Jenni Fletcher

Review : The Warrior’s Bride Prize by Jenni Fletcher

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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! Livia must hide her Caledonian roots, but when Marius faces a barbarian rebellion at Hadrian’s Wall she must make a choice: her heritage or the husband she’s falling for…

My View

Well, what a book!! As soon as I heard that Jenni Fletcher was writing a romance set in the Roman era, I couldn’t wait to read it. After I read my first Roman romance earlier this year I was instantly hooked, now have a love of this era. I knew that this would be good as Ms Fletcher has a real gift at story-telling, at entwining history and romance to create an enchanting story, but this surpasses all my expectations. As always Ms Fletcher has woven a historically accurate, sensual and evocative romance.

After the death of her abusive and malicious husband Livia’s equally horrendous brother, forces another marriage on to her, one that will benefit him and his greed. This time to a spoilt tribune with a gambling debt owed to her brother. Livia is basically destitute, she doesn’t have a penny to her name, no home, nothing after her cruel first husband cut her and her daughter; Julia off she was forced back to her brother’s protection. Now she is yet again a pawn in her brother’s game for power and money.

Which is when she meets dark and brooding, yet dazzlingly handsome Centurion Marius while on her way to meet her soon to be husband. She is instantly enthralled by the intelligent and protective man, who treats her like a proper lady and charms her little daughter. I love that moment when Marius meets little Julia, his stern countenance disappears and his light playfulness shines through all to make a little girl smile.

Livia is tough, she has had to be after all she has seen and experienced. She is like a she-wolf always ready to rip apart any who would harm her young cub. She may have been treated despicably, but she is fierce and passionate with ingrained values that have made her the marvellous woman she is. Marius sees that fierce and slightly wild side to her as soon as he meets her, it is really that part of her persona that really impresses Marius and make him want her all the more. At first when they meet it is a simple lust that sizzles between them, they are both inexplicably drawn to the other. Yet once they learn more about each, that rampant lust turns into mutual respect and affection.

Marius cannot bare to think of Livia and Julia in the clutches of such a bully, a man who doesn’t care about hurting even a child with his malicious words. Even if he and Livia hadn’t shared the most earth-shattering romantic kiss, he would do anything for her. So when the opportunity arises that he can help get Livia away from the tribune, Marius takes it, even though it does mean career suicide. Once married their troubles are for from over as pasts and secrets soon rear their heads, tough choices must be made all in the midst of a rebellion.

Marius, oh, Marius! What a gloriously strong yet vulnerable man he is, he is a man who believes strongly in right and wrong, he lives by a code of honour that he believes all men should live by, no matter their rank. I love that he is so principled, he is a thinker and he has strong opinion’s of how thing’s should be done. He is charming in his own stern way, he wants nothing more than to rebuild and regain that family honour that was cruelly taken from his father all those years ago, but the one thing that made me go weak at the knee’s was the way he accepts Livia for who she is, he admires her for her strength and treats her with up most respect, and you can see that Livia is quite taken back by him – which is not surprising, you would probably have to pick me up of the floor if I saw this rock of a man walking towards me in his centurion armour. 😉

I am so in love with everything about this story, there is something very special about this book. The story is wonderful in-depth, an emotional roller-coaster ride through Roman Britain that will keep the reader turning the page. The descriptions of life during the time, especially once Livia and Marius reach Hadrian’s wall is astounding, it is rich in history and the scenery is so vivid and real. Then there is the chemistry between Marius and Livia, which is ablaze with mutual passion and desire. Jenni Fletcher is going from strength to strength, she is such a wonderfully adaptive author who tackles many different era’s and with each book her skill, dedication, research and passion shine through. I personally hope that she writes more Roman as there is so very few authors out there willing to take on this era.

A mesmerising romance!

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

The Warrior’s Bride Prize is to be released 4th October and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

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A Chat With….Author Jennie Fletcher

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I have the great pleasure of welcoming Historical Romance author and RoNA award nominated Jenni Fletcher to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals, so take a seat and let’s get to know a little about Jenni…

Jenni Fletcher was born on the north coast of Scotland and now lives in Yorkshire, where she writes Medieval, Roman and Victorian romance novels.
She studied English at Cambridge University before doing an MA on Women and Literature in English and a PhD on Victorian & Edwardian literature at Hull University. After realising that she was better at writing than teaching, she worked in a number of administrative jobs whilst trying to finish her first book, which was rejected. Thinking there must have been some mistake, she then wrote another, which was fortunately accepted by Harlequin Mills&Boon.
She spends a large part of her day obsessing about things like the Oxford Comma and whether she uses exclamation marks too often (she does!) whilst getting distracted by Twitter. The rest of the time she drinks too much caffeine, eats too much chocolate, and tries not to drop crumbs into her keyboard.
When not writing, obsessing or cleaning up after her children, she likes mountain biking, hiking and watching period dramas (her husband joins her for two of those). She knows nothing about sport or crime fiction, but can talk with authority on Minecraft, Star Trek (mainly Next Generation) and the Lord of the Rings.
Her favourite Jane Austen novel is Persuasion and her favourite Brontë is Anne. If she had to choose a romantic hero it would be John Thornton, but maybe that’s just because she’s Northern.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon

Frankie Hi Jenni, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today.

