brilliant in strategy and fearless in battle, Somerled began retaking his ancestral lands, driving away the invaders and freeing the people from the Norse stranglehold. In doing so, he would win the title Somerle Mor, Somerled the Mighty, Lord of Argyll, Kintyre and Lorne and, eventually, Lord of the Isles.
This is the unforgettable saga of his path to victory that forged the Kingdom of the Isles and won him the heart of a Norse king’s daughter.
Before I start my review, I have to take a moment to mention the cover. Isn’t it glorious? I love the image, it’s so striking and the way the colour’s melt into one another really make it stand out. It’s beautiful, I would happily have that frame on my wall.
Summer Warrior is a drastic change from what we are used to from Regan Walker, this is definitely more in the historical fiction category then romance (even though there is a beautiful romance within) and personally speaking this is her very best to date. It’s no secret that I am a big fan of her work, I fell hook line and sinker for her medieval warrior series and have been avidly reading my way through her catalogue since.
It’s a step away from the usual romances for Regan Walker, and we are stepping into a whole new era. I love that there is far more emphasis on Somerled’s story and history of Scotland, it’s a lot grittier than what we are used to from her but that only makes it more engaging and captivating. With history, adventure, romance and drama, this is a riveting and captivating tale.
Set during the 12th Century; Somerled I really loved between Somerled and Ragnhild, a bittersweet love that develops beautifully and naturally. I love that it’s meticulously entwined within the bigger picture, in some ways their blossoming romance takes a back seat and I really liked it, your whole focus is on the intricate and compelling tale before you.
I absolutely loved Somerled (then again those who read my reviews, that will comes as no surprise) he is everything you would want in a hero; brave, clever, valiant, gallant, cunning, charming, extremely handsome and determined. He isn’t the kind of man who will just sit back on his laurels and allow injustice to happen, and he wants to unite the Scottish and the Irish to become a powerful force and in doing so he created the ‘Kingdom of the Isles’. I love his focus, he courageous spirit and deep down that yearning passion which comes to a head when he first sets eyes on a beautiful woman riding through the mist.
What particularly appealed to me about this was the vivid imagery that erupts in your mind as you read, because of the rich and stunning descriptions on each page, it’s beautifully written. The depictions of the setting in each scene is mesmerising – but then I wouldn’t expect anything less from Ms Walker, she has outdone herself and I know that this is one of those books which will be pulled off the shelf again and again.
Summer Warrior is the first book in the brand new; Clan of Donald Saga and what a brilliant introduction, I can tell you for a fact that this is going to be an emotional, gripping and addictive series, one of which I am so looking forward to following. Regan Walker once again enthrals the reader with her compelling and mesmerizing writing, she is a true shining star of the genre.
I love that Summer Warrior of inspired by historical events, I hadn’t heard of the tale of Somerled MacGillebride, the leader of the Gaels and was instantly intrigued and, eager to learn more which is what Regan Walker does to perfection, she has this incredible ability to really pull the reader into her fictionalised world and at the same time you are gaining all the history and knowledge without even realising it, you become fully absorbed into Somerled’s intriguing and intricately woven world.
Summer Warrior is a meticulously researched, beautifully written saga of truth, love and history. A masterclass of historical fiction writing.
How to Make the Perfect Man by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead | #HowToMakeThePerfectMan #Review #SomeLikeItHauntedCollection |@MadameGilflurt @e_harkstead
Hello, Sunshines, I am super excited to be sharing my release day review of the fabulously funny new Halloween novella; How To Make The Perfect Man by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead. Firstly I want to say thank you to Catherine and Eleanor for the advanced reader copy. Now let me tell you all about this spookily good book.
How to Make the Perfect Man by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead
Genre: M/M Romance,
Series: Apart of the Some Like it Haunted collection
Publisher: Pride Publishing/ First For Romance
Release Date: 27th October 2020
Love isn’t science. It’s alchemy.
Needing a date for the hottest Hallowe’en party in town, scientist Aubrey Waldegrave sets to work creating his perfect man. Unfortunately, the Adonis who emerges from his laboratory is a free spirit who has no time for Aubrey’s brogues and tweeds.
Alchemist Trismegistus Nimlet can turn anything into gold, but when his apocathery’s alligator starts talking back and his werewolf allergy leaves him sneezing, it looks like Halloween might be a washout. Worse still, is Tris really about to lose the chap he secretly loves to a manmade surfer dude who’s more flash than Frankenstein?
With werewolves leaving fur in the ornamental fountains and a banshee making enough noise to wake the dead, Aubrey’s Halloween is going from bad to worse. All he wanted was to make his perfect man, but what if he was right there all along?
Have you seen the cover?? Isn’t it fabulous, I love it!!
The figure lay inside a large glass tank in the middle of Aubrey’s laboratory. The water it contained was cloudy and white, luminous from the brightness of the lightning that filled the room at intervals. Aubrey leaned against the side of the tank and peered fondly at his creation.
Aubrey had put so much work into his creature, and soon—soon—he would have a man, fashioned by his own hands, as beautiful as Aubrey had power to imagine.
As the rain beat ever harder against the glass panes of his laboratory’s roof, Aubrey looked over at a fluttering dial that told him the lightning was at just the right intensity for his man to breathe at last.
He stepped back from the tank, then grabbed the handle of a huge brass switch. Still watching the dial fidget in its glass case, the needle advanced just enough, and Aubrey pulled down the handle.
A great sizzling tore the air, and Aubrey had to squint behind his green-lensed goggles. A bolt of lightning shot down from the inverted conductor that hung from the ceiling and arced into the machinery that stood next to the tank.
