#Review The Murder Pit (Arrowood Series #2) by Mick Finlay (@mickfinlay2) #BlogTour #MurderPit #ArrowoodSeries #HistoricalFiction #Victorian #Mystery @HQStories

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I have the great pleasure to be sharing my review of The Murder Pit by Mick Finley as apart of this great blog tour.

Where Evil Lies Buried

1896: Sherlock Holmes has once again hit the headlines, solving mysteries for the cream of aristocracy. But among the workhouses and pudding shops of South London, private detective William Arrowood is presented with far grittier, more violent and considerably less well-paid cases. Arrowood has no doubt who is the better detective, and when Mr. and Mrs. Barclay engage him to find their estranged daughter, Birdie, he’s sure it won’t be long before he and his assistant, Barnett, have tracked her down.

But this seemingly simple missing-person case soon turns into a murder investigation. Far from the comfort of Baker Street, Arrowood’s London is a city of unrelenting cruelty, where evil is waiting to be uncovered…

Well, what can I say about this, but utterly brilliant! It has a real Sherlock Holmes come Ripper Street feel to it, I was instantly drawn into the case and was glued right to the last page. As soon as I saw the cover I knew that I needed to read it, it looked so interesting and that was before reading the back blurb and I was not disappointed. I didn’t realise that this was apart of a series, I read this very much as a stand-a-lone and going by the superb quality of this I know that I will be reading more.

What I love about this is that Arrowood and Barnett are well and truly on the side of the regular people, the working and lower classes the people who the mighty Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson would never sully their hands with. The whole country is applauding the ‘genius’ that is Sherlock Holmes, the cream of the aristocratic stock are hiring Mr Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson to solve their mysteries for them. Yet, what about the lower classes? Those that can’t afford Sherlock’s substantial fee’s and those that aren’t deemed worthy of helping. In steps Arrowood!

It’s Victorian London, William Arrowood is a Private Investigator and along with his assistant Norman Barrett they take on the cases that Sherlock Holes won’t. They are approached by the Barclay’s who want Arrowood to find their daughter; Birdie who after marrying Walter Ockwell a pig farmer, hasn’t been in contact with her parents. The Barclay’s are worried that Birdie is in some way being stopped by her husband’s family from contacting them and because she is ‘simple-minded’ and ‘malleable’ they worry she may be being mistreated.

What appears to be a simple case, turns into something very different indeed, as Arrowood and Barnett find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy involving a local asylum, the murder of an old woman; Mrs Gillie, plus threats and violence at every corner as they try to find the truth of what has happened to Mrs Gillie what is going on at the Ockwell farm. But with the Ockwell family, the local police constable and the village all silent and protective of each other it becomes clear to Arrowood and Barnett that this case is far from easy and it will take them on a dark, violent and at times very uncomfortable journey.

I really like how this is written, we see the whole story play out not through the lead character; Arrowood’s eyes, but through the point of view of his assistant Barrett. I think that is so funny how Arrowood genuinely appears to hate Sherlock Holmes, whenever the man is mentioned or another of his cases appears in the paper Arrowood just sees red, which also makes him either reach for the laudanum or whatever tasty morsel he can get his chubby hands on. He truly believes himself to on par as an investigator as Holmes, personally I prefer Arrowood to Sherlock. He isn’t one to search and follow the clues he is more a thinker, he uses his intellect in human nature to solve the crimes – today he would be referred more of a psychoanalyst.

Mick Finlay has written a brilliant story that is engaging, atmospheric and addictive reading and I can guarantee any who loves historical fiction and a good crime mystery will love meeting Arrowood. I do love a Victorian set story and this is one of the best I’ve read, Finley has clearly done unbelievable amounts of research into the Victorian era and more so into how the Victorians used to treat those who had a disability or mental health issue. Which is astounding the cruelty what they showed to them, thank heaven times have changed. His meticulous attention to detail brings the story to life, it is as though the reader has been transported from their armchair to Arrowood’s dark world which is full of conspiracy and lies. The writing is solid, it captures the reader’s imagination with absolute clarity.

Over this is a brilliant introduction to this authors work, imaginative, dark, thrilling, fast-paced, and original. Definitely one that will be pulled of the bookshelf again and again, I can’t wait for the next Arrowood mystery.

Very highly recommended!

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour, Thank you Joe and the HQ Stories review team.

The Murder Pit is available from Amazon and I highly recommend you buy it.

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#Review Exploring The Lives Of Women, 1558 – 1837 by Louise Duckling, Sara Read, Felicity Roberts & Carolyn D. Williams @WSGUK #ExploringTheLivesOfWomen #WomensHistory #WomensStudiesGroup via @penswordbooks

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Exploring the Lives of Women, 1558-1837 is an engaging and lively collection of original, thought-provoking essays. Its route from Lady Jane Grey’s nine-day reign to Queen Victoria’s accession provides ample opportunities to examine complex interactions between gender, rank, and power. Yet the book’s scope extends far beyond queens: its female cast includes servants, aristocrats, literary women, opera singers, actresses, fallen women, athletes and mine workers.