Firstly what five words would you use to describe yourself?

Jenni Technologically incompetent caffeine/chocolate addict.

Frankie If you could take a holiday in any era and place, When and where would it be? And Why?

Jenni I used to think the Wild West, but then I watched Westworld, so now I’d probably say the height of the Victorian era. I’d wear the biggest crinoline I could find and go to the Great Exhibition. Then I’d have Afternoon Tea (the greatest of all Victorian inventions).

Frankie Ooh, yes! Can you tell us a little about latest release? This can be your most recent or up-and coming release.

Jenni My next book is called ‘Captain Amberton’s Inherited Bride’ and is set in a faux-Medieval castle on the Yorkshire Moors above Whitby. It’s the second in my Victorian series and I wanted it to have a different feel to the first so I’ve gone a bit gothic. My heroine has spent her whole life being oppressed by her father and my hero is a reformed womaniser who’s just been invalided out of the Fusiliers. I don’t want to say too much, except that there’s a slow-speed horse and cart chase over the snowy Moors…

Frankie Now this sounds like my cup of tea, Yorkshire, Military heroes and Victorian, perfect! Who was your childhood hero?

Jenni Jane Russell. I used to pretend to be her character (Mike) in ‘Son of Paleface’. She was a cattle-rustler/saloon singer and I thought she was fabulous. Then I wanted to be Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Apparently I like dark, sultry brunettes.

Frankie If you could have one of your books made into a film, which book would it be and who would play your lead characters?

Jenni My next book, which should hopefully be out later this year. I don’t have a title for it yet, but it’s set on Hadrian’s Wall in 197AD and there are some action scenes I’d like to see onscreen. My heroine would be played by Eleanor Tomlinson from Poldark and my hero would be Channing Tatum (looking exactly the way he does in The Eagle).

Frankie Oh, my!! 😉 Out of all your work, who is your favourite character and why?

Jenni Aediva from ‘Married to her Enemy’, just because she was my first heroine. Also she’s brave and feisty and fiercely protective of her family.

Frankie Where doe’s your inspiration for your books come from?

Jenni Sometimes from visiting castles (one of my favourite hobbies), sometimes from reading history books (‘Besieged and Betrothed’ came out of my interest in Stephen and Matilda) and sometimes just randomly. I’m working on a Regency that was inspired by a biscuit!

Frankie Ha,ha,ha! A biscuit? Intriguing, What three tip’s would you pass on to an aspiring author?

Jenni Read lots, don’t compare yourself to anyone else (easier said than done) and remember that we all get writer’s block sometimes.

Frankie If you were hosting a dinner party what three people would you invite? (They can be real/fictional, from any era)

Jenni Two of my favourite Medieval women, Empress Matilda and Eleanor of Aquitaine, just to see who was the biggest diva, and Dr Janina Ramirez. I met her at a book festival last autumn and she was lovely. She gave me a hug! She’s also incredibly smart – with fabulous taste in shoes – so a great role model for women all round.

(left to right: Matilda, Eleanor & Janina)

Frankie Ooh, I like, strong women putting the world to rights! 😉 Thank you, Jenni for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today, I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun . . . What is your all-time favourite naughty but nice food?

Jenni Rocky road. That way I get chocolate AND marshmallows! Thanks for having me. X

Oh, Yummy! Thank you Jenni.

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Jenni’s up and coming release; Captain Amberton’s Inherited Bride is to be released on 22nd March.

‘Marry me…

…And you’ll have your freedom.’

Her father’s will dictates that Violet Harper must wed or be disinherited—but she’d rather face the wilderness of the wintry Yorkshire moors than be bound to cynical, damaged soldier 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…

Due for release 22nd March can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

Review – Captain Amberton’s Inherited Bride by Jenni Fletcher

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‘Marry me…

…And you’ll have your freedom.’