The tank’s glass sides cracked apart and the cloudy water burst across the floor. There, twitching on a wooden platform inside what was left of the tank, was Aubrey’s man.
Aubrey yanked off his goggles and stared in awe at the figure.
“It lives!” Aubrey cried. I’ve always wanted to say that. He took a step closer, clutching his hands, unable to tear his gaze away from the man before him. The man Aubrey had created. “He lives! Hurrah, I have a date for the party!”
He had never seen a creature like him. A bronzed god, his muscular frame shuddering as he drew in his first breath. The long-lashed eyelids opened and his creation parted his perfect, full lips. A moment passed before the Adonis said, “Woah… Dude. What a wild freakin’ ride!”
Aubrey tipped his head to one side. Had he really heard that properly? Had the thunder banging overhead dimmed his hearing?
But no. His Adonis had just addressed him as dude. Surely it was only a temporary glitch.
“G-good evening,” Aubrey stammered. “Are you comfortable? Can I get you anything? A cup of tea, perhaps?”
The creature sat up, surprisingly nimble for someone who had just been brought to life by a lightning strike. He looked down at his naked body, his eyes alighting on his own impressive manhood.
“Dude, I’m seriously hench. And hung!” He lifted his hand and waited, offering Aubrey a nod. “Hit me, bro! Yeah!”
Aubrey lifted his hand in response and waved, slowly. The man would have to learn how to greet people properly, but a raised hand was halfway to a wave. And physically, Aubrey had got it just right. The toned figure was perfect.
“Hello, my name’s Aubrey. And I’m calling you Adam.”
“Who’s Adam?” He slapped his palm against Aubrey’s. “I’m Kai, bro, good to know you. Woo! Yeah!”
“Kai? No, no…” Aubrey shuddered. What nonsense was this, interfering with his newfound Godlike powers of creation? “No! I’m your creator, and I’m calling you Adam!”
Kai—Adam—frowned then laughed, showing off his perfect white teeth. He slapped Aubrey’s shoulder as, outside, Aubrey heard the throaty purr of a familiar engine .
“Yeah, right. Adam!”
“But…but…” Aubrey pouted. Oh bloody blast it, it’s gone to pot again.….
*Excerpt is taken from publisher’s website, which can be found here – How To Make The Perfect Man.
How To Make The Perfect Man is easily the funniest of all of Catherine and Eleanor’s books, (believe me I have read them all to date unless the ladies have sneaked one past me with me realising) this is a real hoot right from page one when Aubrey’s ‘Monster’ came alive, (even though I was expected the old line of; ‘It’s alive, It’s alive..’ I think I have been watching far too many Carry on’s a lately) I was in hysteric’s honestly a surfer dude Frankenstein that has an aversion to ‘proper’ clothes.
This is a very short and hugely satisfying read, and rather surprisingly the romance is a bit of a slow-burner, it isn’t; boom, right lets jump in bed, the build-up is sweeter and works perfectly with Tris and Aubrey’s love story.
Prim and proper Aubrey Waldegrave, the local lonely scientist is in need of a date for the annual Halloween party. He can’t go alone, what would people think? No, he must have a date but seeing as the one man he wants doesn’t look on him in the same way, he is a bit stuck. So our Aubrey does what any eccentric scientist does and makes his own, the time and effort to make his perfect man and then when the lightning bolt wakes his date….well, let us just say all goes wrong!
Instead of the sophisticated, classy and handsome chap, he planned, out pop’s well what can I say about Aubrey’s ‘Adam’ other than….put some bloody clothes on and actually button your shirt up!! It seems like Halloween is ruined before it’s even started, that is until glorious multicoloured coat wearing and shimmering Trismegistus Nimlet (Is that the best name ever?) turns up and with he brings certain magic which can only be described as Tris.
I was instantly charmed by Aubrey, he’s a stereotypical eclectic befuddled chap who likes nothing better than to wile away the hours, days and even months in his lap or a dusty library, but really all he wants is the love of a good man. Not any man, as we have seen, but one specific man. I could have wept with all those longing glances into the direction of our resident Alchemist.
Our poor old Tris has never got around to actually declaring his feelings for the handsome scientist, friends for forty years and neither knows that the other is madly in love with him. I loved Tris the moment he stepped out of that flashy car, he oozes charismatic charm and old-school gentlemanly elegance, no wonder our Aubrey is completelty smitten.
What is supposed to a good night out at the spookily brilliant Halloween party with a wonderful array of guests which do include a slightly tipsy fairy and a Bichon Frise fluffy werewolf (you have to be there ;-)) which turns into a hunt for their Adonis, aided by a talking stuffed crocodile and ends in love. Phew!!
This is perfect for making you laugh and escaping the chaotic real world for a short period of time, which is what Catherine and Eleanor are perfect at, no matter what is going on in the world you can always rely on the dynamic duo to put a smile on your face.
This is so much fun and delightfully enjoyable; friends to lovers novella. It’s original and unexpected and most importantly it had me giggling happily into the night. That is crucial, I love to be thoroughly entertained! I loved the romance between Aubrey and Tris – when they finally plucked up the courage and admitted their feelings – there is sparkling and shining magic in the air and it has nothing to do with Tris’ ring, your going to have to read it for that one 😉
Her Sister’s Secret: The Summer of ’66 by Jan Baynham | #Review #HerSistersSecret #TheSummerof66 | @JanBaynham @RubyFiction
Hello Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of the gorgeous; Her Sister’s Secret by Jan Baynham. I was going to post this review yesterday, but I got a little distracted with the new pup running around (as we do :-)) So here it is, I hope you love the sound of it as much as I loved reading it. Firstly, thank you to Liz at Ruby Fiction/Choc Lit for the complimentary copy.