The collection explores themes relating to female power and physical strength; infertility, motherhood, sexuality and exploitation; creativity and celebrity; marriage and female friendship. It draws upon a wide range of primary materials to explore diverse representations of women: illuminating accounts of real women’s lives appear alongside fictional portrayals and ideological constructions of femininity. In exploring women’s negotiations with patriarchal control, this book demonstrates how the lived experience of women did not always correspond to prescribed social and gendered norms, revealing the rich complexity of their lives.

This volume has been published to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837. The group was formed to promote research into any aspect of women’s lives as experienced or depicted within this period. The depth, range and creativity of the essays in this book reflect the myriad interests of its members.

 

This is a fascinating collection of essays that covers all aspects of women’s history and the women themselves from Lady Jane Grey to Eliza O’Neill and many, many more between, plus there are essays on women’s rights, lives, sports, intellect, novels and even sex. I was intrigued by it as soon as I saw it and it did not disappoint. If you are interested in women’s history and the more under-celebrated figures from women history then this will be the perfect book. It is a compelling, richly historic and fabulously written book which will entertain as well as educate.

I was particularly engaged with the chapter about the three ‘radical’ Mary’s; Mary Wollenstonecraft, Mary Hays and Mary Robinson now I have heard of all three, any woman who each in their own way fought for women’s rights and to educate not just women but men too. I thought this particular chapter was wonderfully written, with great insights into these fascinating women plus highly educational, I never knew that Mary Shelley was the daughter of Mary Wollenstonecraft, how amazing!

Plus, the chapter about women’s running is utterly fascinating, I never knew that between 1700 and 1749 there was a t least 68 ladies running races across the country, how fascinating is that? It was those essays that focused more on the ordinary woman such as the brave women who went down the colliery which really jumped out at me, that is one of the reasons I really connected with this book, was the fact that’s its not all about royals and aristocrats its got a lot of depth into the ordinary woman and what she faced.

For those that are more fond of novel’s and lighter historic non-fiction this may be a little heavy, but I would definitely recommend everyone to read it, and the beauty of this book is that you necessarily have to read it in order, you can very easily jump in an out and it will make a fantastic research book for anyone who writing, if you have a woman in your work in progress then I would definitely have a read of this, it will amaze you.

A great book, and one that definitely should be any woman’s bookshelf.

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review, Thank you Rosie.

Exploring The Lives Of Women 1558 – 1837 can be purchased from Amazon and Pen & Sword.

#Review The Viscounts Veiled Lady (Whitby Wedding’s #3) by Jenni Fletcher (@JenniAuthor) #TheViscountsVeiledLady #WhitbyWeddings #Victorian #Romance @MillsandBoons @HarlequinBooks

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A lady hidden from society
A viscount with his own secrets…

When Frances Webster meets brooding Arthur Amberton on Whitby shore he’s a different man from the dashing young gentleman she once carried a flame for. But life has changed her too. After a tragic accident left her scarred, physically and emotionally, she’s led a solitary life. She cherishes their new friendship, and yet she can’t help but hope Arthur sees the beauty within her…

 

Now this is truly wonderful, I have been waiting with bated breath for Arthur’s story since briefly meeting him in the previous book. I fell in love with his brother Lance the minute I set eyes on him, but I was fascinated with Arthur, I wanted to know him and know why he disappeared and the results of it. He was so different to Lance and I can happily say that this was well worth the wait, Ms Fletcher has pulled out all the stops with this beauty. It is such a loving story all about two people who after both suffering their own personal heartaches find themselves a bit lost in the world, Frances and Arthur are in need of love that can only come from another who understand them and loves them for who they are.

When Arthur Amberton returns after his mysterious disappearance Frances is sent with a message to him from her sister; Lydia – who just happened to be secretly engaged to Arthur that is until he disappeared, now he is back Lydia is determined to be Lady of the manor, she thinks that if she can get him alone for just ten minutes he will fall helplessly in love with her and take her off to Amberton Castle, only problem with that plan is one she is currently in mourning and can not leave the house and two Arthur knows the real Lydia he knows what a manipulator and gold digger she is and wants noting to do with her. Which is where Frances comes in, she can be the messenger.

Frances only goes along with her sister’s slightly mad plan because Lydia being a selfish, spiteful, spoilt little madam, practically blackmail’s Frances into doing her dirty work. Frances would rather not meddle in their affairs she is far happier making her jet jewellery but with her sisters spiteful threat she dons her veil and off she goes across beautiful Whitby to find a man who no longer wishes to be apart of civilization again and try to persuade him to give her sister the second she Frances knows Lydia doesn’t deserve. Only as with all great romances stories all doesn’t exactly go to plan and what should have a been a simple message delivery turns into a twisted ankle, dinner with the two broodingly beautiful Amberton brother’s at Amberton Castles and one sinful lordly pig farmer scandalously peeling off her stockings…ouh, la la! Followed with lots of pent-up lust, frustration, overwhelming emotions and picnics on the beach accompanied with some seriously delicious cakes.

