Monday, 16 October 2017

Lord Edward's Mysterious Treasure: The Breton Adventure (The Victorian Adventures), by Lillian Marek (2107)



Lord Edward Tremaine comes to the fog-shrouded Chateau Morvan on the coast of Brittany. In this ancient building, all the inhabitants have secrets. The old vicomte demands that his descendants find a lost treasure, but he offers only hints to help the three cousins in their search. The beautiful and charming Delphine seems to be a creature of gaiety and sunshine, but every now and then glimpses of something darker appear. Marguerite, the brilliant pianist, is withdrawn in grim silence. Antoine, who considers himself a modern man, ignores the swirling emotions, concentrating only on the money needed for his steel factory.
Lord Edward wants to help his friend Antoine, but can he do so before tragedy strikes?

Review 



I adore a good Gothic historical novel and 'Lord Edward's Mysterious Treasure' fits the bill perfectly. It is beautifully researched and the little snippets of factual information about the era blends brilliantly with the romance and suspense in the story.

Set in a crumbling French chateaux some time after The Siege of Paris it develops a gothic feel right from the beginning when Lord Tremaine arrives at the old castle and he meets its strange inhabitants. The tension and fear among the ladies in the house is tangible and Lord Edward is soon embroiled in their problems which centre round Delphine's theatrics and spiralling mental disorder.

The hunt for the treasure makes an intriguing adventure and Ned's suspicious illness and suspected poisoning makes for suspenseful reading. I enjoyed the romantic angle as well and I was rooting for Marguerite and Edward from the beginning. 

Delphine is a beautiful, tragic character with a flawed personality which only becomes apparent as the story progresses. At the beginning of the novel I assumed her to be the beautiful heroine but her true colours quickly shone through and she became more unlikable as she retreated into her grandiose fantasies.

I liked the familial bond Edward had with his parents and how they thought nothing of spontaneously travelling a great distance to visit him in order to extricate him from trouble. Edward is a naive, young man and it felt right that they would jump to protect him. They make an interesting family and I will certainly be going back to read the first three books in the series.

Books 1-3  are available right now and 'Lord Edward' will be out on the 7th of November.

Buy Links Amazon

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Queen of the Ploughing: My Story, by Anna May McHugh (2017)




'The embodiment of the spirit of rural Ireland'
Anna May McHugh's name is synonymous with 'the Ploughing' - the annual Championships of the National Ploughing Association. The event is the biggest outdoor agricultural show in Europe and Anna May is the driving force behind its spectacular growth.
Anna May now tells her story. Her description of growing up as part of a large family in rural County Laois is an evocative and affectionate account of an Ireland that is now gone. But in her account of how she went from being a secretary of the Ploughing Association, her first job, to becoming - to her own amazement - its managing director twenty years later is a story of leadership and people skills that are very much of the twenty-first century. Anna May was truly ahead of her time.
Still living in County Laois, close to where she grew up, and now in her eighties, Anna May still runs the multi-million euro operation from her home, alongside her daughter, Anna Marie.
Queen of the Ploughing is a captivating read, full of warmth, lively stories and Anna May's sharp observations. And it's not just about Anna May's life, but is also a celebration of the best of Irish life over eight decades.




I was stunned by how much I enjoyed reading Anna May's story as I have practically no interest and no experience in farming or agriculture. I didn't realise the Ploughing Championships were so significant! But once I started reading I couldn't put it down.

I am hugely interested in history and so it was with delight that on reading the first chapter I was hooked. It was also nice to read about twentieth century Ireland from a woman's perspective.
Anna May is a remarkable woman who managed to carve out a very successful career for herself in a male dominated industry and in a time when Ireland was very much a patriarchal society. She certainly was ahead of her time and it just goes to show how much people respected and admired her. 

In her book, Anna May fondly remembers her parents and she has some lovely stories about them and her childhood in general. She also explains how she met her husband. Anna May was very active in various local groups and she talks about the importance of community groups, like the GAA and ICA, and social gatherings in general for people in rural Ireland to meet and socialise. 

Anna May talks about the people she worked with and met during her career. There are photographs of the people she worked with as well as family photos. These pictures add a nice, personal touch and I felt like I was chatting to an old friend as I read through the book.

This was a lovely, warm and light read from a lady who has contributed an awful lot to Irish life and culture over the past sixty years.


