Review

#OffTheBookshelf #Review Almost Forever: An Emotional Debut Perfect For Fans Of Jojo Moyes by Laura Danks @auradanks #AlmostForever #Romance @HQDigitalUK

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 This is my first ‘Off the Bookshelf’ post, I am so pleased to be able to share with you all my review of Almost Forever by Laura Danks.

Perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, Cecelia Ahern and Jojo Moyes

Can love truly conquer all?

When a vicious attack leaves Paul in a coma on his wedding day, the doctors fear he will never wake up. But his fiancée Fran will never give up hope.

Fran has always known Paul is the only man for her, from the first moment they locked eyes as children to the day he finally told her he loved her. Paul can’t leave her, not now their lives are just about to begin.

Love will always find a way… won’t it?

My goodness me this is an immensely emotional book to read, the writing is incredibly powerful, raw and heart-breaking. What surprises me most is that this is Laura Danks debut. Which really is unbelievable as this is good – no good doesn’t really justify just how stunning this book is. It pulls at the heart-strings and I can guarantee that you will be reaching for the tissues, especially with lines like this; “Why isn’t my love enough?

Francesca and Paul are your dream couple, child heart sweethearts who after all the years together they are still very much in love. On the day of their wedding, the day starts off just like an other for them. They are getting ready to elope to Las Vegas for Fran’s dream wedding, under the moonlight with her beloved Paul beside her. When tragedy strikes, Paul is maliciously and cruelly attacked by a gang of thugs when he tries to save a woman’s life at the corner shop, leaving him in a coma fighting for his life.

The story is told through Fran’s eyes, we see her go from waking up that morning full of excitement knowing she will be marrying her one true love, to having to see her husband-to-be in intensive care facing an unknown future. I absolutely love how the story goes from the present day to glimpses of Fran and Paul throughout the years. Those memories showing how they met, spending holidays together and touching moments between them are beautiful and takes the reader on a poignant journey through Fran and Paul’s past and really showcases just how much they truly love one and other, which makes the outcome of their story all the more heart-breaking.

The writing is spectacular, Ms Danks has a true gift, she has captures Fran’s emotional state of mind with so much raw realism that you feel every tear, every laugh every turmoil that she goes through. I literally read this in one go, I couldn’t put it down. It grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let me go. It’s mesmerising and compelling, the writing is flawless. I cannot recommend this book enough and I will definitely be reading more from Laura Danks, she is an amazing writer and a kind one too as a potion of her royalties for the sale of this book will be donated to the Stroke Association.

Stunningly beautiful.

Almost Forever is available now from Amazon.

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#Review A Late Summer Night’s Dream by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead @MadameGilflurt @e_harkstead @PridePublishing #MMRomance #AlateSummerNightsDream #ContemporaryRomance

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Today I have the very great pleasure to be sharing my early review of ‘A Late Summer Night’s Dream’ by the wonderfully talented Eleanor Harkstead and Catherine Curzon.

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 79 pages

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Release: 19th February 2019

Among Oxford’s dreaming spires, can a widowed professor and a wide-eyed scholar make their own dreams of love come true?

Simeon Shakespeare is living his academic dream. As an Oxford scholar, he spends his days in libraries and whiles away his nights at the theater. A mix-up over a seat number leads to a very awkward first act, but that’s nothing compared to what happens when the lights go up.

Professor Anthony Meadows is finished with love. Shattered by the death of his husband, he divides his time between his book-lined study and Oxford’s theaters. The last thing he needs is an annoying research student bickering with him over who should sit where.

When Anthony and Simeon discover they have more in common than a shared love of the Bard, it looks as though the stage is set for romance. Yet with the memory of Anthony’s lost love keeping the professor from moving on, can Simeon’s love mend his broken heart?

Pride Publishing / Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

I do love reading these two fine ladies work, whether its historical, contemporary or even supernatural (Read The Captains Ghostly Gamble ;-)) Curzon and Harkstead together are such a treat for the romance reader and this is a wonderful addition to their ever-expanding CV.

A Late Summer Night’s Dream is another wonderful novella, set in picturesque Oxford. A love-at-first-sight tale, which sees a young wide-eyed, who is living the scholarly dream, who meets a handsome, widowed professor at the theatre.

