Leila Snow

Review – Overruled by Fate by Leila Snow

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An epic tale of an enduring love, powerful enough to survive time and circumstance. Two souls destined to be halves of a whole, but fated to be kept apart. And yet, a love such as this is not content to blindly accept the bonds of fate…

Nathaniel can hardly recall a time he hasn’t adored Madeline. For Madeline, he truly is her knight in shining armour. Alas, one stolen night is all they are granted before Madeline is given in marriage to the wealthy and titled Earl of Marbourne, who is a great favourite of the king. A whirlwind of intrigue and contrivance follows Madeline as she joins the court and catches the eye of the king, whilst cruel fate conspires to keep Madeline and Nathaniel apart despite their desperate love.

This is the second book by Ms Snow and it is so different to that what I have read before, this is a lot lighter then I had come to expect from her, but in no way lacking. The story of two star crossed lovers torn apart by circumstance and life is endearing.

Nathanial is the low born son of one of lady Elspeth’s maids, his lordship; John of Alwinsopp was a decent man and gave Nathanial opportunities that in any other household he would never have been able to achieve; such as getting the education that only an aristocrat could afford, and it is through close contact and practically living with the family that he and Lord John’s only daughter; Lady Madeline became best friends. Nathanial and Madeline first had a loving brother/sister relationship but after various events they both came to realise that they actually love one and other. So, when her father decides that now is the time that his free-spirited daughter to marry they are both distraught over their imminent separation.

Madeline knows that she will never love any man the ways she does Nate and so on the eve of her wedding to a man she has just met, she persuades Nate to let her have just one night with him, one night with the man she loves where she can just be herself. Nate cannot believe that Madeline came to him, but he knows that this could be the last time he ever sees her, so he gives her what she wants – what they both want. It is tender and loving, all their feelings for each other just comes pouring out of the page you can really feeling their angst at the situation that they are in.

Nate isn’t a complicated man, he likes simplicity I think he would like to see the world as black and white/right and wrong, but he soon learns that life isn’t always like, so he does what he knows is right and protects the one woman he loves above his very life. He is a wonderful character, he’s very quiet and unassuming a man who will always do what is needed of him.

Her mother; Lady Elspeth is a spiteful and somewhat selfish creature who has disliked and resented Madeline just because she wasn’t born a son, the son Lady Elspeth wanted so much. Now the moment has arrived that she is to be rid of the daughter that she never wanted, and she goes about it in her usual spiteful and somewhat humiliating way for Madeline, her mother cannot wait to push Madeline into the arms of her intended.

Her betrothed; the Earl of Marbourne is a good man – true the only reason he did want to wed her is to get some heirs, but he is a kind and generous man who I think does have a real fondness for his young wife. But their married life doesn’t go smoothly, firstly there is resentment for their union from the Earl’s current heir and then with the earl being close to the King, Madeline soon finds herself under the hawk like gaze and attention of the King himself. Soon Madeline finds herself in some tricky situations with the King and with her new husband falling ill and all the while, all she can think of is her true love Nate.

Overruled by Fate is very Tristen and Isolde, two loves who you know are supposed to be together are cruelly torn apart and kept apart by each of their own destiny’s. I love how throughout the story their love for each other is absolute, there is no question of their feeling for each other. Even when they each find themselves heading in different directions in their heart they will only be whole when the other one is near.

Over all this is yet another winner in my eyes, Ms Snow has shown that she can easily handle a multitude of different eras with sharpness and tact. I found that this is a lot lighter in tone, it’s not as dark and gritty as I have come to expect from her, but it’s a thoughtful and complex story that has a lot of miner story lines entwined into the bigger picture that keeps you engrossed.

Very much highly recommended, Ms Snow is proving what a skilful writer she is.

Overruled by Fate is released on 22nd February and can be pre-ordered now at Amazon.

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

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

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

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14 Best Books of the Year; 2017

Echo in the Wind by Regan Walker

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

The Viking Warriors Bride by Harper St George

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

Angel Comes to the Devils Keep by Regina Jeffers

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

The Unexpected Countess by Laurie Benson

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

The Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews

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

Besieged and Betrothed by Jenni Fletcher

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

The Lions Embrace by Marie Laval

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

 The Knights Scarred Maiden by Nicole Locke

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

The Last Gamble by Anabelle Bryant

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

No Rest for the Wicked by Cora Lee

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

lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress by Lara Temple

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

The Crown Spire by Catherine Curzon & Willow Winsham

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

A Warriner to Rescue Her by Virginia Heath

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

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

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

The Captains Disgraced Lady by Catherine Tinley

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

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

Review – Proof of Virtue by Leila Snow

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“In struggling with misfortune, Lies the true proof of virtue.” -Shakespeare

It is the year 1848, and a cholera outbreak has just ravaged Manchester, leaving Emma Belden an orphan, with two young siblings to care for. Left with few options, she is forced to enter the workhouse and suffer the habitual injustices commonplace to that sad institution. Her beauty and naivety a target for the unscrupulous master of the workhouse and Edward Wells, the owner of the local textile mill, Emma will be compelled to make the difficult decision between the safety of her brother and sister, and her own virtue.
Gideon, Lord de Monthaut, is instantly smitten the moment he sees Emma, despite the fact that she is on the arm of one of the most notorious blackguards in Manchester society.
Will Emma find it possible to rise above her circumstances and find love? And in the process learn the true Proof of Virtue?