But it’s not all plain sailing (the expression wasn’t intentional, but quite fitting) and cake eating, our two have got serious issues to over come before either of them can even think about moving on and taking that huge step with one another. And this is where the story really comes into it’s own, and where Ms Fletcher excels with her gift for portraying most subtle of human emotion in ways that grabs the reader’s heart. For me it’s is their connection, the fact that they are both fractured and how between the two of them they learn to move forward and to be at peace. The story really focuses on their psychological emotion, their pain, their vulnerability and their eventual hope for the future, which I found utterly heart-warming to read.

Frances is such an amazing lady, I felt a real connection with her, she resonated with me in ways that doesn’t often happen, I understood her. She is a real understated heroine, she is selfless, imaginative, creative, brave and she has an inner strength and intelligence about her that I found utterly captivating. She is has lived her life after her terrible accident under the illusion that she is now destined to be alone, that she isn’t worth anything and worse she truly thinks herself as a burden because of misunderstandings she has always feared to be an embarrassment to her family which is one of the reasons why she covers her scar with the veil and why she finds so much happiness and peace from making her jewellery.

Arthur is so different to how we last saw him, he is a large, brooding, self-conscious, vulnerable, tender, sensual, ruggedly handsome and he has quite the foul mouth. Plus since his return he has cast off the ‘proper’ gentleman etiquette and has thrown himself into his farm….there really is nothing funnier and, may I say sexier than a gorgeous man running around after piglet’s 🙂 I found he also has a real darkness about him, he appears locked in to his self loathing thoughts and it is only the pure, kind, caring and loving heart of Frances that really makes him see past the darkness and into the light.

This is an enchanting story about second chances, about over coming great inner conflict to find your happily ever after. The romance between Frances and Author sizzles right from the off – well its’ not surprising seeing as when she first sees him again, while he was not wearing a great deal and left little to the imagination. There is a spark between them that ignites into some more the longer they are around one and other, and when they kiss….my, oh my! The air fizzles with lust and romance, it is well worth the wait, I can tell you. Their relationship develops in a very natural way and it is that what readers can relate to and will fall in love with – after all who hasn’t shared a cake at a picnic with a loved one?

Utterly captivating! An exquisite, beautifully written story of heart-felt love that will leave the reader with enchanted and yet again proves what an exceptional writer Ms Fletcher is and worth her weight in gold!

This was an Arc via the author in exchange for an honest review, Thank you Jenni.

The Viscounts Veiled Lady is to be released on 24 January and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

#BookBlast Fortress of The Sun by E.M. Thomas (@EMThomasAuthor) & #Giveaway #FortressoftheSun #AncientGreece #historicalfiction via @HFVBT #HFVBTBlogTours

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Fortress of the Sun
by E.M. Thomas

Publication Date: December 26, 2018
Paperback & eBook; 300 Pages
Rokhish Press

Genre: Historical/Greek & Roman

 

 

Read an Excerpt.

It’s 243 B.C. and Greece is ready for a revolution.

Eighty years have passed since the death of Alexander the Great, the man who first cowed free Hellas into submission. His successors to the Macedonian throne have only tightened their grip in the interim, the present king no exception. Spartan rebellions, opportunistic usurpers, foreign invaders – for nearly five decades, King Antigonus has seen them all and crushed them all. He now stands alone astride Greece; he fears no one.

Aratus of Sicyon plans to change that. With a passion for freedom and hatred for the King that stem from the same childhood tragedy, he takes aim at Macedon when no one else would dare; takes aim at its crown jewel in the south, the linchpin of its control, the very symbol of its domination – Corinth. Hopelessly outfunded, outmanned, and outarmed, he embarks on one of the most audacious and stunning attacks in ancient history, one that would change Greece forever.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

E.M. Thomas is an author of two novels – an epic fantasy (The Bulls of War) and a historical fiction set in Ancient Greece (Fortress of the Sun).

E.M. was born and raised on the East Coast of the United States but is a world traveler at heart. He caught the writing bug early on and has a passion for all good fiction, but especially that of the fantasy and historical variety. One of his favorite moments thus far in his young career was writing a chapter of his latest book about the great battle of Corinth – while sitting amidst the ruins of ancient Corinth.

For all news and updates related to E.M. Thomas, visit www.emthomas.com. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Make sure you check out the rest of this book blast below.

Wednesday, December 26
Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 27
Book Reviews from Canada
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Friday, December 28
Pursuing Stacie
Locks, Hooks and Books

Saturday, December 29
Just One More Chapter

Monday, December 31
What Is That Book About

Wednesday, January 2
Let Them Read Books

Thursday, January 3
Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, January 4
The Writing Desk

Monday, January 7
Dorie’s Reading Corner

Friday, January 11
Coffee and Ink

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the link below to take you to the Gleam form.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 11th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Fortress of the Sun
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Chicks, Rogues and Scandals; Favourite Books of 2018. #FavouriteBooks #BestBooksof2018

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It’s that time of year again we have made through the madness that is Christmas is over and now we are heading on that one way road towards a whole New Year. A new year of great new books, I can hardly wait! But before we reach 2019 I first must share with you my favourite books of 2018, and believe me, this was no mean feat.