Her father’s will dictates that Violet Harper must wed or be disinherited—but she’d rather face the wilderness of the wintry Yorkshire moors than be bound to cynical, damaged soldier 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…

Firstly, let me say that if I was one of those reviewer’s who rates books with star’s then this would be a huge ten star book, but as I’m not I’ll just overly gush about how much I love this book instead.

I am an avid reader of Jenni Fletcher’s work, everything from her Medieval’s to this Victorian and I have to say that this is the finest I have read, Captains Amberton’s Inherited Bride is a beautifully written story with some well-crafted and defined character’s, which portrays a wealth of knowledge and research into the era. I am an odd reader that I can always seem to ‘see’ the hero of the story so much clearer than the heroine, yet in this case Violet spoke to me – her character shouted out and made me listen and when I did, the revelations of not just the character but of how I felt about her were astounding.

Are you saying that you were willing to lose your inheritance just to walk around some old walls?’ ‘Yes.’ She seemed nonplussed by his reaction…..
‘Indeed.’ He didn’t know whether to laugh or be offended. ‘You must have heard some very interesting stories about me, Miss Harper. I’ve always flattered myself that I was more attractive than crumbling stone.’‘I didn’t mean it like that. It’s not the wall itself—more the idea of it. The freedom to do something I want to do. That’s what I want, freedom.’

Lance (Lancelot) Amberton is the black sheep of the family, he is on a knife-edge where his father is concerned and so when an innocent mis-understanding concerning his twin brother’s future wife; Violet, this just confirms everything that his father and the whole of society think of him – that he is a un-repenting scoundrel who has is a basically a waste of space. Lance gets banished from and right there and then he walk’s out of his family home, goes back to the army and from that day he never see’s his brother or father again.

After living her life practically, a prisoner in her own home, because of her stern, selfish and controlling father – who is such a pathetic bully who really should be ashamed of his treatment of his beautiful daughter. Violet has always been told by him that the only reason any man would want to go near her was because of her vast wealth, she grew up sheltered in her prison like home with this man telling her daily that she is odd, ugly and no one will ever love her for her. At her first ever – and only ever – social outing she meets Captain Amberton, who because of her naivety she instantly thinks that he is making fun of her and doing what her father has always said a man will do to her and string her along. One thing leads to another and she is witness to the Captains banishment, while she is pushed closer and closer to the Arthur; Lance’s twin.

Arthur is a man who is very unhappy with his lot in life, he doesn’t want to marry Violet he has his eyes set on the beauty of society but being the more reticent and dutiful twin, he never stands up for himself where his father is concerned. He goes along with whatever his father says, but in his heart and mind he is screaming for someone to listen to him.

Five years later Violet’s father, Lance’s Father and Arthur all die, she thinks that this is her chance for the freedom she so desperately yearns for, she is severely saddened by Arthurs death, but she cannot hide the fact that she now feels free. That is until she hears of the terms of her father’s will, which basically states that if she doesn’t marry the heir to Amberton she will be cut off, which is one thing but that’s means as Lance is now the heir it is in his hands her fate and happiness rests. She really doesn’t want to marry him, infact she doesn’t want to be in the same breathing space as the ‘beast’ as he is now called. She can’t go back to how her life was, to putting herself back under the control of man she wants to live rather than be ruled over.

…staring at her feet for a few seconds before crouching down suddenly. ‘There a pattern here.’‘It’s a Yorkshire rose.’ He watched the graceful sweep of her fingers across the floorboards. She was so small, so delicate, and yet there was something entrancing about her….

Lance isn’t the fun-loving, scoundrel he was, he has become a cold, stoic and deeply unhappy man, and I do have to say that my heart bleeds for this traumatised man. The pain he is in – not just due to being shot in the leg, but he is emotionally damaged and that has a lot to do with his family and their treatment of him more than what he had to go through while at war, even though that has had a huge impact on his character.

He blames Violet for everything that has happened to him and I suppose you can see where he is coming from, for the first time in his life he was doing something that was good and proper and because of that he gets banished from his family. The only person Lance knows who is always on his side is his twin brother Arthur – are you seeing the Arthurian link yet? I love that! Arthur is the only person in Lance’s world who genuinely has any love for him, so when Arthur drowns in what is classed as an accident, Lance feels as though someone has ripped out his heart. Like the other half of himself has been stolen away, he is absolutely gutted!