Buy Link Amazon   BookDepository 

Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Scot Beds His Wife by Kerrigan Byrne (2017)


Release Date: 3rd October 2017
Pre-order : Amazon

Publisher's Information

THE SCOT BEDS HIS WIFE:
The Scot Beds His Wife is the next lush, captivating Victorian romance in the Victorian Rebels series by Kerrigan Byrne.

They’re rebels, scoundrels, and blackguards—dark, dashing men on the wrong side of the law. But for the women who love them, a hint of danger only makes the heart beat faster.


Gavin St. James, Earl of Thorne, is a notorious Highlander and an unrelenting Lothario who uses his slightly menacing charm to get what he wants—including too many women married to other men. But now, Gavin wants to put his shady past behind him...more or less. When a fiery lass who is the heiress to the land he wishes to possess drops into his lap, he sees a perfectly delicious opportunity...


Review 


I have loved everything I've read by Kerrigan Byrne and her latest release is another success. It starts off quite dark but I love dark, intense scenes so I was instantly hooked.
The darkness subsided after that to some degree but there was enough element of menace, adventure, romance and humour to keep me entertained and reading into the wee hours.

I instantly liked the characters Thorne and Samantha. Both are fighters who will do what is necessary to survive. I expected Thorne to be ambitious, tough and kind and I admired Samantha's sense of adventure and her bravery. 

This was an exciting, historical romance I didn't want to put down.


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The Trip of a Lifetime by Monica McInerney (2017) Published by Penguin



Publisher's Information

Number One bestseller Monica McInerney tells a heart-warming, humorous story about family and coming to terms with the past

'I always thought memories were unchangeable. Set in stone, shaped by the years. But there are always others too, ones you haven't let yourself remember . . .'

The wilful and eccentric Lola Quinlan is off on the trip of a lifetime, taking her beloved granddaughter and great-granddaughter with her. More than sixty years after emigrating to Australia, she's keeping a secret promise to return to her Irish homeland.
Lola has always been her family's port in a storm, but she's hiding the hurtful reason she left Ireland as a young woman. Lola's walk down memory lane will force her to confront her bittersweet past - and discover that the truth can indeed set you free . . .
The Trip of a Lifetime is a moving story about the light and dark times of life, and a colourful, big-hearted family you'll want to call your own.


Review  

This was such a beautiful, charming story. The characters were so very real and human that it felt like I was visiting old friends and catching up.
Every family is complicated, probably with more than one skeleton in the closet whether they admit to it or not and Lola's story is something that will touch a chord with many readers. 
This book will have you laughing and holding back the tears as you follow Lola down memory lane.

Modern Ireland is excellently portrayed, mostly through the eyes of Lola who was able to see what had stayed the same in her old neighbourhood and what had changed in the past sixty years. There are no lazy stereotypes of Ireland.

The characters in this book are brilliantly written.
Lola is eccentric and formidable. Her granddaughters are clever and funny. 
I especially loved the overly enthusiastic and friendly chauffeur they hired in Ireland.

I found this book difficult to put down and thoroughly entertaining. 

Purchase links 







Sunday, 3 September 2017

Mad: Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know Trilogy, Book 1 by Chloé Esposito, Published by Penguin.


Publisher's Information

In this compulsively readable debut, set between London and Sicily over one blood-drenched week in the dead of summer, an identical twin reveals the crazy lies and twists she'll go through to not only steal her sister's perfect life, but to keep on living it.
Alvie Knightly is a trainwreck: aimless, haphazard, and pretty much constantly drunk. Alvie's existence is made even more futile in contrast to that of her identical and perfect twin sister, Beth. Alvie lives on social media, eats kebabs for breakfast, and gets stopped at security when the sex toy in her carry-on starts buzzing. Beth is married to a hot, rich Italian, dotes on her beautiful baby boy, and has always been their mother's favorite. The twins' days of having anything in common besides their looks are long gone. 
When Beth sends Alvie a first-class plane ticket to visit her in Italy, Alvie is reluctant to go. But when she gets fired from the job she hates and her flatmates kick her out on the streets, a luxury villa in glitzy Taormina suddenly sounds more appealing. Beth asks Alvie to swap places with her for just a few hours so she can go out unnoticed by her husband. Alvie jumps at the chance to take over her sister's life--if only temporarily. But when the night ends with Beth dead at the bottom of the pool, Alvie realizes that this is her chance to change her life. 
Alvie quickly discovers that living Beth's life is harder than she thought. What was her sister hiding from her husband? And why did Beth invite her to Italy at all? As Alvie digs deeper, she uncovers Mafia connections, secret lovers, attractive hitmen, and one extremely corrupt priest, all of whom are starting to catch on to her charade. Now Alvie has to rely on all the skills that made her unemployable--a turned-to-11 sex drive, a love of guns, lying to her mother--if she wants to keep her million-dollar prize. She is uncensored, unhinged, and unforgettable.