I have read so many great books over the last twelve months, books from authors that I know and love, books from new-to-me authors who are now on my to-read-again list. I have discovered whole new era’s and gone out my regular reading pattern of only reading historical romance and I have started to branch out in other genre’s such as erotic romance and non-fiction. It really has been a very busy year, so when I sat down to write this post I got a bit stumped. How could I pick a handful of my favourite books from all which I have read? As hard as it was to whittle over hundred books down to just twenty, there are one or two that didn’t need any thinking about, and then there was one which really stood out for me and that I have named my Chicks, Rogues and Scandals Best Book of 2018….You’ll need to read the full post to find out what it is though!

Before I share my Chicks, Rogues and Scandals; Favourite Twenty Books of 2018 with you, I firstly want to thank all the amazing authors who have been above kind and generous to entrust their precious work to me to review. You are all amazing, thank you!

So in no particular order, here are my Favourite Twenty Books of 2018!

Tempting The Laird (Highland Grooms #5) by Julia London

Mystery and desire cloak the Scottish Highlands

Unruly. Unmarried. Unapologetic. Catriona Mackenzie’s reputation precedes her everywhere she goes. Her beloved late aunt Zelda taught Cat to live out loud and speak her mind, and that’s exactly what she does when Zelda’s legacy—a refuge for women in need—comes under fire. When her quest puts her in the path of the disturbingly mysterious Hamlin Graham, Duke of Montrose, Cat is soon caught up in the provocative rumors surrounding the dark duke. Never one to retreat, Cat boldly goes where no one else has dared for answers.

Shrouded in secrets, a hostage of lies, Hamlin must endure the fear and suspicion of those who believe he is a murderer. The sudden disappearance of his wife and the truth he keeps silent are a risk to his chances at earning a coveted parliamentary seat. But he’s kept his affairs tightly held until a woman with sparkling eyes and brazen determination appears unexpectedly in his life. Deadly allegations might be his downfall, but his unleashed passion could be the duke’s ultimate undoing.

King’s Knight by Regan Walker

WINNER OF THE 2017 RONE AWARD (best medieval romance)!

HE SEIZED LIFE BY THE THROAT

Dubbed the Black Wolf for his raven hair, his fierceness in battle and his way with women, Sir Alexander of Talisand attacked life as he did the king’s enemies. But acclaim on the battlefield and his lusty escapades did not satisfy. King William Rufus would bind him to Normandy through marriage to one of its noblewomen, but the only woman Alexander wanted was a commoner he had saved from a terrible fate.

SHE KEPT MEN AT BAY WITH HER BOW

The shame of being the child of a Norman’s rape dogged Merewyn’s steps from her youth. Determined never to be a victim of a man’s lust like her mother, in Wales she donned the garb of an archer and developed extraordinary skill with a bow. Despite her fair beauty, men now keep their distance. No longer in need of protection from other men, can Merewyn protect herself from Alexander when he holds her heart yet can never be hers?

The Matrimonial Advertisement (Parish Orphans of Devon#1) by Mimi Matthews

She Wanted Sanctuary…

Helena Reynolds will do anything to escape her life in London, even if that means traveling to a remote cliffside estate on the North Devon coast and marrying a complete stranger. But Greyfriar’s Abbey isn’t the sort of refuge she imagined. And ex-army captain Justin Thornhill–though he may be tall, dark, and devastatingly handsome–is anything but a romantic hero.

He Needed Redemption…

Justin has spent the last two decades making his fortune, settling scores, and suffering a prolonged period of torture in an Indian prison. Now, he needs someone to smooth the way for him with the villagers. Someone to manage his household–and warm his bed on occasion. What he needs, in short, is a wife and a matrimonial advertisement seems the perfect way to acquire one.

Their marriage was meant to be a business arrangement and nothing more. A dispassionate union free from the entanglements of love and affection. But when Helena’s past threatens, will Justin’s burgeoning feelings for his new bride compel him to come to her rescue? Or will dark secrets of his own force him to let her go?

The One by Maria Realf

You never forget the one.
You’ll never forget this book.

’A beautiful, believable writer…5 stars’ THE SUN

Fall in love with this beautiful love story. A must read for fans of Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You and Cecelia Ahern’s PS I Love You

Lizzie Sparkes should be the happiest girl in the world – she’s three months away from marrying The One in the wedding of her dreams! But then The One before the One walks back in to her life with a bombshell.

Alex’s unexpected return changes everything and now Lizzie faces an impossible dilemma. Because how can you leave the past behind you, when it’s standing right in front of you…asking you for one more chance?

A Scandalous Winter Wedding (Matches Made In Scandal #4) by Marguerite Kaye

From one snowy Christmas… … to a sizzling hot reunion!