He isn’t keen on the idea of marrying Violet, any more than she is of him and there is some hugely entertaining moments between them as they bicker and throw insults to and fro. I do love a ‘Enemies to Lover’s’ trope and this was right up my street. I do really like Lance, he reminds me of John Thornton from North and South, he is a tormented but ever such a good man and I never did feel that he was the scoundrel that his father and whole of society deemed him to be. After coming back from the war injured instead of skulking away into the shadows – don’t get me wrong he does that too, his soul intention on a daily basis is to drink himself into oblivion – he decides to help put the people of his estate and neighbouring area’s by not only purchasing a iron works but he wants to open a colliery which not only brings vital jobs to the area but gives him something to live for – other than living in the bottom of a whisky bottle. He thinks of the regular people, he feels their plight and he wants to do the best for them.

‘A kitten and a beast?’‘Violet and Lance.’ She lifted her head up to kiss him lightly, and then not so lightly, on the lips. ‘Who will Arthur find, I wonder?’

I always seem to understand and ‘get’ the heroes, I don’t seem to connect with heroines as much as I do the heroes but, in this case, it is so different. I felt hugely connected to Violet in a way that I haven’t ever connected with a heroine before, I understood her! Everything about Violet struck a cord with me, parts of her character and circumstances reminded me of myself. I understood her thirst for knowledge, her fascination with history her urgent need to do what she wants with no restrictions and being able to explore places she has never been before, see things she has always wanted to see without responsibilities holding her back. She is a sheltered little thing who just wants a bit of freedom to do what she wants, when we first meet her she is a naive over sensitive little thing, but I saw a sparkle, a fire under that sheltered façade.

For me this is by far the best Fletcher has done, I do love her medieval’s but this is something special, I do have a real soft spot for Victorian stories and this is just fabulous it is infused with Fletcher’s unrelenting passion for history, for the era and especially for Yorkshire. I particularly love how she has written in the beautiful Yorkshire Rose into the floors and ceiling of Amberton Castle. I love the Arthurian undercurrent is such a wonderful addition, it’s subtle and perfect for the story. I really can’t say too many good things about this book, for me it is a breath-takingly pure and beautiful tale and this story really shows just what a fine and articulated writer Ms Fletcher is, she time after time shows that she can handle the hard and complicated stories as well as the loving romantic ones.

I think that any author who can switch so seamlessly from one era to another and create such inspiring and fabulously original stories that draw you in are so talented and Jenni Fletcher is up there with the best.

Just perfect!

Captain Amberton’s Inherited Bride is to be released on 22nd March and can be pre-ordered at Amazon

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

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

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

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14 Best Books of the Year; 2017

Echo in the Wind by Regan Walker

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

The Viking Warriors Bride by Harper St George

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

Angel Comes to the Devils Keep by Regina Jeffers

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

The Unexpected Countess by Laurie Benson

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

The Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews

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

Besieged and Betrothed by Jenni Fletcher

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

The Lions Embrace by Marie Laval

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

 The Knights Scarred Maiden by Nicole Locke

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

The Last Gamble by Anabelle Bryant

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

No Rest for the Wicked by Cora Lee

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

lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress by Lara Temple

This is book one in this new series; The Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies Series by the highly talented Lara Temple, and one that I have been looking forward to reading. But nothing prepared me for the huge emotion that surges through you as you read it. I know that Temple has said that this series is her baby, this is a personal story for her and you can really understand as you are reading it just how much of herself she has put into this. I have always liked her work but this really resonates with me, this touched a cord with me more than any other book I have read before, you can feel Temple’s heart and soul running through this, it is very emotional and it packs a real punch and it stays with you long after the last page.

The Crown Spire by Catherine Curzon & Willow Winsham

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

A Warriner to Rescue Her by Virginia Heath

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

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

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

The Captains Disgraced Lady by Catherine Tinley

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

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

Review – Besieged and Betrothed by Jenni Fletcher

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Ruthless warrior Lothar the Frank has laid siege to Castle Haword, but there’s a fiery redhead in his way — and she’s not backing down!

More tomboy than trembling maiden, Lady Juliana Danville would rather die than lose the castle. Caught on opposite sides of a war, Lothar and Juliana find a marriage bargain is being brokered to bring peace.

But is blissful married life possible when Juliana has a dangerous secret hidden within the castle walls…?


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

She looked like a Celtic Queen, rebellious and undaunted, the long coils of her red hair tumbling loose over the parapet wall in front of her, the only splash of colour against drab, unrelenting grey.
For a fleeting moment he found himself wishing that they were on the same side of the battlements….

In a time when King Stephen and Empress Matilda were at logger head’s over the country, the mighty Castle Howard is the foot hold that both of them want, it is currently under the protection of the Danville family – or more accurately, the Chatelaine; Lady Julianna Danville. Julianna – after the death of her father and her re-alliance with Stephan – has been holding off a siege from Matilda’s army for months. Her army is on their last legs, their supplies are practically none existent they are all exhausted, starving and hiding a terrible secret within the walls of her castle, a secret so bad that if anyone finds out it could mean terrible repercussions for her and her men. When the menacing, hardened warrior with the most mesmerizing grey eyes and a body a god could only dream about turns up to do the Empresses bidding, and finally take back Castle Howard, Julianna knows that she is in terrible trouble.