Review 



Wickedly dark, thrilling, and hilarious, 'Mad' is one of the most entertaining reads of the year. 
The reader gets sucked into Alvie's mind and carried along with her from one crazy, madcap episode to the next. I couldn't count the amount of times her actions shocked me into exclaiming,
 'OMG she did not just do that did she?' 
She certainly is 'mad, bad and dangerous to know.'

I can't wait for the rest of the trilogy to be released in 2018.

Buy Links Book Depository AmazonUK  AmazonUS   

Also available in audio format from Audible


Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The Fox of Cordovia: The Rebel Series Book 3 by Linda Weaver Clarke (2017)




In this swashbuckling romance, a sinister plot has just been uncovered and its up to a former patriot and a young nurse to discover who is behind it. Caroline is engaged to the future mayor of Laketown, a man of influence and greatly respected. But all that changes when she overhears a conspiracy behind closed doors. After being discovered, she runs for her life. Caroline needs to report her findings, but whom can she trust? When she asks Jesse Conover for help, the adventure begins.



Review 



I loved this book. It is full of adventure, drama, intrigue and suspense. We've got kidnapping plots, pirate ships, daring rescues and romance.
The author weaves an exciting tale and a sweet romance together in a way that will appeal to all readers and is suitable from age 12 up.

I realised when I started this book that I hadn't read the second in the series however, each book contains its own story without any cliffhangers and they can be enjoyed as stand alone novels.

Buy Links Amazon UK    
              Amazon US 
           Book Depository

Sunday, 20 August 2017

On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service: A Royal Spyness Mystery, Book 11 by Rhys Bowen (2017) Narrated by Katherine Kellgren (2017)










A delightful new Royal Spyness Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Crowned and Dangerous.

When royal sleuth Georgie Rannoch receives a letter from her dearest friend Belinda, who’s in an Italian villa awaiting the birth of her illegitimate baby, she yearns to run to her side. If only she could find a way to get there! But then opportunity presents itself in a most unexpected way—her cousin the queen asks her to attend a house party in the Italian Lake Country. The Prince of Wales AND the dreadful Mrs. Simpson have been invited, and Her Majesty is anxious to thwart a possible secret wedding.

What luck! A chance to see Belinda, even if it is under the guise of stopping unwanted nuptials. Only that’s as far as Georgie’s fortune takes her. She soon discovers that she attended finishing school with the hostess of the party—and the hatred they had for each other then has barely dimmed. Plus, she needs to hide Belinda’s delicate condition from the other guests. And her dashing beau, Darcy is (naturally) working undercover on a dangerous mission. Then her actress mother shows up, with a not-so-little task to perform. With all this subterfuge, it seems something is bound to go horribly wrong—and Georgie will no doubt be left to pick up the pieces when it does.





Review 





Another charming escapade for Georgie and Darcy. Belinda's predicament gets resolved nicely at the end and I hope there's a HEA for her soon. The murder mystery is quite intriguing, there were plenty of suspects to choose from and keep you guessing.
The narration of this series is very good. I love the performance for Belinda but the one I'm not keen on is Darcy as he sounds too feminine and his Irish accent is dodgy.

I have enjoyed every single book in this series and if you haven't started it yet I highly recommend it....making sure to start at book one.
Buy Links Audible   Book Depository

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

One Wish Away: Djinn Empire Book 1 by Ingrid Seymour (2017) Narrated by Lisa Angelini (2017)


Publisher's Information

An Amazon Bestselling series with 130+ 5-star reviews.

Romance is overrated. Marielle has had it with boys, especially after her ex turned vile. That is until Faris comes along with his deep, dark eyes and tantalizing secrets. Inevitably, he draws her in, even though she's been warned not to trust him.