I love the concept of this one; meeting a gorgeous stranger who not only dresses well but smells divine – which is so important, don’t you think that they smell nice? And could very well be ‘the one’ because of a mix up with seats at the theatre, giggling and joking through a bad performance of ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ all the while having a hard-boiled sweet chomping woman beside you giving you the evil eye, and finally ending up in the pub sharing a pie supper; just how perfect is that? Now, that is my kind of date! But there is more to this merry little, exceedingly English tale then getting to know one an other over pie and peas there is a real sadness to the tale that pulls at the heart-strings.

When scholar Simeon Shakespeare (Great name!) arrives at the theatre a tad late he finds a nice smelling, suit wearing gorgeous man sitting in his seat. The nerve of the man! But is it his seat, really of has there been a mistake on Simeon’s part? Honestly it can happen, believe me. But the seating mistake is soon pushed behind him as he and the god beside him soon find that they have a lot in common, and as happens in this case one thing leads to another and after the play and a meal they head off to Simeon’s.

Simeon has just come out of a not-so-happy relationship with a man who claimed him to be boring, honestly the nerve of the man, he finds peace in trips to the theatre, in disappearing into books. He isn’t looking for love but he knows that the moment he sets eyes on the gentlemanly Anthony that this is the man for him. He senses there is something about him, there is sadness behind those pearly blue eyes. A sadness that Simeon would love to help heal and which makes his heart bleed for him.

Professor Anthony Meadows is attempting to regain his life after the terrible loss of his husband four years earlier to brain cancer, Anthony knows that Iain; his late husband wouldn’t want him to disappear into his shell, he would have wanted Anthony to carry on and live again; which is the reason why he finds himself at the theatre that night. Anthony is shocked that gorgeous, vivacious and young Simeon would want to be with an older guy like him. As soon as meeting the young scholar; Anthony begins to feel himself enjoying himself again, he is flattered by the attention but he is also confused by that and feels he is betraying his late husband’s memory and he can’t take the relationship further. It is at this point where you think “No, what the hell are you doing Anthony, you fool. Get back in there, Simeon’s brilliant!But never worry, all will come right in the end.

The budding relationship between Anthony and Simeon is so lovely to see blossom, each of them have initial issues, Anthony especially. Not only because of his sadness over his late husband but also because he is very aware of the large age gap between them, that aspect of the story along with Simeon’s patience and how he encourages Anthony to just be himself is so beautifully written.

Curzon and Harkstead just gel together, there is always something very special about their writing. Plus it always is so very realistically and wonderfully English in tone, I could hear Anthony’s plummy tones in my mind as I read – which to me oddly enough sounded something along the lines of a younger James or Edward Fox, weird I know! With a realistic plot, witty and sensual dialogue between the characters this is a charming and delightful read, that ended far too soon.

Definitely another winner!

This was an Arc copy from the authors in exchange for an honest review; Thank you Catherine and Eleanor!

A Late Summer Nights Dream is to be released on 19 February and can be pre-ordered from Amazon; links at beginning of review.

#Review Untamed (Hotel Temptation #3) by Caitlin Crews @megancrane #Untamed #MillsandBoonDare #MillsandBoonInsiders #DoYouDare #AdultRomance #EroticRomance @MillsandBoon

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Buttons are made to be undone

One wicked touch at a time…

Self-made businesswoman Lucinda Graves is determined to add a tropical hotel to her company’s empire—and devastatingly handsome owner Jason Kaoki is willing to negotiate… But only if Lucinda rises to each challenge he sets! Lucinda passes every test, but as each dare grows hotter and wilder than the last will she be able to keep her eyes on the prize?

I can’t believe that it has taken me this long to read a Mills and Boon Dare book, but better late then never, right? This is a great introduction to this whole new series of books and a whole new-to-me author.

Even though this is apart of the Dare range from Mills and Boon, it is also book three in the Hotel Temptations series, which very easily can be read as a stand-a-lone. There are mentions of character’s that I believe are apart of the series, but I saw them more as backing story about Jason.