Julianna is a spirited young woman, her out bound personality is hardened and steel like and just as fiery as her hair, she is a warrior in her own right being the Chatalaine of Castle Howard she is just as brusque and strong as that of her loyal men. They respect her for who she is not just because she is the Chatalaine but she has proved herself to them again and again just what a courageous force of nature she is. But when she closes her chamber door on the world she is a frightened, cynical young girl who has the weight of the world on her skeletal shoulder’s, she knows that she can’t keep up the siege for much longer but being a gentle and caring woman, she doesn’t want her faithful men – men who have been with her since she was a child – to be harmed. Like Lothar she too just needs someone to take a bit of the burden from her and look after her.

“Perhaps you’ll allow me to show you, while my horse is resting?”….
….She wasn’t accustomed to acting the lady either – she couldn’t remember even the last time a man had offered her his arm – and yet somehow she couldn’t resist temptation.
“Very well.”
She placed a hand on his bicep, twisting her face away as a thrill of excitement raced through her body…

Lothar the Frank – isn’t that a great name? – Is there to do one job; take Castle Howard for his Empress. He is a career soldier since Matilda took a shine to him when he was a boy and took him in to her court, he is the best soldier in Matilda’s army and with his handful of select men he has broken more sieges than he can count and this one will be no different – or so he thinks! As soon as he spot’s the windblown beautiful, fiery red-head on the battlements of the castle, Lothar has the distinct impression that Lady Julianna is more than what she appears. After knowing and fighting alongside her father; William, Lothar knows that any daughter of the great Lord Danvilles’ will be a force of nature and deep down he is relishing the thought of just meeting her once.

My goodness, Lothar just maybe one of my favourite heroes from this year. I like how isn’t a lord but just a regular soldier who has worked damn hard to get where he is, he has gone through so much in life already and those past experiences have shaped him into this wonderous man he is. He is highly respected by his little band of men, I have always thought you can really gleam an idea of a man by what his men think of him and his leather, black clad warriors would die for their fearless leader. He is the finest warrior, he hasn’t gained that title by the amount of battles he has won but by how he goes about thing’s he is a very moral man who doesn’t like injustices and if he can he will always try to win the battle peacefully. Then there is his well-hidden tender side that he keeps wrapped up, he is a thoughtful and caring man who really just wants someone to care for him.

Finally, after an attempted kidnapping, a drugging and more arguments than what you would get at a family Christmas, the siege ends. Lothar thinks that he has won and he has done his duty with a single person getting hurt and he is ready to pack up and leave for his next assignment, but he can’t bring himself to leave the fragile Julianna especially as he knows she is keeping something from him. Something doesn’t quiet add up so against his better judgement he stays and as he slowly breaks through her personal defences he finds out things – not just about her, but about himself – that shocks him.

I love the enemies to lover’s trope and this is superb, their relationship from the first moment of meeting just sizzles and creates a fun, exciting and enticing love story. They go through some much inner turmoil; their bickering is just as much fun to read as their tender moments – especially when she threatens to hang him by his feet over the battlements and he asks if he can wear his boots – you just have to read it!

“There. Now don’t take it off for a few hours and no playing with swords for the meantime.”
“Playing?”
“Yes,” her eyes glinted with humour, “But if you must, remember the sharp end is the end to avoid.”
“I’ll try to remember that, now have your finished laughing at my misfortune?”
“Almost.” She sat back on her haunches, though still she didn’t release his hand. “You can’t blame me for enjoying one small victory, I haven’t won many of late.”
He gave a low chuckle, “Then, I’m glad I’ve made you feel better.”
“You have,” she tilted her head to the side again, “You know I’ve never heard you laugh before.”
“It happen’s, but not very often…”

Fletcher is really coming into her own in the medieval genre and her real and skilled writing is rivalling the best in the business, her writing is vivid, intelligent and atmospheric. I knew from her debut novel that here was an author that had so much to share with us and who would go far and again she has confirmed that initial thought. I love how at the beginning of the book she gives a brief history lesson into the story of Matilda, I will admit that I didn’t know that much about her before, but since reading this I am very eager to learn more about the Empress that for me is the proof of a great author where they make you want to go out and start learning the history behind their work.