But when attempts on her life begin, Marielle suspects Faris. His seductive ways and stalking episodes are a dead giveaway, right? Her heart falls into turmoil. Should she run into his arms or run away in fear? Desperately, she tries to find answers, but what she finds is a powerful monster who wants to torture her for mere pleasure's sake.

Because Marielle is right in the middle of an ancient battle between two immortal Djinn. They both want something from her.

One, her devotion. The other one, her life.

One Wish Away is a young adult paranormal series that will appeal to lovers of Hush Hush, Twilight, and the Fallen series.

Review 


I would recommend this book teens and up who like paranormal romance.

This was a fun, light read as I haven't read any Djinn themed stories before and the concept was totally new to me. I liked the characters and Marielle grew on me as she became less angry at the world around her and made selfless choices with her wishes.
I enjoyed all the teen drama at college. There was plenty of drama as Marielle faced intimidation from both real world people and others from the magical realm.
The story was very entertaining and held my attention throughout. The little touch of romance was lovely and I look forward to following on with the rest of the series.

I listened to the audio version and it is very well performed by the narrator, Lisa Angelini

Buy Links Amazon UK       Audible

Thursday, 10 August 2017

You Don't Know Me by Imran Mahmood (2017)




Publisher's Information
It's easy to judge between right and wrong - isn't it?
Not until you hear a convincing truth.
Now it's up to you to decide...

An unnamed defendant stands accused of murder. Just before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech.
He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he's going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth.
There are eight pieces of evidence against him. As he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands. We, the reader - member of the jury - must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions... but at the end of the speeches, only one matters:
Did he do it?

PRAISE FOR YOU DON'T KNOW ME
'An original take on a courtroom drama that puts the reader in the position of the jury. Superb character-driven fiction. Masterful' Guardian
'Startlingly original, stunning, superbly executed' DAILY MAIL
'A rollercoaster ride' GUARDIAN
'An exciting first novel, highly original, cleverly plotted and convincingly written' LITERARY REVIEW
'You Don't Know Me is a brave debut by a barrister... an impressively original courtroom drama' THE TIMES
'You'll never guess the ending' THE SUN
'A daring concept executed to perfection, a hypnotic and authentic voice, and questions for us to answer as people and readers' LEE CHILD
'An eye-opening, slick and compulsive thriller with an important message and unique writing' ADAM DEACON, actor, writer, rapper, director - star of Kidulthood and Adulthood


Review
 

I loved the fact that the story is told via 'audio transcripts' from the trial. There is only one voice and it is that of the defendant's.


I was hooked by the entire story line but I didn't have any emotional reaction nor did I feel overly sympathetic to the defendant and his circumstances although he does spin a fantastic tale.
I did enjoy the book a lot and wouldn't hesitate in recommending it.



I have noticed from talking to other readers that they didn't like the way the book ended. However, it is worth pointing out that the blurb clearly states that the reader IS the jury in this book. So, have a listen and decide for yourself....Guilty or not guilty?


I also listened to the audio version of this book and the narration is brilliant. 

 LISTEN TO THE FIRST CHAPTER FREE  from Audible UK

 Or you can download the whole book HERE 

Monday, 24 July 2017

Here and Gone by Haylen Beck (2017)



Publisher's Information

'A brilliant, relentless rollercoaster of suspense that shreds your emotions' PETER JAMES

Audra has finally left her abusive husband. She’s taken the family car and her young children, Sean and Louise, are buckled up in the back. This is their chance for a fresh start.

Audra keeps to the country roads to avoid attention. She’s looking for a safe place to stay for the night when she spots something in her rear-view mirror. A police car is following her and the lights are flickering. Blue and red.

As Audra pulls over she is intensely aware of how isolated they are. Her perfect escape is about to turn into a nightmare beyond her imagining. . . 

Dark secrets and a heart-pounding race to reveal the truth lie at the heart of this page-turning thriller.

Full of dark secrets and heart-pounding twists, Here and Gone is the ultimate page-turner.