Her Sister’s Secret by Jan Baynham
Publisher: Ruby Fiction
Format: Kindle, ebook
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Another wonderful sixties saga from the author of Her Mother’s Secret.
How far would you travel to find the truth?
It’s the 1960s and Jennifer Howells is a young woman with the world at her feet, just on the cusp of leaving her Welsh village for an exciting life in the city.
Then the contents of an inconspicuous brown envelope turn Jennifer’s world upside down. The discovery leaves her spiralling, unsure who she is. Overnight, Miss Goody Two Shoes is replaced by a mini-skirted wild child who lives for parties and rock’n’roll.
But Jennifer’s experience with the excesses of sixties’ culture leaves her no closer to her true identity. She soon realises she’ll have to travel further – first to Cardiff, then across the ocean to Sicily – if she wants to find out who she really is …
Firstly, can I just take a moment to share to serious cover love?
Isn’t it gorgeous? I love it, it’s so pretty you can just imagine yourself in the women’s shoes on the cover, can’t you? Is it just me, or are the covers at Ruby Fiction and Choc Lit getting prettier with every book?
I loved Jan Baynham’s previous book; ‘Her Mother’s Secret’ and was looking forward to seeing what she had in store for us all next, I am happy to say Jan does not disappoint, Her Sister’s Secret is another intriguing, surprising and emotional story which is steeped in family drama and hidden secret’s, it’s easy to say that this is my favourite of the two books, it’s not at all what I thought it would be like, as the description is misleading, the back blurb doesn’t really do this book the justice it deserves but it certainly hooks you and then from reading those first few pages you sit back and think; ‘Yup, this is going to be a good one.‘
If you are expecting to be thrown head first into the ‘swinging sixties’ then be prepared for a wee bit of a wait, because first we are whisked a little further back in time to post war Wales, where we meet Rose, who is an integral part of Jennifer’s overall story, the more we learning about Rose and seeing what she went through during 1946 and 1947 it does start those little grey cell’s turning, you begin putting the jigsaw pieces into place only for Rose’s part of the book to end and Jennifer’s to start, when all of a sudden you have an inkling of where the jigsaw pieces fit in but you then have pieces that don’t fit anywhere until you reach the precipices of the story and everything slot’s into place but not exactly how I originally thought it would, I absolutely loved the suspense as Jennifer slowly finds the answers of who she is.
If you’ve read ‘Her Mother’s Secret‘ you may think that this book follows on, as the titles and the cover’s are pretty similar, but you would be very wrong. This is a complete stand-alone, we have an whole new family to meet, a whole new host of secrets and drama to unearth but with the same raw emotion and twist’s which keep you guessing and turning the pages.
I really liked the timeslip aspect, even though it’s not a traditional ‘timeslip story’ I thought it had a feel to it. I liked how it starts in the 40’s, reveals just enough which makes certain you will keep reading and then we jump forward into the 60’s where all is revealed. Plus on top of all the family drama, there is the setting’s, unlike ‘Her Mother’s Secret‘ we aren’t transported to a beautiful place in the sun straight away, but once we do dip our toes into the aquatic blue Sicilian sea there is no going back.
I loved seeing Wales through the eyes of these two different women, each one brings their home to life, it’s a very visual and thoughtful story that span’s twenty years and it’s a joy to join both Rose and Jennifer on their individual journey’s.
Jan Baynham has once again stolen your heart and whisked you away with her beautiful and atmospheric words, this is one of those book which just get’s better and better with every reading, like a fine wine which matures’ into something delicious.
A Forbidden Liaison with Miss Grant by Marguerite Kaye | #Review #AForbiddenLiasonWithMissGrant | @MargueriteKaye @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks
Hello, sunshines, thank you for stopping by! Today I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of; A Forbidden Liaison With Miss Grant by Marguerite Kaye. Firstly, I wish to say thank you to Marguerite for my advanced reader’s copy.
A Forbidden Liaison with Mis Grant by Marguerite Kaye
Genre: Historical Romance / Publisher: Mills and Boon, Harlequin / Release Date: 20 August 2020
An unexpected encounter…
Will change everything!
Self-made gentleman and widower Grayson Maddox has devoted himself to his children and business, leaving no time for pleasure. Until he has an impulsive, thrillingly sensual encounter with lady’s companion Miss Constance Grant! Their passion gives Grayson hope of a happiness he never thought he’d feel again. But there’s still much in both their pasts to confront before they can turn their forbidden liaison into a new beginning…
I cannot begin to say how much I loved this book, I have read a fair few of Marguerite Kaye’s books over the last few years and I have loved each one, but this is easily the best yet, it has so much in it I love and there is so much I could say, but I really don’t want to give away any spoilers so, this will most likely end up being a long-winded babble-fest.
I loved the instant attraction, the chemistry between Constance and Grayson is heated, sexual, sizzling and so captivating and yet after their first illicit tryst they can’t seem to see that they are meant to be together – I felt like climbing into the book and banging their heads together.
I loved the plot, I really won’t say too much about that, other then the back blurb really doesn’t do it justice, there is so much more going on then a little romping in inns, but I will say that it’s not all that it seems with Royal visits and the awful Scottish clearances – which was very shocking to read, this is far from the stereotypical historical romance, it will keep you turning the pages with lightning speed that’s for sure.
The cover, just how amazing is that cover? Neither look like Constance and Grayson, well not to me, but each reader to their own right? But I love it! It’s eye-catching, it’s got a real simple elegance and relevant to the characters, that they are a little older and it’s just so darn pretty. A massive thumbs up for the art department, is it just me or are the M&B/Harlequin covers getting prettier with every new book?