Lucinda has been sent to an unnamed tropical island in the middle of the Pacific, her task is to get the reclusive owner; billionaire Jason Kaoki to sign over his hotel to her companies ever expanding empire. The only problem is that he has already sent four of her colleagues packing within minutes, she is adamant that she will not be leaving his island empty handed. She is a sassy, bold as brass, determined woman who has worked hard to get to where she is, which means she will do what ever it takes to get the contract signed.

Jason Kaoki just wants to live in his isolated in peace, yet he keeps getting harassed by all this ‘suits’ who want to buy him out. He didn’t become a multimillionaire by being manipulated into doing what he doesn’t want to by large companies, so he knows exactly how to get rid of the pests in suits, that is until he sees the latest one sent; a vivacious fiery red-head who knows her mind and is far more determined then any of the other’s. He plan’s to see how far she will go to get what she wants, so he presents her with a few challenges which will push her to the limit, but how far will she go?

The story is set across a couple of days, as Lucinda and Jason play a game of sexy cat and mouse, as they fight each other for control over the situation they have found themselves in. I found that we don’t really get a sense of who these two until further into the book, their true character’s are quite shadowed to the reader which also makes you keep reading as you are intrigued as to who these people are. I like the pacing of this, nothing is slow or long winded, not dragging of the feet waiting for the bedroom scenes. From the moment Lucinda and Jason meet, boom; pent up sexual tension ripples and hangs in the air like a heavy fog.

I don’t think I need to warn you as this is a ‘Dare’ book, but I will anyway; that this is very hot, there are some extremely spicy scenes, so if aren’t fans of erotic romances with strong language then maybe this isn’t the best book for you the language is shall we say colourful with very hot scenes.

Its a great little story about two lonely and work focused people who aren’t so much looking for love but just fall into it by chance, the story is very much focus on the challenges between Jason and Lucinda and how far they can push each other before one breaks. I found their romance a little slow as it is very much focused on their sexual relationship rather then the emotional one, but those moment when they are truly getting to know each other near the end is very tender and well written. The only thing I didn’t like about this was how Lucinda allowed herself to be manipulated into these challenges. She is an intelligent women who really shouldn’t have to resort to wearing teeny-weeny bikini’s, surfing and showing off her ‘arse’ just to get a contract signed. I didn’t like how he exploited her like that in the beginning, apart from that I enjoyed the story, I just would have preferred Lucinda to stand up to Jason a bit more, like she did when she first arrived at his hotel.

Overall an enjoyable weekend read.

This was an Arc copy from Mills and Boon Insiders via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Untamed is to be released on 21 February and can be pre-orded at Amazon.

#Review Her Deceptive Duke (Wicked Husbands series #4) by Scarlett Scott @scarscoromance #HerDeceptiveDuke #WickedHusbands #Victorian #Romance

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Georgiana, Duchess of Leeds, hasn’t seen her husband since he left her on their wedding day for an extended hunting expedition and never returned. But she isn’t the sort to wait around pining for an arrogant oaf who can’t bother to recall he has a wife, no matter how sinfully handsome he may be.

She finds all the fulfillment she requires in caring for the stray cats and dogs of London’s streets. Until, that is, the duke returns, and she uncovers the truth about where he’s been…

Kit, Duke of Leeds, never wanted to be duke. He was content with his life as one of Her Majesty’s most dedicated spies until his brother’s unexpected demise left him forced to marry an American heiress to save the family estate from ruin. The day he married her, he left for a secret assignment in America, with no intention of returning.

Seriously wounded and his cover ruined, Kit’s forced back to London where he finds a townhouse brimming with creatures and a wife who can’t bear the sight of him.

With husband and wife beneath the same roof at last, their marriage of convenience sparks into a passion that’s as undeniable as it is unexpected. But is desire enough to bring two wary hearts together? And once Kit’s wounds are healed, will Georgiana’s love be enough to make him stay?

WARNING: Contains explicit language and steamy scenes.

Well, what a fantastic book! It’s ultra hot, saucy, thrilling, exciting, sensual….I could go on but over the course of this review, I may bleat on a wee bit too much about how amazing this book is. I cannot believe that I have never read Scarlett Scott’s work before, why is that? I must have been walking around with my eyes shut to have missed this fine author, but that will soon be rectified as I will most certainly be reading more from Ms Scott.