‘An almost unbearably tense nail-biter of a novel. Cancel all your plans and settle in for the ride…’ RUTH WARE

‘Packed with smart twists and unforgettable characters, Here and Gone is one of the best debuts of the year. Highly recommended’ HARLAN COBEN


Review 

Here and Gone is a tense, nail biting thriller from start to finish.
Tension builds right from the first page as Audra is making a frantic escape from an abusive marriage. Things don't go as planned when she is pulled over by the police and suddenly plunged into a nightmare situation.  
The is a dark, exciting, page turner with a great satisfying conclusion, I defy anyone to be able to put this book once they've read the opening chapter.

A brilliant read.



Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Moon Over the Mediterranean by Sheri Cobb South (2017) Narrated by Liisa Ivary(2017)




Publisher's information

Set in 1961, young schoolteacher Robin Fletcher accompanies her aunt on a cruise from Barcelona to Venice. The first night at sea, she sees a fellow passenger throwing something from the stern of the ship. Thus begins a series of strange incidents, each more bewildering than the last. By the time the ship reaches Venice, will the voyage have changed Robin’s life…or ended it? Romantic suspense by Sheri Cobb South

Review  



I enjoy mysteries best when there are elements of suspense and romance. This story fitted the bill excellently.
In 'Moon Over the Mediterranean' I  loved the mystery, the characters and the old, vintage feel to the story. I loved the fact that it took place on a cruise in the Mediterranean. The descriptions of the locations made me feel like I was on holidays with the character sand I would like to take this book with me the next time I am on holidays there.
Reading a story set in the 60's is something new for me but I would definitely read more if the author were to continue with this theme.

Buy Links Amazon UK  / US     Audible UK        Audible US   BookDepository

Sunday, 16 July 2017

The Proper Proposal by Sophy Hester (2017)

Publisher's Information

Sir John, 4th Baron of Chalkstone, inherited an estate deep in debt even before he came of age and the responsibility as well for five younger brothers.
After ten years of hard work and self-denial he has finally done it: The debts are paid off; the estate is flourishing. Time to go looking for a bride!

The right one just is not there for him among the ladies of the countryside. So the attractive nobleman takes himself to London – and meets there the enchanting Louise Staunton. With his customary energy and strength of purpose, he goes about winning her over.

A strong man who knows what he wants and a smart, beautiful woman who is willing to be persuaded…  


Review 

Sophy Hester is a talented writer who brings the regency world to life in this fun, endearing tale. 
Sir John is a very likeable  and romantic character. He knows what he wants i.e. Louise's hand in marriage, and doesn't waste any time in securing it. He is instantly smitten with her and is quite charming in his attentions to her. However, their hasty engagement is only the beginning of their adventure.

The supporting characters were excellent and provided further romantic entanglements and mischief. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Louise and Victoria meet Lester for the first time. I found the gruff Lester to be very intriguing and I delighted in their interactions with him. I loved how rude and gruff he was while being a gentleman and helping the ladies in their predicament. Sparks were flying between him and Victoria.
I really want to read Victoria and Lester's story and so I will be waiting impatiently for future publications.

I loved the use of language in the telling of this story. Devoid of Americanisms and modern phrasing it feels authentic to the time period but at the same time easy to read. 
My favourite things about the story was the humour that ran all the way through the book. Witty banter and the humorous situations the characters got themselves into made for very entertaining reading. The match making and side romances also kept the story light and fast paced.


Buy Links Amazon



Saturday, 15 July 2017

The Policewoman by Justin W.M. Roberts (Lulu Publishing Services 2017)


Publisher's information

Narcoterrorism wreaks havoc on the world as drug cartels operate as dominating, murderous dictatorships. The powerful Irish Drug Cartel has set up drug manufacturing plants around the world and they will kill anyone who gets in their way. 
Sarah is an ambitious policewoman from an antiterrorist unit. She's also smart, beautiful, and extremely good at her job, which is why she is assigned to an Interpol Incident Response Team in Manchester, set up to find and stop The Cartel. Alongside colleagues from the United Kingdom's SAS, she must quickly learn new Close Quarters Battle tactics and apply them to a vengeful and threatening battlefield. 
Sarah's investigation appears to be going well until the fight turns personal. She must now struggle to save her friends, family, and even herself. Spanning the globe with a keen knowledge of special forces tactics and some genuinely shocking twists, this book warns of a bloody, drug-addled future we may soon face.