A Matches Made in Scandal story: Kirstin Blair has spent seven years trying to forget brooding Cameron Dunbar. Now self-made man Cameron needs her help to recover his missing niece, and Kirstin must face the truth: seeing him again sparks the same irresistible attraction that first brought them together! She must decide… Resist, or give in to temptation and risk Cameron discovering everything she’s fought so hard to protect…

Awakened By The Prince’s Passion (Russian Royal Of Kuban #3) by Bronwyn Scott

A lost princess…

And the prince who will protect her!

In this Russian Royals of Kuban story, Crown Princess Dasha is plucked from the flames of rebellion and sent to London with no memory of the past. Everyone says she’s heiress to Kuban’s throne… She trusts Ruslan Pisarev on first sight–he becomes her protector, her confidante, even her lover. But can Ruslan claim her forever when she is awakened to the truth of her identity?

Sent As The Viking’s Bride by Michelle Styles

She’s the wife he doesn’t want…
…and the woman he needs!

Desperate to escape her murderous brother-in-law and protect her young sister, Ragnhild agrees to marry an unknown warrior, and arrives penniless at his remote island. Only Gunnar Olafson’s belief in love died with his family—he does not want a bride! But as yuletide approaches Ragnhild transforms his isolated existence. Can she melt her Viking warrior’s frozen heart?

The Earls Irresistible Challenge (Sinful Sinclairs #1) by Lara Temple

Could this infamous rake…

…finally have found his Countess?

Part of The Sinful Sinclairs. When Lucas, Lord Sinclair, receives a mysterious summons from a Miss Olivia Silverdale he’s sceptical about helping her. But Olivia, although eccentric, is in earnest about her quest to restore her late godfather’s reputation. Lucas’s curiosity is piqued—and not just by Olivia’s intelligent eyes and lithe form. A new challenge quickly presents itself: keeping Miss Silverdale at arm’s length!

The Makings of a Lady by Catherine Tinley

Be calm, she thought.

Be gracious. Be twenty-two.

Lady Olivia Fanton is eager to prove she’s no longer a child. However, just as she thinks she’s found a suitable match in the suave Mr Manning, charismatic Captain Jem Ford walks back into her life, bringing with him all the embarrassment of her infatuation four years before! She’s determined to appear mature, distant, friendly. But does she dare hope he’ll notice her as the lady she’s become?

Warriors Bride Prize by Jenni Fletcher

Daughter of a slave…

…wedded to the warrior!

Livia Valeria is furious when she’s ruthlessly gambled away by her intended bridegroom. Luckily, it’s tall, muscled and darkly handsome Roman centurion Marius Varro who wins her as his bride! She must hide her Caledonian roots, but when Marius faces a barbarian rebellion at Hadrian’s Wall, Livia must make a choice: her heritage or the husband she’s falling for…

The Duke With The Dragon Tattoo (Victorian Rebels #6) by Kerrigan Byrne

The bravest of heroes. The brashest of rebels. The boldest of lovers. These are the men who risk their hearts and their souls—for the passionate women who dare to love them…

He is known only as The Rook. A man with no name, no past, no memories. He awakens in a mass grave, a magnificent dragon tattoo on his muscled forearm the sole clue to his mysterious origins. His only hope for survival—and salvation—lies in the deep, fiery eyes of the beautiful stranger who finds him. Who nurses him back to health. And who calms the restless demons in his soul…

A LEGENDARY LOVE

Lorelei will never forget the night she rescued the broken dark angel in the woods, a devilishly handsome man who haunts her dreams to this day. Crippled as a child, she devoted herself to healing the poor tortured man. And when he left, he took a piece of her heart with him. Now, after all these years, The Rook has returned. Like a phantom, he sweeps back into her life and avenges those who wronged her. But can she trust a man who’s been branded a rebel, a thief, and a killer? And can she trust herself to resist him when he takes her in his arms?

Lady Cecily And The Mysterious Mr Gray (The Beauchamp Betrophals #3) by Janice Preston

Love or family…

How can she choose between them?

Lady Cecily Beauchamp has always put her family first. Until she falls under the spell of the mysterious Zachary Gray – a man of Romany descent. Knowing her family will forbid their match, Cecily steels herself to do her duty and marry elsewhere. Only she finds herself irresistibly drawn to Zach as the spark between them ignites a passion neither can deny!

Captain And The Cavalry Trooper (Captivating Captains #1) by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead

As the Great War tears Europe apart, two men from different worlds find sanctuary in each other’s arms.

Captain Robert Thorne is the fiercest officer in the regiment. Awaiting the command to go to the front, he has no time for simpering, comely lads. That’s until one summer day in 1917 when his dark, flashing eye falls upon the newest recruit at Chateau de Desgravier, a fresh-faced farmer’s boy with little experience of life and a wealth of poetry in his heart.

Trooper Jack Woodvine has a way with strong, difficult stallions, and whispers them to his gentle will. Yet even he has never tamed a creature like Captain Thorne.

With the shadow of the Great War and the scheming of enemies closer to home threatening their fleeting chance at happiness, can the Captain and the Cavalry Trooper make it home safely? More importantly, will they see peacetime together?