The hero, I am never shy in proclaiming my love of hard-working ordinary folk and Grayson is exactly that! Some people go google-eyed for cravats, aristocratic titles and royal’s, for me it will always be a working man, a man who isn’t ashamed of getting his hand dirty. A man who has done and is used to hard graft and never shies away from it and isn’t ashamed that he has scars and calloused hands. A man who is morally good with his workers and those around him. A man who has worked his socks off to be in the position he is in and this is Grayson, he is every bit the decent human being we all need in our lives and I absolutely adore him. He is a good man, a good boss, and a good father….plus he is a sexy as hell man in his prime, who know exactly what he wants. 😉
It is so nice to have a more mature couple in the centre of a romance, both think that they are way past their prime and heading at full pelt speed for their dotage, and both think that they will never find love at their time of life and that one thought comes across with both of them so beautifully and when they do find someone who loves them for exactly who they are, its a beautiful and enlightening moment. When they realise that just because they aren’t in their twenties and have pasts and responsibilities that they can find love, have fun, they can have a great time between the sheets and they can act compulsively is like a light switching on and they really shine. For, me that realisation is such an integral part of the entire book, and as always Marguerite Kaye has done the astounding job at really grabbing your heart and emotions.
I absolutely love how this starts, the first meeting between Constance and Grayson is full of absolute lust and a yearning to cast off their wears, throw caution to the wind and do something that would in today’s standards seem a little risqué – jumping into bed with a stranger you met on the docks literally within minutes. But, my, oh my it works, it really works. From that moment on these two are cemented into your mind, who would have thought we would be in store for some bedroom action from the get-go, there is no mulling about for these two, straight to the action no hanging around and I really love it!
Constance is such a wonderful character, she has seen some pretty awful things and she has big opinions on a variety of subjects – I can’t say too much as it would give away too much about the plot, but those thoughts and opinion’s play a major role in the story. She thinks she is very much on the shelf, she can’t imagine that a man like Grason would look twice at her. But, he sees her for who she is, yes there may have conflicting views at times but they really work brilliantly together.
Overall a wonderful and immersive read, which hold the reader’s attention and ignites the imagination from page one. The writing is as ever flawless, fabulously constructed characters and a fresh and original plot. A great read, one which I cannot recommend more!
Oh, one more thing; do read the historical note at the back, Marguerite always pulls all she has discovered about the subject’s covered in her books into a fascinating quick read which is always very insightful. One thing I did notice about this book is that Marguerite has really pushed the boat out with her historic detail and fact, her knowledge of the era is beyond compare, she has so deftly entwined real historical events with an authentic fictional love story, which makes for compelling reading.
The Silk Merchant’s Convenient Wife by Elisabeth Hobbes | #Review #TheSilkMerchantsConvenientWife | @ElisabethHobbes @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks
Hello, sunshines, Today, I have the massive pleasure to be sharing my review of the gorgeous; The Silk Merchant’s Convenient Wife by Elisabeth Hobbes, I can’t wait to share this book with you all. First, I want to say thank you to Elisabeth for my advanced reader copy.
The Silk Merchant’s Convenient Wife by Elisabeth Hobbes
Genre: Victorian, Historical Romance / Publisher: Mills and Boon, Harlequin / Release Date; 20th August 2020
An inconvenient passion…
His parents’ loveless relationship has left silk merchant Jonathan Harcourt suspicious of marriage. But in order to expand his mill and have an heir, he must marry his neighbour Aurelia Upford. Even more surprising than finding himself with a clever, beautiful society wife is the unexpected passion that flares between them, and the unsettling emotions it leads to. Sharing a bed was part of their arrangement, but can Jonathan risk sharing his heart, too?
I am a big fan of Elisabeth Hobbes work, she is such an accomplished and gifted storyteller, she never fails to enthral the reader with clever words, knowledge and meticulous research – honestly, her medieval’s are in a league of their own – and her fist Victorian is just as rich and vibrant as the others.
I love the setting within the silk industry, Elisabeth doesn’t make that way of life all happy and prosperous, she gives a real and clear picture of life within the industry, the good and bad, I personally found the mention of the dreaded ‘millers lung’ (which is pretty much the same as the miner’s lung for those who don’t know, you breathe in the fibres and over time they destroy the lungs) very touching and gives light into one of the many illnesses that befell those who worked in the industry.
I have to say that I was taken with this book even before reading it, that cover is so striking it actually made me think of one of my all-time favourite drama’s North and South, and from that moment on every single time Johnathon was in a scene I had this image of Richard Armitage’s; Mr Thornton in my head. I was just waiting for ‘that’ kissing scene if there is I’m not going to spoil it for you, you will just have to pop to the shops and pick up a copy, but I will say that this does lead us down a merry path never knowing in which direction you will turn.
Johnathan is such a likeable chap, there is a touch of scandal in his past in the way he and his mother ended up living in Macclesfield, and why a nobleman would be working in a silk factory. I really, really like and respect Jonathan, anyone who follows the blog will know my utter love of a self-made man, and even though our boy isn’t working-class, he has worked damn hard to be where he is. He has pushed and fought for everything he now holds dear he can hold his head high for all he has achieved and that alone made me fall head over heels for this aspiring man. But, he isn’t just all stuffy cravats and starched collars he is a real hottie, sexy, suave, gentle, clever – even though I did get a sense of a bit of a ruthless edge, imaginative, a bit blunt and never minces his words (another reason I like him) and he is very, very passionate – I know what your thinking, get your minds out of the gutter 😉 no, he is passionate in that way, but more about his work and making the factory and the business the best it can be. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, he genuinely cares for his workers and for the poor, plus – and this is very important – he has a brilliant wit, it’s rare and hidden away under his cold factory boss exterior, but there are moments when you see that curving of the lips. It’s like I said, he is Mr Thornton…sigh!