Review 


The idea of narcoterrorists operating in Buncrana, Inishowen, was my initial draw to this action thriller. However, the action packed sequences and the tense atmosphere that pervades the entire story line had me riveted. I love a good villain and they couldn't be more evil or depraved than the leaders in this drug cartel.
The action scenes were exciting and played out cinematically. My favourite action moment was when Sarah and Michael defended themselves against at an attack in a restaurant. It flowed seamlessly like a well performed dance routine. Another favourite was their operation in Buncrana. The idea that these foreign organisations could co-operate with Irish authorities and operate a mission like this in the Republic, a stone's throw from Northern Ireland, really blew my mind considering the history of the region.  

I was hugely impressed with the research the author made in writing this book. He has an obvious understanding and knowledge about Northern Ireland and how organised crime, the drug trade and terrorism never went away after the peace agreement, they simply adapted to a new order. I could identify with everything the author wrote about in this regard.

The author also has expert military knowledge which is evidenced in the very detailed descriptions and identifications of weapons, tactical training and the different techniques used by the various organisations. 
For the average reader like myself, the amount of detail and the overabundance of acronyms was too much at times. I appreciated the information at the beginning of the book as it set up my understanding of the various military and police organisations. However, having no understanding of weapons, ammunition and tactical communication codes etc meant that I was glossing over these very technical passages. I felt that the Buncrana operation was more bogged down in technical detail than the scene in the restaurant which is probably why I preferred the latter scene overall. I wanted to cut quick to the action and I didn't really care about the technical aspect. Another reader with knowledge and interest in military and police procedure would no doubt find this all very interesting and appreciate it more than me.

I am more interested in the human side of the story and again I was impressed with the author's ability to weave in friendships and romance and evoke an emotional response in the reader. There was also quite a lot of humour; various quips and teasing had me laughing out loud. I really got to know and care for the characters in this book.
I would have liked the characters to have been described in more detail. The author describes the sound of a bullet entering the human skull but descriptions of characters are limited to how they resemble singers/celebrities. I never picture famous people in the books I read, preferring my own mental image and I found it strange that the descriptions were not more fleshed out.

The Policewoman, although set in the future, is a very realistic thriller. It is based on today's reality which makes it all the more terrifying.

Buy Links Amazon UK







Monday, 10 July 2017

My Earl the Spy: The Spy Series Book 2 by Audrey Harrison (2016) Narrated by Melanie Fraser (2017)



Publisher's Information

Henry Howarth, the Earl of Grinstead, cares for no one. Caring causes pain and he has experienced enough of that to last a lifetime. Spying for king and country keeps his mind focused and his heart firmly locked away. Miss Millicent Holland is a companion, running away from her past. Joshua Shambles is out to get revenge and he is a man with no conscience. Unwittingly, Henry puts Milly in danger and feels compelled to protect her, refusing to acknowledge it is anything other that duty that is motivating him. Dealing with the past while facing the real dangers of the present, Henry and Milly are tested beyond anything they have experienced before. Both will be changed beyond recognition in this novel of love and loss. 


Review 

 I am loving this series by Audrey Harrison. It is full of romance and intrigue, my favourite kind of regency set historical.

The narration is excellent. I always enjoy books performed by Melanie Fraser and I am enjoying this series immensely. Her voice really suits this genre and she is a very easy listen.

I enjoyed Millie and the Earl's story. They are two very likeable characters and I couldn't help but be swept along in their adventure. The fact that Millie's life was in danger added to the excitement and kept me hooked. I loved all the suspense towards the end of the book and the romantic ending left me feeling happy. 

I'd recommend listening to the first book, My Lord the Spy, first- simply because it's equally as good and the characters, including the villain, are introduced there.


Listeners who prefer historical romance without 'the naughty bits' will appreciate and enjoy this book.


Buy Links: Audible








Lord of Pleasure (Rogues to Riches #2) by Erica Ridley (2017)



Publisher's Information

In the Rogues to Riches historical romance series, Cinderella stories aren’t just for princesses… Sigh-worthy Regency rogues sweep strong-willed young ladies into whirlwind romance with rollicking adventure.

Nondescript “good girl” Miss Camellia Grenville only ever opens her mouth when forced to sing at her family’s musicales. That is, until the night she infiltrates the ton’s most scandalous masquerade ball on behalf of her sister, and finds herself in the arms—and the bed—of the one man she’d sworn to hate.