This is book four in the Wicked Husbands series seeing as I hadn’t read any of the other before I can whole heartedly say that you really do not need to. I read this as a stand-a-lone, because the story is centred around the couple and not so much the spy network – we will get to that later 😉 I didn’t think that I had missed out on anything from the previous books, true I now need to read the other’s just because this was so darn good.

The story starts with Georgianna and Kit marrying, not voluntarily theirs was the typical arranged marriage of convenience; his Ducal family needed money and she has money as she is the daughter of a wealthy American. Match made in heaven? Not quite, seeing as the moment they are married and before the wedding day is even finished Kit swan’s off without a backwards glance at his new wife and Duchess. To say that poor Georgianna is riled doesn’t even come close to how she feels about her husband, all she can do is stand by and watch his retreating broad shouldered back walk away from her.

In the months while her husband was off on his so called ‘hunting trip’ she has had to find a way to take her mind of the hurt she was feeling when he left, that hurt soon turned into anger and now she feels nothing for the man she was made to marry. She started rescuing animals and nursing them back to health, she has literally filled the house with all manner of animals – which once her husband returns and finds dogs in his master chamber that makes for some very amusing scenes between estranged husband and wife.

He does sound like a cad and really he could have waited a day at least before he fled, but I do like Kit and there is a very good reason why he had to flee. Kit is not just a high and mighty Duke but he is also apart of a secret group of her majesties spies called ‘The legion’ he had to rush off on his latest mission, one that unfortunately for him is the one that nearly gets him killed. He turns up again months later; severely wounded after being shot when his cover was blown. He has no choice but to go home with his tail between his legs as everyone thinks him a traitor, let us just say he isn’t looking forward to the reunion with Georgiana.

I absolutely adore ‘enemies to loverstrope stories, I love the conflict between the couple and the HEA feels so much more earned and these two are fantastic. They argue, rant and rave, they throw abuse and insults at one and other as though it’s as easy as breathing and then there is the making up sex; my goodness me it mightily hot! Kit is gruff, broody, argumentative, he never wanted to be Duke he is far happier in his spying role, he never wanted a wife – especially one as free- spirited and feisty as Georgianna, who would be as happy as Larry to skewer him with something sharp; but the estate and the title needed the money. Yet beneath all that ruthlessness and cold heart there lies a good, loyal, decent and brave man who merely wants to do his duty. Georgianna is a wonderful lady, yes she does hate Kit with a passion for doing a runner, but when he turns up wounded she is the first to jump in and help her husband, but that doesn’t mean life is plain sailing for them especially with an unknown traitor on the loose and Georgianna ready to shoot anyone – including Kit – with her trusty pistol.

I love it!! It is such a great story; thrilling, imaginative fast-paced and supremely sexy. The character’s are well developed from the moment of meeting them you are instantly drawn to into their story but more then that they are immensely likeable and very funny; especially when they want to throttle each other. It is defiantly one that will be read and re-read again and again.

I do have to warn that there is a lot of strong language throughout, and the sex will make the reader rather hot under the collar. So if you don’t like explicit bedroom scenes and a foul mouthed hero then this may not be the best book for you, but I would say give it a go as the story is a corker. With a traitorous and complex plot, sexy spies, brooding dukes and fiery duchesses, plus a mansion full of vagrant animals; what’s not to love?

A must read for all historical romance lovers!

This was a complimentary copy via Aurora Publicity in exchange for an honest review, Thank you Pam.

Her Deceptive Duke can be purchased from Amazon.

#Review His Three Day Duchess (The Sommersby Bride Series #3) by Laurie Benson (@LaurieBwrites) #HisThreeDayDuchess #SommersbyBride #Regency #Romance @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

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He’s claimed his title

Could he inherit a bride, too?

The Duchess of Skeffington retreats to the estate that was her refuge during her cruel marriage. She’s shocked to come face-to-face with the distant heir, now newly inherited duke, adventurous Simon Alexander. When Elizabeth is robbed, it’s up to them both to find the thief. But traveling together would attract too much gossip… Unless they pose as husband and wife!