I love it, Besieged and Betrothed is just so good and one that will take pride of place on my book shelf forever and I cannot recommend this enough. This will appeal to all romance readers, not just those of us who have a certain penchant for medieval this should be read by all.

It really is perfect.

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

Besieged and Betrothed is out 30th November and can be pre-ordered now at Amazon.

Introducing The Unlaced Ladies.

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Just over a year ago nine incredible Historical Romance author’s banded together to create the hugely popular Facebook based; Unlaced Book Club, a very special place where authors, readers and like-minded individuals all get together to discuss Romance, History and have a lot of cheeky fun in between.

Now a year on and with enough books to fill a library and with over two hundred members this club is going from strength to strength and I feel very privileged to be a part of it and be able to experience the fun and good-natured banter that makes this Book Club so special.

So, who are these nine women who brought all this fun and hilarity to the world?

Each one of them are extraordinary writers with the best Romance brain’s in the business, between the nine of them they have brought to the world Rugged Medieval Knight’s, Sinfully Handsome Rakes, Roguish Agent’s, Tormented Military Men, Scandalous Dukes and Gorgeously Brave Vikings. Plus some one the strongest and resilient heroine’s that are the only women in the world that can put up with theses adorable heroes.

Let me introduce you to nine of the best women you will ever meet.

“We are a group of authors who write sassy and sexy historical romance. If you like good books, giggles, and giveaways you’ve come to the right place! At The Unlaced Book Club, we adore heroes that wear breeches or wield a broadsword. We love to chat and have fun, the only thing we ask is that members are respectful of each other and if you’d like to post promotional material, you check with one of the administrators first.
So, dive right in and join the conversation. You know you want to…”

 

Virginia Heath

When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Fortunately, the lovely people at Harlequin Mills & Boon took pity on her and decided to publish her romances, but it still takes her forever to fall asleep. Virginia is the author of the incredible Wild Warriners series.

Reading List

That Despicable Rogue
The Discerning Gentleman’s Guide
Miss Bradshaw’s Bought Betrothal
Her Enemy at The Alter
A Warriner to Protect Her
A Warriner to Rescue Her
His Mistletoe Wager

If you want to find out more check out virginiaheathromance.com or follow her on Twitter @VirginiaHeath_ Click Here

 

Laurie Benson

Laurie Benson is an award-winning historical romance author who writes books about men in boots and the women who fall for them. She began her writing career as an advertising copywriter, where she learned more than you could ever want to know about hot dogs and credit score reports. Her interest in history began when she was in elementary school, and that interest was fueled by many visits to many museums. In 2015 Laurie was honored to become a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® finalist. When she isn’t at her laptop avoiding laundry, Laurie can be found browsing antique shops, going on ridiculously long hikes, or sitting in her car on the school pickup line. She lives with her husband and two sons in a house filled with testosterone—even her bunny is a boy.

Reading List

The Unsuitable Duchess
The Uncommon Duke
The Unexpected Countess

Learn more about Laurie by visiting her website at lauriebenson.net. You can also follow her on Twitter at @lauriebwrites and like her on Facebook Click Here

 

Lara Temple

When Lara was fifteen she found a very grubby copy of Georgette Heyer’s Faro’s Daughter in an equally grubby book store. Several blissful hours later she emerged, blinking, into the light of day completely in love with Max Ravenscar and with Regency Romance. Lara writes strong, sexy, and suspenseful regency romances about complex individuals who give no quarter but deliver plenty of passion. Lara recently went back to look for that grubby crowded little bookstore but couldn’t quite remember around what corner it was…hopefully it is still there and another girl is in the corner by the window, reading and dreaming…

Reading List

Lord Crayles Secret World
The Reluctant Viscount
The Dukes Unexpected Bride
His Cinderella Heiress

To learn more about Lara Click Here

 

Nicole Locke

Nicole first discovered romance novels hidden in her grandmother’s closet. Convinced hidden books must be better, Nicole greedily read them. It was only natural she should start writing them (but now not so secretly). If she isn’t working on the next book in the Lovers and Legends historical series.

Reading List

Her Enemy Highlander
The Knights Broken Promise
In Debt to the Enemy Lord
The Highland Brides Laird
The Knights Scarred Maiden

She can be reached at NicoleLocke.com, on Facebook, or Twitter as @NicoleLockeNews. Click Here

 

Harper St George

Harper was raised in rural Alabama and along the tranquil coast of northwest Florida. It was a setting filled with stories of the old days that instilled in her a love of history, romance, and adventure. By high school, she had discovered the historical romance novel which combined all of those elements into one perfect package. She has been hooked ever since. Harper is the author of the fabulous Viking Warrior series and the Outs of The WildWest series.