Irresistibly arrogant and unapologetically sensuous, infamous rake Lord Wainwright always gets his way. When he accepts a wager to turn his rakish image respectable in just forty days, he never anticipates falling for an anonymous masked lover...or that discovering her identity would destroy them both.


Review 


Another great read from Erica Ridley. I loved this sweet, romantic tale. The banter between the couple was humorous and I loved how the sparks flew when they bumped into one another other during the day. This was a lovely, feel good regency romance. Highly recommended.

Buy Link: Amazon

Friday, 2 June 2017

Duke With Benefits by Manda Collins ( St. Martin's Press, 2017)



Publisher's Information

LADY + DUKE = TRUE LOVE?

Lady Daphne Forsyth is a brilliant mathematician with a burning passion for puzzles. When she learns that the library belonging to her benefactress houses the legendary Cameron Cipher- an encrypted message that, once solved, jolds the key to great riches- Daphne is on the case. Unfortunately, her race to unlock the cipher's code is continually thwarted by a deliciously handsome distraction she hadn't counted on.... and cannot resist.

Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, is curious as to why Daphne is spending so much time snooping around his aunt's bookshelves. He's even more intrigued by her bold yet calculating manner: She is unapologetic about her secret quest...and the fiery attraction that develops between them both. But how can they concentrate on solving a perplexing enigma once the prospect of true love enters the equation?

Duke With Benefits is the second in Manda Collins' Studies in Scandal series set in Regency England. 


Author Bio:           
Manda Collins is the author of several books, including Ready Set Rogue and The Lords of Anarchy series. She spent her teen years wishing she'd been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. When she's not writing, she's helping other people use books, as an academic librarian.

Manda’s Social Links:Twitter: @MandaCollins
Facebook: @MandaCollinsAuthor
http://www.mandacollins.com/
SMP Romance Social Links:Twitter: @SMPRomance
Facebook: @SMPRomance
http://smpromance.com/

Review:


Duke With Benefits had me completely enthralled from page one. Mentally, I  did an excited little happy dance after reading the first few pages as I realised that this was going to be a gem of a story. 
I love historical mysteries and this one didn't disappoint. Secret rooms, a hidden cipher, a lost treasure, not to mention a murderer on the loose made this a great romantic adventure not to be missed.

Daphne and Maitland make a lovely couple. They don't have any silly misunderstandings or huge squabbles because they actually talk to each other. Daphne speaks her mind very matter of factly and Maitland is always at hand to support, help and protect Daphne from any threats that come their way during their investigations.
The supporting cast were equally as likeable and entertaining. I am particularly intrigued with Maitland's sister as she had quite a troubled back story and so I am itching to see what happens next.

Publication Day

Buy Links


Read an excerpt here!

“There you are, my dear,” said the Earl of Forsyth with a beaming smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.
Maitland saw at once that Daphne favored him. Her green eyes were the same shade as his, though there were lines of dissipation bracketing the earl’s. And though his expertly cropped blond hair was shot through with silver, what remained of its original color was the same shade as hers. But whereas Daphne’s gaze was focused off to the left of whomever she conversed with, like a bird hovering just over a branch, Forsyth’s speared one with cold calculation. As he did to Daphne now.
“You are looking well, Daphne,” the earl continued, stepping forward to embrace his daughter, who looked as uncomfortable with the contact as Maitland had ever seen her. “The sea air agrees with you. As I knew it would.”
“The sea is very beautiful,” Daphne replied woodenly. “Why are you here, Father?”
“Is that any way to greet your Papa?” the earl chided, stepping back from her and wandering farther into the room, standing to stare out at the gardens below through the window. “I’ve traveled all the way from London to see you. And this lovely estate. I must admit that when I first learned of your inheritance, I thought it was all some sort of trick. But you would have your own way and leave the loving bosom of your family no matter what I said. Now that I’m here, though, and see it in person, I must admit that it’s a lovely spot. And your chaperone, Lady Serena, is quite beautiful, isn’t she? A widow, I take it?”
His jaw clenched at the man’s mention of Serena, and Maitland thought perhaps it was time to announce himself. Daphne seemed not to realize he’d followed her in, and the earl was too busy waxing rhapsodic over the beauties of Beauchamp House.
“I don’t believe we’ve met, Forsyth,” he said forcefully, stepping up to stand side by side with Daphne. He gave a slight bow, perhaps not quite as deep as was warranted, but not caring. “The Duke of Maitland. I am a friend of your daughter’s, you might say.”
What he meant by that last, he could not say, but the man made every bit of protective instinct within him go on the alert. He was her father, but all the same Maitland knew that Daphne was no safer with him than she would have been with Sommersby if he still lived.
At the sound of the duke’s voice, Lord Forsyth turned with almost comical haste from the window and stared. For the barest flicker, he looked angry. Well, if he were upset at the knowledge that his daughter was not without friends, then he would simply have to swallow it. Because Maitland was damned if he’d leave her alone with the fellow.
“Duke,” Lord Forsyth said with a tilt of his head, “I am pleased to make your acquaintance. I was a friend of your father’s, and had little notion I’d be meeting you here. He was a good man, your father.”
His father had been nothing of the sort, but Maitland was hardly going to discuss it with Forsyth.
“I am here visiting my sister, Lady Serena,” Maitland said coolly, letting the other man know in tone rather than words that he had not appreciated the older man’s speculative words about her earlier.