Miss Moonshine’s Emporium Of Happy Endings by Mary Jayne Baker, Sophie Claire, Jacqui Cooper, Helena Fairfax, Kate Field, Melinda Hammond, Maria Laval, Helen Pollard – Otherwise known as Authors On The Edge.

Sometimes what you need is right there waiting for you…

Miss Moonshine’s Wonderful Emporium has stood in the pretty Yorkshire town of Haven Bridge for as long as anyone can remember. With her ever-changing stock, Miss Moonshine has a rare gift for providing exactly what her customers need: a fire opal necklace that provides a glimpse of a different life; a novel whose phantom doodler casts a spell over the reader; a music box whose song links love affairs across the generations. One thing is for certain: after visiting Miss Moonshine’s quirky shop, life is never the same again…

Nine romantic novelists from Yorkshire and Lancashire, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have joined together to create this collection of uplifting stories guaranteed to warm your heart. This intriguing mix of historical and contemporary romances will make you laugh, cry, and believe in the happy-ever-after

Captain Amberton’s Inherited Bride (Whitby Weddings #2) by Jenni Fletcher

“Marry me…

and you’ll have your freedom.”

Her father’s will dictates Violet Harper must wed or be disinherited—yet she’d rather face the wilderness of the wintry Yorkshire moors than be bound to cynical, damaged soldier Captain Lance Amberton. Lance promises a marriage of convenience that will grant Violet her independence. In exchange, she must put her faith in Lance and see beyond his gruff exterior to the man beneath…

One Week To Wed (The Sommersby Brides #1) by Laurie Benson

One stolen night…

…leads to unexpected wedding vows!

Widowed Lady Charlotte Gregory believes she’ll never marry again after losing her husband. Until meeting dashing Lord Andrew Pearce brings her respectable, lonely world back to vibrant life! Left alone one night, they give in to their desires only to find their secret passion leads to shock, scandal…and a sudden marriage of convenience

Outlaw To Protect Her (Outlaws Of The Wild West #3 ) by Harper St George

Running from her past…

Into the arms of an outlaw!

In this Outlaws of the Wild West story, gunslinger Zane Pierce is the only man who can shield brothel madam Glory Winters against a dangerous threat. But safety at the smoldering Zane’s side comes at a price, and soon it’s not just the secrets of her past that have Glory on edge…it’s the realization that she might be losing her heart to an outlaw!

Mysterious Lord Millcroft (The Kings Elite #1) by Virginia Heath

Life as a duchess…

Or something much more dangerous?

Part of The King’s Elite: constantly told her beauty and charm are all she has to offer, Lady Clarissa is intent on marrying a duke. And intriguing spy Sebastian Leatham will help her! Only, first she’ll assist him with his new assignment—playing the part of confident aristocrat Lord Millcroft. Sebastian awakens a burning desire within Clarissa that leaves her questioning whether becoming a duchess is what she truly longs for…

How To Bake A New Beginning by Lucy Knott

Three sisters. One trip to Italy. The chance to change their lives.

Amanda has always taken the role of big sister seriously. She has her life in order; a fantastic job in a great restaurant, a wonderful house and a best friend who’s a Rockstar. But, Amanda’s beginning to realise that her life is missing one monumental piece…

Sabrina is living the high life in LA. Her Instagram is full of lavish parties, her tweets are brimming with celebrity names, but in reality she’s stuck behind a desk working for a boss who is determined to make her suffer. Is it time for her to stand up and take charge of her life?

Louisa has always been drowned out by her sister’s successes. As the university drop-out she’s always felt third best. But a chance encounter in a little Italian village may be about to change that…

When their beloved grandfather passes away these sisters are forced to take another look at their lives. These three sisters are about to embark on a journey of self-discovery that could just lead them down a road of romance (with a little help from the kitchen)!

Perfect for fans of Jenny Oliver, Carole Mathews and Lucy Diamond.

And Finally, Chicks Rogues and Scandals Best Book of 2018 is…

Beguiled By The Forbidden Knight by Elisabeth Hobbes

He’s her enemy…

…and she must not fall for him!

When her mistress is claimed as an enemy knight’s betrothed, handmaiden Aelfhild knows it would be too dangerous for her lady; she must go in her place. But there’s more to the scarred knight than she first thought—she isn’t expecting to fall for him! As the line between friend and enemy blurs, Aelfhild realizes she might be protecting her mistress, but not her heart…

***

So there you have them, this year was so hard to choose my Best Books but this twenty are incredible books which I cannot recommend highly enough. Each one is full of fun, emotion and some of the best character’s I have come across, so do go and try these books and the authors. They are incredible gifted people who I cannot wait to read more of.

Until I see you all again in 2019, have a very happy New Year!

Frankie xx

#Review King’s Knight (Medieval Warriors Series #4) by Regan Walker (@RegansReview) #MedievalWarriors #KingsKnight #Medieval #Romance

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WINNER OF THE 2017 RONE AWARD (best medieval romance)!