This is the third and final book in The Sommersby Brides mini series and I will admit that I was in mixed thoughts about this. I loved a good 99% of it; the plot is fantastic a blossoming romance between two people who I honestly would never have put together, with the hint of a mystery as they try to catch a thief, it literally takes the reader on a wonderful journey. The hero is amazing, really I have fallen head over heels for this brilliant man, especially as he does remind me of Indiana Jones minus the great hat 😉 no idea where that came from. Maybe because I was watching Indi at the same as reading this over Christmas. And off course the amazing Aunt Clara is back on brilliant form, she really is a hoot.

I do hate to say it – only because I never like saying anything negative about an author’s hard work, but I have vowed to be honest and as great as this book is; really the story itself has everything that we have come to expect from Ms Benson; fascinating character’s, thrilling side story involving stolen jewels and a bit of a game of cat and mouse between two highly opinionated and strong people who ultimately leads to romance. But to me this final book in The Sommersby Brides series didn’t have that same magic which the previous books did. I can’t put my finger on it, it felt as though there was something missing for me the heroine was lacking something which surprised me. I don’t know why but for some reason I couldn’t warm to Lizzie as I did her sisters; Juliet and Charlotte. To me on first meeting her at the start of the book she appeared; cold, bossy, a bit demanding and may I say it a tad on the selfish side – Sorry! She did mellow and become more human as the story unfolded we found out more about her as a person instead of as just a duchess. I did love the ‘will-they-won’t-they’ spark between her and Simon, the dialogue between them is fast and fiery, plus very romantic but I am a fickle reader and first impressions really do count for me.

Lizzie; Duchess of Skeffington is finally free from her cruel husband to be able to go about her life as she wants. She has resigned herself to never finding love like her sister’s have, she is feeling alone and depressed she hasn’t had the best start always being passed over for her much more vivacious sisters and then ending up in a terrible marriage. She sees now as being the chance she has for the happiness she deserves, she fully plan’s on retiring to her secluded little idle of Stonehaven and being able to breathe again. That is until her late husbands will is read and she meets the new Duke of Skeffington, she feels like her life has just fallen around her again.

Simon Alexander, the new Duke of Skeffington which really is something that he never wanted. He can’t think of anything worse than having this title and responsibility that comes with the title land in his lap, he is far happier in his old life as an adventurer and searching out his much-loved treasures and is love of antiques – you see now why I think of him as Indiana Jones! And if you think that he isn’t overly excited about his new life then wait until you see his reaction to Lizzie. To say that he initially dislikes the dowager duchess is an understatement, but he soon comes to know her as Lizzie and not just the money grabbing duchess he initially thinks her to be. Especially when one thing leads to another and they end up on the hunt for a thief that takes them on an eye-opening journey.

I love Simon, what a wonderful, sexy, intelligent, honest, warm and sensual man he is. He is everything I love about a hero; charming, a bit broody, hard-working, not too keen on aristocrat’s – basically he thinks most of them too be demanding lay-abouts ) my words, not his!) He has a good head on those wide shoulders and a sympathetic, kind heart. Plus, he is very easy on the eye…..he really does need an Indiana Jones hat to go with those boots….sigh!!

Over all this is a wonderfully romantic story all about second chances and finding true love, the beautiful story and charismatic Simon did out way my own personal initial thoughts of Lizzie. It’s charming and heart-warming, the writing is as perfect as ever and I absolutely love the epilogue which is such a lovely ending to the series and it is so good to see how all the couples fair. It is a little sad that the series is over, it seems to have finished way too quickly one minute we are just getting to the sisters and then poof, we are at the end….but heard rumours that aunt Clara may get a story – that should be fantastic!

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

His Three Day Duchess is to be released on 24 January and can be pre-ordered at amazon.

#Review To Win A Wallflower by Liz Tyner (@LizTyner1) #ToWinAWallflower #Regency #Romance @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

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From a marriage masquerade…

to his bride for real!

Viscount’s son Barrett prefers building his empire to securing a bride—and a wager to spend a week in sheltered Annie Carson’s family home won’t change that! But Barrett doesn’t expect Annie to be so captivating, and when she runs away to find her scandalous sister he must bring her home. To protect innocent Annie’s reputation they pretend to be married! Will Barrett lose the wager…and win his wallflower?