Witnessing what happened to his parent’s marriage really impacted how he sees marriage to be, he doesn’t want to end up in the same position, which is one of the reason’s he is so against the idea of marriage. But he knows that he really needs a son and heir to carry on once he’s gone and to have that he needs a wife, which is where our lovely Aurelia (honestly, I would love to know how you actually pronounce her name, I’m hopeless with names)
Aurelia has a bit of a black mark against her, after a scandal which made the family move, she has got this black sheep sort of aura about her, deep down, I think her family do think she is to blame for their misfortune and as such she feels guilty and ashamed. She is a naïve, quiet and unassuming little thing that just needs a little love. She is content that her marriage will be one of convenience and not love, so once she starts seeing her new husband in a completely new, devastatingly tantalising light she is shocked at how much of her wants him, but she won’t love him, she is determined not to spoil anything and stick to the agreement ….yeah, right, there is only so long you can hold back from jumping on gorgeous Jonathan, he is way too tempting.
I adore the little touches of Jonathan’s and Aurelia’s personality’s which really brought them alive, such as Jonathan with his diary, it’s such a simple thing but I loved that little detail, whenever something of import happened he would write in it. It’s such an everyday thing to do, I mean haven’t we all had, or have got a diary?
I did think that the first couple of chapters after Jonathon and his mother flee their home, in the beginning, were a little slow in pace, which was a little surprising at first as I am so used to Elisabeth really hyping up the tension from the start in her previous books, It’s just me I think, I am becoming way too fussy. Once Aurelia and Jonathon married and they started to attempt to wade through the uneven waters of married life, then everything that I personally felt was lacking in the start fell into place. But despite my initial thoughts the gentler approach worked well with Jonathon and Aurelia’s story, they aren’t the kind of couple who need lots of fuss and huge showy scenes, they capture the attention and the imagination all on their own.
I thought their relationship developed beautifully throughout the book, there an instant bubbling of chemistry that takes them both off guard and that soon develops from chaste longing to unrepented love and lust. It’s not boom straight into bed, even when married the first bedroom scenes are quick and straight to the point, but there is a constant spark, an undercurrent of frustration as their feelings grow stronger.
The Silk Merchant’s Convenient Wife is a beautifully written captivating love story, full of gentle passion, richly textured detail and a misty like a longing that envelopes you as you read. The plot takes you on a steady journey, with a few surprises thrown in to keep you guessing. The characters are perfect for each other, they may seem a little chalk and cheese at first but once together you know that they were made for each other.
Falling for Her Viking Captive (Sons of Sigurd #2) by Harper St George | #Review #FallingForHerVikingCaptive #SonsOfSigurd | @HarperStGeorge @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks
Hello, Sunshines, I have the massive pleasure to be sharing my review of the fabulous; Falling for her Viking Captive by Harper St. George. I can’t wait to share this with you all, but first thank you to Harper for my complimentary copy, now on to the book.
Capturing the Viking Warrior by Harper St. George
Series: Sons of Sigurd / Genre: Viking, Historical Romance / Publisher: Mills and Boon, Harlequin / Release Date: 16th April 2020
In her cellar…
Lady Annis must stop Viking Rurik Sigurdsson from discovering the truth about his family’s death. Her only solution is to imprison him. But as the ruggedly handsome Viking starts to charm his way out of his cell and into her heart, can she be sure he’s not still intent on vengeance—or perhaps an unexpected alliance is the solution?
Oh, my giddy aunt!!!! I love it, talk about wow factor, this beauty has it all…
Hot, sexy, rugged Vikings – check!
Enemies to lovers trope – check!
Secrets and deception – check!
Fiery and intelligent heroine – check!
Revenge subplot – check!
This. Book. Is. Too. Damn. Good. For. Words!!
That is it, that’s all, I can say. I honestly don’t have the words to fully describe how much I love this book….do, you think I could get away with a load of gifs as a review?
I have said it before, and I am going to unashamedly say it again, Harper St George is the queen of the Viking romance, she is in a whole league of her own her stories are the most intoxicatingly compelling, emotionally raw, enticingly rugged and supremely romantic. There are dangers, excitement and brutal passion – and that is just the heroes 😉 – you are ensnared and thrown across the large shoulder of a rampaging Viking, taken off kicking and screaming, only to never want to return home again because you have become accustomed to being ravaged…Deep #DoubleSigh!!
Oh, Gawd, I’m babbling again – someone stop me please, but I can’t help it. This is what Harper’s books do to me, from the very page you are whisked away to a land of feisty dagger-wielding heroines and gruff, ruthless sexy-as-hell heroes.
Harper St. George, I bow down to your excellence, I am forever grateful for all your glorious heroes – I mean stories 😉 and this is easily the best yet….even though, I do keep saying that with every new book.
I suppose I had best make an attempt at a review, other than bombarding you all with cringe-worthy waffle – honestly, I embarrass myself sometimes.
Falling for Her Viking Captive is the second book in the whole new; Sons of Sigurd series, this is completely different to any other series in the fact that each book is written by a different author and each book is a stand-alone the only connection is that each of the books follows a different brother. I love this concept of bringing together a bunch of amazing authors and have them write a series, it not only brings beautiful stories to the world, but it allows readers to discover new authors. I do love it when Mills and Boon/Harlequin put together these multi-author series, I do hope there will be more to come in the future.