Reading List

Enslave by the Viking
One Night With The Viking
The Innocent and the Outlaw
In Bed With The Viking Warrior
Marriage Deal with the Outlaw

She would love to hear from you. Please visit her website at http://www.harperstgeorge.com or find her on Facebook Click Here

 

Catherine Tinley

Catherine writes witty, heartwarming Regency love stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She has loved reading and writing since childhood, and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, NHS management, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now works in Sure Start.

Reading List

Waltzing With The Earl

She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, and dog and can be reached at catherinetinley.com, and @CatherineTinley on twitter. Click Here

 

Janice Preston

Janice Preston writes emotional, sensual and satisfying Regency romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She grew up in Wembley with a love of reading, writing stories and animals and has worked as a dairy farmer, a police call-handler and a university administrator. She has two children, two step-children (all now adult) and a gorgeous, cheeky grandson. She now lives in the West Midlands with her husband and two cats and enjoys swimming, yoga and pottering about the garden when the sun is shining.

Reading List

Mary and the Marquess
Cinderella and the Duke
The Governesses Secret Baby
Saved by the Scandal’s Heir

If you’d like to know more, please visit Janice’s website at http://www.janicepreston.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @janicegpreston or Click Here

 

Jenni Fletcher

Jenni was born on the north coast of Scotland and now lives in Yorkshire, where she writes historical romance novels set in the Medieval and Victorian eras. She studied English at Clare College, Cambridge and Hull University, before starting to write books of her own Combining her love of history and literature with a special emphasis on alpha males and feisty heroines.

Reading List

Married to Her Enemy
The Convenient Felstone Marriage

Jenni loves hearing from her readers so why not get in touch Click Here

 

Elisabeth Hobbes

Elisabeth grew up in York where she spent most of my teenage years wandering around the city looking for a handsome Roman or Viking to sweep her off her feet. Sadly it never happened but Elisabeth developed a love of the past and went on to read History and Art History at university before venturing into the world of teaching. These days she holds down jobs as a teacher and mum. She lives in Cheshire with her husband, two young children and two cats with ridiculous names. Elisabeth loves historical fiction and has a fondness for dark haired, bearded heroes. When she’s not writing, she spends a lot of her spare time reading and has become something of a pro at cooking one-handed while holding a book!

Reading List

The Saxon outlaws Revenge
Redeeming the Rogue Knight
The Blacksmiths Wife
Falling for her Captor
A Wager for the Widow

You can find Elisabeth on Facebook and Twitter Click Here

Aren’t they fabulous?

So why not check out each of these author’s work and follow the Unlaced Book Club on Twitter to keep up to date with all their comings and goings. I can guarantee that getting to know these fine women will be the best thing that you will do today. TheUnlacedBookClub

 

Review – Married To Her Enemy by Jenni Fletcher

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From captive to bride… Lady Aediva of Etton will do anything to protect her sister, Cille. So when enemies storm her family’s keep, Aediva assumes Cille’s identity…taking her place as prisoner of Sir Svend du Danemark.

Svend’s sole aim is to fulfill his service to William the Conqueror and rebuild the life a woman’s betrayal once lost him. So when he receives his new orders to quash the Saxon rebellion, he is stunned. To do his duty, he must vow to take the beautiful yet provoking Aediva as his wife!

Brief Preview

Saxon, Lady Aediva is holed up in her little village of Etton with nothing but an old midwife and her sister; Cille who is in labour. She knows that the Norman’s are coming but she can do nothing but try to protect her sister as best she can, which does mean brandishing a warrior’s broad sword about. So when a gang of Norman Knights arrive in her village she is ready to fight, to the death if need be, but the only problem with that is when the she sets eyes on the Knight who storms her house. She has never in her life seen anyone like him and he wasn’t at all what she expected.

Putting aside her new and confusing infatuation with this handsome Knight, she soon learns that he has come for her sister Cille, for some unexplained reason he is going to take Cille away. Aediva isn’t going to let that happen, so she assumes her sisters identity.

Sir Svend since his traumatic past he has lived his life as a dutiful Knight, never letting his King down always performing his service to his King with every honourable fibre in his being. So when he get an order to collect Lady Cille he thinks nothing of the task untill he meets the little hellcat who on meeting him threatens to run him through with a sword. Lady Cille isn’t what he expected, the woman is wild and dangerous, why would the Kings cousin be interested in this maddening woman?

Once she is collected and they get back to base that the truth comes out about who she really is and Svend is given an order, an order that he never in his life would have thought of receiving. To squash the newest Saxon uprising and try to regain peace he must marry the hellcat; Aediva.