HE SEIZED LIFE BY THE THROAT

Dubbed the Black Wolf for his raven hair, his fierceness in battle and his way with women, Sir Alexander of Talisand attacked life as he did the king’s enemies. But acclaim on the battlefield and his lusty escapades did not satisfy. King William Rufus would bind him to Normandy through marriage to one of its noblewomen, but the only woman Alexander wanted was a commoner he had saved from a terrible fate.

SHE KEPT MEN AT BAY WITH HER BOW

The shame of being the child of a Norman’s rape dogged Merewyn’s steps from her youth. Determined never to be a victim of a man’s lust like her mother, in Wales she donned the garb of an archer and developed extraordinary skill with a bow. Despite her fair beauty, men now keep their distance. No longer in need of protection from other men, can Merewyn protect herself from Alexander when he holds her heart yet can never be hers?

My goodness, me this is good! In fact the word ‘good’ is too mild of a term to describe just how unbelievably great this book is. No wonder that this was the winner of the 2017 RONE award, it is fantastic and exactly how a Medieval Romance should be written! I always know that whenever I pick up a Regan Walker book, I am going to instantly fall in love with it, but there is something rather special about King’s Knight, it is an intriguing, seductive, edge of your seat and exhilarating romance set in a time where chivalry and honour reigned. This is what I love about the medieval era to start with that it was a dark, perilous and dangerous as well as being a time where the world was full of chivalric, loyal, honour bound with absolute love – once found.

This is the last book in the brilliant Medieval Warriors series, and it feels like we have come full circle, the series started with Serena and Raynard; (otherwise known as the Red Wolf) Lord and Lady of Talisand and now we are back where we started but this time with their son; Alexander – who I have to say, I am in absolute love with!

As children Alexander; the little lord-ling of the mighty Red Wolf saves scared, vulnerable illegitimate Merewyn when she was about to be attacked by the boys from the village who just because she is the result of her poor mother being raped, Merewyn is now seen only as a but of a plaything, that is until the devil himself turns up by her side. Merewyn then went on to train as an archer in Wales and Alex went to train to be the Lord, Knight and warrior he was meant to be.

Years later, it is now 1091 and the fearsome Red Wolf’s cub is now a full-grown man, a brilliant Knight in his own regard, he is now back at home after spending years away fighting for King and country and training to be the deadly Knight he is now. He has a sinful reputation as a most sought after lover and ladies man, something which he Alex has thoroughly enjoyed that is until he comes face to face with the one woman who has been in the back of his mind since he rescued her years before. Merewyn is a tantalising, mysterious and utterly breathtaking woman, she is so different to his usual conquests a brilliant archer in her own right and a woman a lot like his own mother who would much rather wear men’s clothes and go out in the hunt then stay at home in pretty gowns sewing. To say Alex is instantly attracted to her is an understatement.

The chemistry sizzles between them, the air practically crackles with pent-up sexual tension and mutual lust, you just know that these two are just meant to be together. They are like two sides of the same coin, both different but together are one. Unfortunately all is not on our love birds side, as Alex is devastated to learn that the King has picked his bride for him, a woman who will bring together the two mighty houses, but this woman has got a deadly reputation not just because she has a habit of ridding herself of unwanted husbands – which did make me think of a black widow spider, but Alex’s intended also sees Merewyn as a threat. Add a war expected at any moment which very would mean Alex’s death, will our destined couple be torn apart in the most cruelest of ways, or will the Black Wolf and the Archer have their happy ever after?

My goodness, if there ever was a moment for a #DoubleSwoon, then now is the time. I didn’t think that my all time favourite Regan Walker character; Jean Donet could be pushed down to number two, but Alexander has done it. He is a passionate, fearsome, intelligent, strong, sexy, loyal and protective man who loves his family above all else. The way he looks up to his might father; Raynard, The Red Wolf is wonderful, to Alex his sire is the one man in the whole world who he admires and aspires to be. I love the scene when Alex and his father have a sword fight in the Talisand games, it’s wonderfully to see the Red Wolf and his ‘cub’ go head on head and how playful Raynard is with Alex, wonderful scene. It is that particular personality trait; the family orientated one that I loved about him. The way he treats his fellow knights no matter what their rank with respect and friendship is another trait that I love about him and the fact that yes he has a reputation for being a ladies man but the moment that he is reunited with beautiful Merewyn, he is a one woman man. She is everything to him, she brings light into his life.

She really is an amazing young lady, after her early ordeal when she was rescued by Alex she swore that no man would ever touch her, she would protect herself. Which is where the always brilliant Serena; lady of Talisand comes in, Serena was and still is the queen of the bow and arrow – I have always loved Serena she is a strong, resilient woman who is so caring and she shares those traits with the younger woman. Merewyn fights for her place and she has worked hard to over come her unfortunate start in life, she is bold, resilient, loyal, brave and deadly as well as being vulnerable, cynical and passionate. When she chooses to give her love and heart to someone they are extremely fortunate. She has always held a light for Alex but being lowly born and illegitimate she knows that the heir of Talisand is too far above her, but that doesn’t stop her heart beating out a rapid beat when ever she sees him. Or when they secretly kiss – oh, my those kisses are incredible; sweet, tender, sexy, passionate, loving.