I’ve not read the first book ‘Stolen by the Viking’ something I plan to rectify as soon as possible, not that it’s necessary as I read this pretty much as a stand-alone, Harper St George has this brilliant knack of importing whatever information about the previous storylines you need into her story so that you get the full picture.
After the brutal assignation of his father and some of their kin; Rurik is all out for revenge, he wants answers and then some vengeful violence, but more than that he wants answers – who killed his father and attacked their village? He soon finds himself kidnapped by the person who may have all the answers, Lady Annis has secrets, as well as trying to hide them she also wants peace and for her people to be safe, so when the sexy and mysterious warrior turns up asking questions she knows he is going to be trouble. So, she does what anyone would do she drug’s him, take him hostage – which at one time does mean being tied to her bed – but Annis may be over her head as this man won’t simply lie back and allow his incarceration.
Anyone who follows the blog will know of my huge love of the enemies to lovers trope, I can never get enough of those passionate and deadly exchanges between a warring couple, I love Rurik and Annis, they are a wonderfully compelling couple. They bounce off each other, they both fight for command, they throw barbed words at each other. There is a serious and emotional side to their relationship; both have pasts and both distrust the other and yet they both have a seething passion, there is an inexplicable sizzle and raw pent-up lust which hangs in the air around them.
Rurik…ah, Rurik!!! I am in love, he is a multi-layered, huge beast of a man. Warrior, a powerful man of steel who is out for revenge. Yet below that hardened and ruthless exterior, there is a gentle and compassionate man and at times he has got a brilliant dry wit….when he asks Annis if she has a habit of kidnapping men from inns and tying them to her bed, had me spluttering into my tea with laughter.
But this is far more than just two scarred people from opposite sides falling in love, there are some real heart-wrenching moments. This is what Harper St. George does best, she builds the tension right to the climactic finale, secrets and lies are revealed and both Annis and Rurik must try and manoeuvre their way through the torrential storm of emotions that swirls around them both, and find a way to see past what is revealed to finally have the happiness they both deserve.
As you may have guessed, I absolutely adored this book!! The story is enthralling, it steals you away and leaves you in a dream-like state of longing. With intrigue, fiery passion, tension, brilliantly created character’s, dazzling chemistry and rich atmospheric detail, this book is just perfect, Harper St. George has outdone herself with this beautiful jewel.
#BlogTour | Anyone for Edmund? by Simon Edge | #AnyoneForEdmund #Review #damppebblesblogtours | @simonjedge @EyeAndLightning @damppebbles
Hello, Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this fantastic blog tour for; Anyone For Edmund by Simon Edge. I can’t wait to share my review with you all, first I want to say thank you to Emma at Damppebbles for the complimentary copy and for inviting me onto this tour. Now on to the book itself, I hope you love it as much as I do.
Anyone For Edmund by Simon Edge
Genre: Contemporary, Comedy Fiction
Publisher: Lightning Books
Release Date: 1st September 2020
They dug up his bones. They didn’t know he had a mind of his own.
Under tennis courts in the ruins of a great abbey, archaeologists find the remains of St Edmund, once venerated as England’s patron saint, but lost for half a millennium.
Culture Secretary Marina Spencer, adored by those who have never met her, scents an opportunity. She promotes Edmund as a new patron saint for the United Kingdom, playing up his Scottish, Welsh and Irish credentials. Unfortunately these are pure fiction, invented by Mark Price, her downtrodden aide, in a moment of panic.
The only person who can see through the deception is Mark’s cousin Hannah, a member of the dig team. Will she blow the whistle or help him out? And what of St Edmund himself, watching through the prism of a very different age?
Splicing ancient and modern as he did in The Hopkins Conundrum and A Right Royal Face-Off, Simon Edge pokes fun at Westminster culture and celebrates the cult of a medieval saint in another beguiling and utterly original comedy.
I thoroughly enjoyed Anyone For Edmund, it’s a fast-paced, edgy and clever novel, which really engages the reader from the start and with its surprising supernatural feel it’s completely different to other contemporaries.
To be honest I hadn’t known too much about him before reading this. I do love learning something new, especially when I least expected it!
On the surface, it appears to be a stereotypical political comedy, with a history element, but it soon becomes clear that this is far more than that, this is a great mix of intelligent wit, history and political manipulations with some very relevant secondary plots of Covid19, life after Brexit and trying to rebuild and unite a fractured country.
The story opens with voluntary archaeologist; Hannah who is working on a dig looking for the remains of St Edmund, once found he is then reburied in the cathedral at Bury St Edmunds. Hannah’s cousin; Mark is an advisor to the culture secretary, marina who is your stereotypical pantomime villain; ruthless, manipulative, tyrannical, control freak she is trying to ease the fractures caused by Brexit and is looking for something big that will unite the country again, something that the whole country can get behind.
Which is where Edmund comes in!
Mark comes up with the idea of reinstating Edmond as a patron saint of the United Kingdom, but how to achieve it? Mark basically makes up a whole bunch of ‘facts’ about Edmund, and this is where the trouble and the fun starts as everything just spirals out of control, but once Mark interpretation of Edmund takes hold there isn’t a lot Mark can do to slow it down.
It’s a realistic plot and one that I could see happening in these strange times after all no-one wants animosity within the country. I love the little touches to the society we now live in, such as our addiction to social media and doing your research via Wikipedia and if anything with all the false truths which Mark releases about Edmund it shows how easily we can be taken in by false news, even when we think it’s from a genuine source.