Well what on earth can I say about this, other than; how impossibly brilliant it is. Leila Snow is a new to me author – now, I know that I said I wouldn’t be taking on any new authors but, the minute I heard about this I knew that I had to read it. It intrigued me, the era the plot everything and I have to say that Ms Snow does not disappoint.

Proof of Virtue opens with Emma Beldon and her very young brother and sister; James and Mary, on the streets, her brother is seriously ill and she has nothing to her name but the clothes on her back. Emma knows that if her brother doesn’t get at least some help he will die, so she takes the heart-breaking decision to go into the workhouse. I can only imagine how awful that would have been for her, once there she knows that she must find a way out, as soon as she is put to work she starts saving the measly little bit of money she is allowed to keep. While working at the mill – which in many respects was just as bad as the work house, she unwillingly draws the attention of owner Edward Wells.

“I… I’m afraid I couldn’t do that, sir,” Emma stammered. “I’ve had enough of this timid maiden act!” he exploded then quieted his voice. “I will not tolerate any more of this. We both know that I can improve your life a great deal…provided you indulge me.” Lowering his voice even further, he bent down to whisper into her ear. “Likewise, we also both know I can make it much worse should you disappoint me,” he threatened.

Edward is a vile, sadistic and evil man. In fact, I wouldn’t call him a man at all he is cockroach! He preys on Emma, he wants her as his mistress, but Emma does something that has never happened to Edward before, she says no! He soon conspires with the workhouse manager and between them manipulate and blackmail her into accepting his devil’s deal; of she lives with him and becomes his mistress – or more accurately his punchbag – and he makes sure that her brother and sister are not just cared for but are kept together. Emma really see’s no other choice, she will do anything to protect her siblings, so she agrees and from that moment on her life is never to be the same again.

Her life as Edwards mistress/sex slave is pure hell, the only way she gets through his abusive behaviour is to think of James and Mary and that she will soon be able to free them all. When we first meet Emma, she is a naïve young girl, who doesn’t know true horrors of what is yet to come, she has so many dreams of marrying a man who loves her and who will look after her. But, the moment she walks into that hell of the workhouse it’s like her light starts growing fainter by the day and on becoming Edward mistress her light is extinguished. That is until she meet’s Gideon; Lord de Monthaut.

After a chance meeting at a sweet shop on one of her rare days of freedom, when Edward has gone off on “business”. Emma was drawn to the handsome and charming gentleman, but by this time Emma has grown evasive and highly cynical, she has been too used Edwards brutality that she now see’s all men in the same way, she looks on them with fear and caution. Gideon falls head over heals for Emma, he is entranced by her beauty and grace, her innocent persona grasps his attention.

Emma bobbed a small curtsey and offered her hand. Removing his glove, the baron took her hand and pressed a brief kiss on it as their eyes met, his crinkling into a warm smile. A bolt of heat shot up Emma’s arm, and she pulled her hand quickly from his strong grasp.

Gideon is a good man, even when he finds out that she is Edwards mistress he still finds her enchanting, he doesn’t know what horror’s Edward has inflicted on her and how she suffers by his hand. That is until he wins a night with her, after talking with her he is disgusted and saddened that this bright beautiful woman has been through so much heartache and Gideon only wants to help her, in any way he can.

Gideon really is a good man, he has a reputation of absolute kindness and respect to other’s. He isn’t averse to bringing stray animals which are wounded home to take care off, I suppose in some sense he see’s Emma as a cause as another of his wounded birds. That is until he really gets to know her, their relationship is so sweet, it’s pure and honest. Ms Snow has captured their tentative romance beautifully and she keeps you guessing right up until the last page as to what happens. But, can Emma escape the cage that she has found herself in and be happy, and will she ever be able to trust a man ever again?

“When we come together, it will be because you choose it, not because I seduce you or you’re looking for comfort.”She could do nothing but nod, feeling dumbfounded at his declarations of love despite her past. She found it impossible to believe. Sweeping her gently up into his arms once again, he strode off back towards his home.

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 thing 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 hard fought for genuinely deserved, than this is the book for you.

It is a sophisticated story from an author who I am looking forward to reading more of, an absolute must read. Very highly recommended!

Pure brilliance!

Proof of Virtue is out now and can be found at Amazon.