“And of course my cousin, Kerr. He only recently married another of the heiresses here, and resides here with her.”
Forsyth’s eyes narrowed at the implication that Daphne was well protected should her father wish to cause trouble. At least that was the message Maitland was endeavoring to send. And by the looks of it, Forsyth read him loud and clear.
“Capital, capital,” the earl said with false cheer. “A merry party you must all make here. I had no idea you were in such fine company here, Daphne. No notion at all.”
“Because we have not spoken since I left,” Daphne said, looking from her father to Maitland then back again, as if wondering what went on between them. “And now, father, I really must ask you to leave. I have a great deal of work to do and . . .”
“Don’t be absurd, Daphne,” her father said with a shake of his head. “I only just arrived. And there is something very important I must speak to you about.” He turned to Maitland with a raised brow. “I’m sure you’ll excuse us, Duke. I’m afraid what I need to tell my daughter is private family business.”
Maitland was opening his mouth to tell the man he would leave Daphne alone with him when hell froze over, when Daphne did it for him.
“Maitland stays,” she said, reaching out to grasp him by the arm. It was as much of a cry for help as he’d ever thought he’d see from her. Wordlessly, he slipped her arm into his, as if they were about to promenade round the room. He covered her hand with his, keenly aware of the thread of tension in her.
Once more, the earl’s eyes narrowed, and he turned an assessing gaze on Maitland, perhaps realizing for the first time the threat coming at him from that direction.
His jaw clenched, Forsyth said grimly, “Very well. If you wish your friend to witness our dirty linen, so be it.” As if needing to be in motion in order to speak, the earl began to pace the area between the window and the fireplace. “You know, Daphne, you left me without any obvious means of recouping what I lost from years of paying that tutor of yours, old man Sommersby.”
“You agreed to pay him,” Daphne said tightly. “After I threatened to expose . . .”
Hastily, Forsyth continued, “And I am currently in need of funds. As such, I must insist you return to London with me for the time being and meet a particular gentleman who has expressed interest in marrying you. Though his birth is not as high as yours, he’s quite wealthy and will make you a good husband, I trust. He’s assured me he has no concern about your odd ways, if you’re as beautiful as your portrait.”
Before Maitland could burst out with the string of invectives the other man’s pronouncement inspired in him, Daphne said, “I cannot marry this person. I’ve never even met him. You promised me that I would not have to marry someone for money as long as I won enough at the tables. I did so. You promised me, father.”
“I never actually promised, Daphne.” Forsyth said with a shake of his head. “If you chose to interpret it as such, that is not my fault. Now, go pack your things.”
Daphne’s hand on Maitland’s arm gripped him tightly. And before he even knew what he was doing, he said, “I’m afraid that’s impossible, Forsyth. Daphne is staying here.”
“I don’t know who you think you are, Maitland,” said the earl through clenched teeth, “but I am her father, and I am well within my rights to take her back to London. Now, kindly take your hands off of her and let her go pack.”
“It might once have been your right, Forsyth,” Maitland said coldly, “but Lady Daphne is my betrothed now and as such, she will remain here. With me.”
Copyright © 2017 by Manda Collins and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.