My favourite aspect of this is those brief moments when we see everything through Edmund’s eyes, it gave the whole book a fresh and original feel to it and kept me turning the pages. I thought the bitterness and toxicity between Mark and Marina were compelling to read and brilliantly real, it actually reminded me of a few offices I have worked in, in the past.
I loved the whole concept of this book, with a bit of history, intrigue, wry humour and political machinations, wonderfully imaginative characters and some very on-trend topics this is a great read, one I think many people no matter what genre you read will enjoy.
About the Author
Simon Edge was born in Chester and read philosophy at Cambridge University.
He was editor of the pioneering London paper Capital Gay before becoming a gossip columnist on the Evening Standard and then a feature writer on the Daily Express, where he was also a theatre critic for many years. He has an MA in Creative Writing from City University, London, where he also taught literary criticism.
He is the author of three previous novels: The Hopkins Conundrum, which was longlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award, The Hurtle of Hell and A Right Royal Face-Off. He lives in Suffolk.
#Review | The Captain And The Baker (The Captivating Captains #7) by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead #TheCaptainandtheBaker #CaptivatingCaptains @e_harkstead @MadameGilflurt @PridePublishing
Hello, Sunshines! I am super excited to be sharing my review of the latest instalment of the amazing Captivating Captains series by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead. I will be waffling my way through another attempt at a review, this time for the gorgeous; The Captain and the Baker. So as always grab that cuppa and cake – you will need a cake, believe me, I hope you fall in love with this book as much as I have.
The Captain and the Baker by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead
Series: Captivating Captain’s #7
Genre: M/M Romance
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: 25th August 2020
When a hot-tempered TV chef and a mild-mannered baker meet on the rugged Cornish coast, they’ve got the perfect ingredients for a red-hot snack.
Sweary and stressed celebrity chef Jake Brantham is the captain of several floating restaurants. When he’s sent to the idyllic village of Porthavel to turn a pirate ship into the next gastronomic sensation, it’s the last place on earth he wants to be.
Locryn Trevorrow is the bakery king of Cornwall. From the humble pasty to a wedding cake fit for a mermaid queen, there’s nothing he doesn’t know about the art of baking. He lives in a cosy world of gingham and ganache, but at night he goes home to his smugglers’ cottage alone.
When he’s adopted by a lost kitten, Jake soon discovers that there’s more to Portavel than cream teas, lobster pots, and the annoyingly fastidious Locryn. As the village prepares for the wedding of its favourite young couple, Jake and Locryn find themselves as unlikely matchmakers for two locals who’d given up on love.
Torn between the call of Hollywood and the kisses of Locryn, will Jake choose a mansion in Beverly Hills or a cottage on the Cornish coast?
If I had to pick just one series that I could read until the end of days, then this would be the one. I have love, love, loved these Captivating Captains right from day one. I eagerly anticipate each new Captain, which I devour it, I love it and then at the end go through a spell of cold turkey awaiting my next Captivating Captain fix and on it goes with every book, and the further into the series we go the more hooked I become.
Poor Catherine and Eleanor, they must be getting very tired of me bleating the same shameless bright-eyed, obsessive adoration for this series. I must be getting quite repetitive now after seven books, but I can’t help myself, I just feel the need to shout as loudly as possible for all to know just how much I love this series, and just one more thing; ladies you can never, ever stop writing these books, ever. I would be completely lost! There I’ve said it, I’ll move on now and actually talk about this book with cutie-pie Loc and hot-headed Jake.
So, as you may have gathered from my rather embarrassing love note at the start of this review, this is the seventh book in the Captivating Captain’s series – wait, seven!? Wow, where has the time gone? I remember each one as though I read them yesterday. For those who haven’t discovered the brilliance that is the Captivating Captain’s every book is completely different from the next. Different era’s, setting’s, characters, the only connection is that each one has a gorgeous Captain taking centre stage. So take your pick, I’m not going to recommend that you start with this one or that one, all I’m going to say is; your bookshelves NEED some Captivating Captain love. That’s it, simple!
Drat, I’ve gone and spent half an hour writing waffle, again, ah well, I’m sure everyone is used to my incessant babble by now.
Righty-O, back to the important stuff…
This time we are back in captivating Cornwall with a very prim, proper and passionate baker who has very …shall we say…colourful imagination where cream horns are concerned. (I will never look at that particular confection in the same light again) and one of the most foul-mouthed chef’s you have yet to meet, me think’s our Jakey would give a certain ‘Ramsey’ a run for his money with the swearing, my goodness that swoonsome, leather jacket-wearing chef is a cauldron of fire and brimstone….phew, it’s a wee bit hot around here!
These two are the complete opposites, chalk and cheese, sour and sweet; one being pleasant and unruffled with glorious arms…sigh; glorious, gorgeous arms…and the other is growly and sweary with surprising gentleness, and yet they really work together. When around each other there is a shimmer in the air, playfulness and a little cheeky banter. And I love them both! The story is told out through Jake’s perspective which works fabulously as we do get a ‘feel’ of the real Jake quite early, but – and this is the only negative thing I will say about the book – I would have loved to occasionally read Locryn’s perceptive on certain situations too, that’s just my personal view.
City boy and incredibly sweary chef; Jake is stressed to the hilt, he is under pressure and under doctors orders to slow down but being a celebrity chef with a new TV show to film, that ain’t going to happen, especially when he must transform an old pirate ship into a classy and successful floating restaurant as he has done in the past with huge success. But the catch here, he is on a deadline and he has to do in time for a wedding. And another reason which is shooting up his blood pressure is a certain dashing and irritatingly proper baker. Jake would love to be anywhere else but in quiet Portavel, being surrounded by giant fibreglass cod’s, chirpy bakers and villagers who just happen to dislike him (at first)and being constantly harassed by a demoness of a producer.