This is an interesting story that is far more complex than you initially think, which is what I love about Ms Tyner’s work, she takes what is a very basic trope and storyline and gives it a twist and it ends up being fresh and new. To Win A Wallflower is no different, at first glance it does appear to be a basic marriage of convenience story; rake meets wallflower they find themselves in questionable circumstances only to end up married. Yes, this does go along those lines but this is something else, when I first started reading I did think that I had read the back blurb of a different book and I did become slightly perplex as to where the story was going. But that is only because the story starts off in such a different way to what we have come to expect from this trope and I am very happy to say once I got to know the character’s and why the story started as it did, it all fell into place nicely as we got into the story. And that story ended up being playful, heart-warming, emotional and witty.

The story opens where Viscount’s Barrett is staying with the Carson family for the week under the illusion of forging an alliance in business. But his real motives for being there is because he has been told that the daughter is one of the most beautiful women that society has ever seen – or in her case, not seen. But his actual motives for being there is to win a wager he has with his brother, a wager if won will give him some rest from his drunk, bullying father. But in order to win he must spend the full week under the same roof as Annie Carson and more than that not touch her, and prove he is more interested in building his business empire than gaining a wife. All goes well, that is until he finally sets eyes upon the illusive Annie, one glimpse of a bracelet clad wrist and the sound of a tinkling laugh makes the cold and focused Barrett feel thing’s he never thought he could, she makes him want to care for someone deserving.

He becomes captivated by her, she is the most innocent and pure thing he has ever laid eyes upon and when he comes to terms with his unrelenting attraction her, Annie decides to break away from her suffocating life and flee to her scandalous sister. He may act uncaring and a little rakish but he is a gentleman which is why as soon as he hears Annie has fled he is the first to go after her. It is here when the real fun starts and the story grabs you, as to not cause scandal they must put on a charade of them being married.

Annie is treated like a little show doll, only to be allowed out to show her off, only allowed to go out with her controlling parent’s and never on her own, only allowed to meet and socialize strictly approved person’s. She misses her sisters, she is lonely and wants more than what she has. Which is why she decides to run away, only problem with that is she is so naive and innocent she has no idea of the way of the world and the dangers everywhere. Even though the most dangerous thing is the devilishly attractive man who has turned up to take her back to her parents. Who she knows as soon as they get their hands on her she will be back in the attic never to see daylight again.

I love Barrett, he is so different to how we see aristocrat’s, he is a man who is trying to distance himself from his cruel up-bringing, trying to make something of himself that doesn’t involve being who he is supposed to be in the eyes of the ton – and in the eyes of his manipulative, drunk of a father. Really that man is vile, the way he treats everyone around him and especially his son is terrible and yet he is one of those kind of men who think that just because they have a title they think that they can do and act however they like. Grrr I do hate those people! Barrett may act the ultimate rake but there is a real vulnerability beneath that cold mask, he is a man who doesn’t allow any to get too close to him and yet when he does lower his defences he is utterly charming.

I felt so much sympathy for Annie she is well and truly a porcelain doll who is cloistered away never to be seen by anyone other than family. They lean on her way too much and have taken full control of her life. Every aspect of her life is controlled from who she sees, where she goes, what she wears, what she eats when to go to bed and so on, in a way it’s a form of abuse and personally the faster she gets away from these people the better. I have never met such an innocent woman before, you can feel her frustration at her life she wants to do what is right but she also wants to live she is confused by her mixed emotions and suddenly there is this big, handsome, irritating man who wants to take her back to the very place she is fleeing from. And yet this man is kind and caring, if a bit of the abrupt side and at times he doesn’t act like a gentleman but she likes how he makes her feel something other than a little girl, how he treats her like a lady other than a doll. It is that which really makes me love Barrett, the moment he meets her he sees that she is so innocent and he tries to teach her how to be more human, more self-reliant and I really like that.

Over all this is a lovely and original romance, it did start off a bit on the slow side and I was a bit confused as to what was going on in the chapter, but other than that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Once the story got going it was surprisingly imaginative and complex, for me the moment where Barrett rescues after she flees is the turning point. I loved the scene where they are walking back, his anger and frustration at her is so palpable. He is broody, grumpy, monosyllabic and utterly fascinating.

Don’t let the initial bumpy start put you off from finishing this book, as it is well worth persevering with as once our couple are alone together there is a lot of great moments between them.

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

To Win A Wallflower is to released on 24 January and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

#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.