I love how Ms Walker has answered all the questions that I had throughout this series, such as what would happen with the young orphan Jamie, is my favourite Welsh archer and the other Knights such as Sir Alain happy? All of their stories are revealed and the series – even though it is sad that there will be no more ‘Medieval Warriors’ – has finished in a good place leaving the reader very happy and satisfied.

This is a tantalising, action-packed, atmospheric, engaging, passionate, powerful, compelling – I am running out of complimentary descriptive words – brilliantly written, an emotional page-tuner that I can guarantee will have you hooked from that very first page. The story sweeps the reader along at a marvellous pace, you are taken on an spell-binding journey which is full of thrills, twists and turns and a gorgeous romance all entwined with meticulously researched and rich history. Ms Walker as ever has put her heart and soul and many, many hours of love into this, it’s so rich in detail that it’s as though you have been transported from your armchair to Medieval Yorkshire.

This book is really too good to be true, fantastic characters, mesmerizing plot a superb ending to what is an amazing series.

Simply stunning!

Kings Knight is available from Amazon, and I cannot recommend it enough!

#Review To Love, Honour and Obey (The Yorkshire Saga #1) by Valerie Holmes (@ValerieHolmesUK) #TheYorkshireSaga #ToLoveHonourAndObey @SapereBooks

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Regency England is under threat in this page-turning romantic adventure! For fans of Georgette Heyer, Mary Balogh, Jane Aiken Hodge and Jane Austen.

With Napoleon’s spies hidden all over England, no one can be trusted…1805, England

Six years ago, Willoughby Rossington’s father was murdered while searching for the head of a smuggling ring.
Taken under the wing of his uncle, who is running a counter-intelligence operation against Napoleon’s spies, Willoughby is assigned to take up his father’s last mission—and to avenge his death. He encounters a young serving woman, Beth, whose resilience against her master’s attempts to break her will strike a chord in him and he reluctantly takes her with him when he leaves town.
But it soon becomes clear that they have a common enemy…

Their two lives become intertwined as they race against the villains that plot to destroy them both.
Will they uncover the truth behind the smuggling ring and find who is responsible for the death of Willoughby’s father? Can they stay safe as they continue to work their way deeper into the mystery? And, most importantly, will love conquer all? Or will duty and honour come between them?

TO LOVE, HONOUR AND OBEY is the first book in The Yorkshire Saga: a traditional British, Regency romance novel full of adventure and espionage, with a love story at its heart.

This is the first I have read by Valerie Holmes, and by this and how her writing instantly drew me into to her story I will definitely be reading more. I was instantly intrigued by the description it, it sounded fascinating. One thing that I will say is that even though it is labelled as a historical romance, I would say that it’s more historical fiction/suspense. Yes, there is a ‘will-they-won’t-they’ sub plot between the two lead character’s, but nothing really happens between them. I saw them more as friends which could then lead to something more, so please let that put you off reading this, as it has a great little historical suspense story which will definitely keep you hooked.

Willoughby Rossington is a secret agent who has been ordered to pose as a priest to uncover the corruption and smugglers of a little village in Yorkshire, a village which are a very close knit community and who have many secrets. Willoughby isn’t happy with this assignment he would much rather relinquish his role as a private agent and that of a priest and take a position in the military as he has always wanted. But more importantly for him, he wants to find out what happened to his father six years ago, who dies in very mysterious circumstances which Willoughby is positive that it was murder.

On his first day he meets a young bar maid called Beth who it appears may know more than she lets on and how is desperate to escape the evil clutches of her so called guardian, a horrific man who has taken advantage of the fact that Beth is an orphan, she is from the workhouse and he thinks it’s his god given right to rape and abuse her whenever he wants to. Honestly I have come across some cretinous characters, but this vile creature is awful. It is not surprising that because of her terrible start in life and how she has been treated she is distrusting of men and she sees herself as nothing more than something to be used that is until her guardian angle appears dressed as a priest.

Willoughby soon realises that his quest to find the truth of his fathers demise and his task in the village are connected and not only that could this young waif of a girl he has rescued be apart of this tangled scheme too? Only time and some ingenious investigating will solve all the mysteries that keep cropping up and this is what I really liked about Ms Holmes writing, she keeps the reader hooked with the various twists and turns throughout the story.

This is an intricately woven tale of secrets, lies, murder, smuggling and justice. The character’s are a delight to get to know and watch as they not only discover the truth but as they come in to their own. The plot is fun, fast paced and at times rather surprising story, and it was one that I thoroughly enjoyed submerging myself in. This is the first book in The Yorkshire Saga and I am looking forward to seeing what comes next. The only thing that I couldn’t get along with is the title, I don’t what it is about it, I think its the ‘Obey’ part that I can’t get along with.

A decent piece of historical fiction.

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thank you Caoimhe!

To Love, Honour and Obey can be purchased from Amazon.