Yup, our laddo is stressed, but thankfully he starts seeing that there is far more to this little fishing village then he originally came to think. And far more to the very polite, passionate and plummy toned, perfectly turned out, baking artist; Locyrn, the king of all things Cornish and the man who just happens to make Jake’s heart (and other places) go all a flutter with his ‘Goshs’ and ‘Fiddlesticks’.
I love the secondary match-making plot, that smoothly runs side by side to Locryn’s and Jake’s story and with it, we get to really see the softer, kinder and thoughtful Jake, the real Jake which he likes to hide behind the furiously raging and vile tongued celebrity chef persona. Plus that aspect of the story gives our lad’s the perfect chance to really get to know each other as they plot, expect lots of tongue in cheek flirting, sweet endearments and lots and lots of food. I think I went up a dress size just reading, all those pasty’s, cream buns and the bread…I am in bread heaven!!
The Captain and the Baker is a sweet, saucy, scrumptious and surprisingly very short love story. I love the second chance feel to it in regards with Jake, to me he starts off a little lost and then with Locyrn’s and little Dorothy’s help he is ‘found’. The setting is beautiful, with the briefest hint of sadness within the village. A great selection of colourful characters feature throughout, some you instantly adore and want them to be happy and then there is one in particular who you love to hate – thank goodness she hobbled off, leaving the rest to breathe freely.
This is such a great feel-good, delightful, cheerful and endearing read, which is full of real village charm and some very saucy, blush-worthy moments, I was laughing and sighing in equal measure.
Yet, again another winner from the dynamic duo, I am super excited to see what comes next!
This was an Arc via the authors, which I voluntarily reviewed. Thank you, Catherine and Eleanor! xx
#BlogTour | Darkest Night (Gabriella Darin #2) by Jenny O’Brien #DarkestNight #GabriellaDarinSeries #Review @ScribblerJB @HQdigitalUK
Hello, Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; Darkest Night by Jenny O’Brien. I am super excited to be sharing my review of this intense and thrilling book, I hope you love it as much as I do.
Darkest Night (Gabriella Darin #2) by Jenny O’Brien
Series: Gabriella Darin #2
Genre: Police Procedural, Crime Thriller
Format: ebook, paperback
Publication Date: 17th July 2020
DS Gaby Darin has a puzzle on her hands, a puzzle that defies explanation.
Christine de Bertrand certainly got more than she was expecting from the casual hook-up after a night celebrating the anniversary of her divorce. Arrested at the scene she has no explanation or alibi. She also has no one on her side apart from her ex-husband.
She’s as confounded as everyone else as to the unexplained presence of the dead body in her bed – the dead body of a woman when she’s positive she went to bed with a man…
This isn’t my usual reading type, I can’t explain why but I don’t really go in for police procedural, the ones I have read have been by authors I’ve read before when they have written books in other genre’s, and I have really enjoyed them, which is a little odd that I don’t read more from this genre. But this was completely new to me; New author, new series and a different genre, but there was something about the back blurb which shouted out to me, it intrigued me so much I threw my own rules of – only starting a new authors books at the beginning of their series’ – out of the window and accepted a place on this tour, and am I so pleased that I did as I loved every second of this gripping drama.
I absolutely loved that this is pretty much led by a female police officer, Gabby Darin is a brilliant character, in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years time The Gabriella Darin series isn’t made into a TV drama, and we all will be talking about it in the same breath as Vera and the mighty Prime Suspect.
The story starts off with a gripping bang, with a case that will test the detective’s skills and cunning. This is a real twisty case which gets the little grey cells turning. Christine de Bertrand, after a, what should have been a simple one night stand, turned out to be a nightmare, one that she can’t explain, after all, there is no explanation to the fact that she went to bed with a man who was very much alive only to wake with a woman who is very much dead, how can you rationally explain such a weird thing?
DC Gabby Darin has this inkling that there is something more to this case then meets the eye, but when one of their own is targeted and now with so much on the line and more lives at stake can Gabby and her team find the culprit before they strike again?
I have not read any of Jenny O’Brien’s work before this, but oh, my word what an introduction to this clever and hugely talented writers work, her writing is not only suspenseful but there is real confidence in her knowledge of the world she is writing about. I can say this for a certainty though, that this will not be my last Jenny O’Brien book, I can’t to read more from DC Gabriella Darin.
Darkest Night is a thrilling, intelligent and compelling ‘who-dunnit’ which will keep you turning the pages until all pieces of the jigsaw are put into place. With multiple suspects, multiple crimes, one of their very own in dangers way which hitched up the tempo a notch or two and so many twists and red-herrings, you never knew who was behind it all not until all was revealed which kept me glued right up to the very last page.
A real edge of your seat surprising thriller, If you love Lynda La Plant then you want to snap this up, DC Travis has got some real competition in the form of marvellous DC Gabby Darin.
About the Author
Jenny O’Brien was born in Dublin a very long time ago. From an early age she’d always hoped to write something; to write anything other than her name on the bottom of a cheque and then, with the introduction of automated banking she even lost that pleasure. Therefore she was forced to pick up a pen and pad and start scribbling and since then she’s never stopped.
She writes in most genres except horror, sci-fi and fantasy. The Stepsister, released in 2018 was her first thriller and no one could have been more surprised than her when it stuck in the Amazon bestseller chart for 5 weeks and that with no paid advertising.
Jenny can be found on Twitter at @ScribblerJB and on her blog https://jennyobrienwriter.wordpress.com/
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