My View

This has been on my to read pile for so long, in fact for way too long and I can only apologise to Jenni Fletcher for making her wait so long for my review. But it was well worth the wait, Oh, my goodness! This is why I like Medieval Romance. The story is fast, intriguing and beautifully written by an author who I can tell you now is going to go a long way.

It is so atmospheric and very realistic it is as though you are actually living in Norman Britain with our adorable couple. It is thrilling, sensual with so much historical fact.

“But…you don’t trust me.”
“I do. Deep down I always have. I know you’re not Maren.” he climbed out of the bath, standing streaming wet in front of her. “Don’t go, Aediva. I want you here, with me.”

I adore Svend what a terrific character! Cool under pressure, a natural leader honourable and protectively. Plus he is as handsome as hell, I see him more like a renegade pirate than a military man, he is fabulous. He at first comes across as a very sullen and moody man and a very serious man for his age, but once you get to know his story you understand completely why he is how he is.

Svend does have his suspicions about Aediva – or how he first knows her as Cille – once he meets both sisters, you can see the cogs turning in that intelligent brain of his, that something isn’t adding up. He knows there is something that she is keeping back and as he finds it difficult to trust woman in the first place, he is on high alert. On top of his suspicions, he is feeling things for this woman that he shouldn’t he can’t stand the thought of this beautiful, fiery woman being someone else’s wife.

He finds her maddening and intoxicating all at once, he is actually really scared of his feelings for her, he is confused as to what is happening between the two of them and conflicted because he is a dutiful man and his duty is to take her back to King William’s cousin, but she has got under his skin. When he does find out the truth about her he has a very hard time trusting her, so when he has to marry her, Svend finds himself in a confusing position. On one hand he is secretly over the moon that he has now got this little firecracker as his, but on the other he still sees her as a sly and cunning, dangerous woman who can’t be trusted.

‘He’d never taken advantage of a vulnerable woman before and he wasn’t about to start now. If she’d only stop wriggling…
“Scum! Son of a Norman bitch!’ She kept on thrashing against him, venting her anger in a torrent of what he assumed was Anglo-Saxon abuse.
L hazel hair tumbled over his chest like a silken blanket, stirring his senses, and his gaze fell to her lips. They looked full and soft and suddenly desirable. But her eyes…
I looks could kill he’d be dead a hundred times over. Her eyes were aflame with anger….’

Aediva is a fighter, she said like an alley cat unsheathing her claws at every opportunity, honestly I think if she didn’t find Svend so attractive she would have skewered him with her broad sword. Like Svend, Aediva is having an internal war, on one hand she hates him with a vengeance for just being who he is, but she can’t get away from the fact that she is hugely attracted to the large blonde haired blue-eyed Knight. He is a mystery to her, he keeps saying he isn’t a Norman and he definitely doesn’t look like one, with all that white-blonde hair and icy blue eyes. He doesn’t act like how she has always thought Norman’s acted, he is kind and generous and so caring, with that and his rough charm he has got under her skin.

Aediva too has a generous and kind personality, she cares deeply for those she loves not just her sister but her people and she constantly worries about Svend. She is so brave and hugely protective, she risks her very own life to save others and that is really commendable.

‘His eyes flashed with something like humour. How could eyes be so intensely blue? she wondered. It was a blue that seemed to change every time she looked at them, sometimes so pale as to seem almost white, sometimes a vivid, piercing turquoise.
People said that her eyes were unusual, but his were almost hypnotic. When they demanded she meet them, there was no way to refuse….’

I love the chemistry between our two leads, it just leaps out at you, even when they first meet and he has got a sword aimed at him by our hellcat, you just feel the sexual tension rippling off the page. You get a sense of intruding in on their private world, whether that be when they are bickering or when they are having a loving tender moment. Both with huge personalities, both very loyal, both fiery and stubborn and hugely protective. They are an absolute success as a couple.

What does amaze me about “Married to her Enemy” is that it is Fletcher’s debut novel, to produce something of this quality on the first outing is astounding and it speaks volumes of this author’s talent. She has an extraordinary eye for the details, not just of the area and the time but the detail she puts into the simplest of scenes, such as a coy look between our leads, it’s clarity is amazing. I can honestly say that Jenni Fletcher is going to be huge success, in the Historical Romance world and she is going to be on the scene for a very long time.

The whole development of this, from the dynamics between the character to the overall plot proves too me that there is something very special about this author. To me I found it such a shame that this is only a stand alone I think it would have made a sensational series.

A pure joy from page one!

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

Married to her Enemy can be purchased at Amazon.