Category Archives: Books

Sapphire in the Snow – An Update

Some of you may remember a review I did last year on a historical novel I loved many years ago, Sapphire in the Snow by Carol Townend.

A quick update – Carol has now revised and reissued it with a shiny new cover as an ebook along with Shattered Vows, another novel I really enjoyed.  I’m looking forward to Leaves on the Wind appearing – I see this could be as early as April!

Links to buy in the UK for the reissues are:

Sapphire in the Snow

Shattered Vows

The Stone Rose

Needless to say, I’ve already got my copy!

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My Fictional World

My Fictional World

 

Having been invited to look at Jocelyn’s post at The Reading Residence, I thought it would be fun to add my own answers to what is my fictional world.  So here they are.

What were your favourite reads from your childhood?

Mostly anything by Enid Blyton especially her Mallory Towers, St. Claire’s and Famous Five series and I was also encouraged to read Tolkein’s The Hobbit by my brother when I was eight.

There are always those books that defined your teen reads and stay with you – what were yours?

Actually, I wouldn’t say so.  I graduated to reading adult level books when I was about eleven, so I don’t define my reading that way particularly.  I do remember reading the Sweet Valley High books and enjoying those but then I discovered more meaty sagas like Catherine Cookson!  At the same time my Aunt had also introduced me to the books of Georgette Heyer.

Who are your favourite authors currently?

Oh that’s a tough one as they constantly change and grow.  I love the work of Nora Roberts, Abby Green, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Marguerite Kaye, Louise Allen and many, many more.  It depends on what genre I’m reading currently too.

Which 3 genres do you gravitate towards most often?

Historical, Romance and Thrillers.

Can you choose your top titles from each of those genres?

Historical: The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman, Romance: Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer and Thriller: The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver.  Again, I could name so many books and so many genres.

And your least favourite genres?

I don’t really have any I actively dislike, but on balance I probably read less Fantasy novels.

Of the many, many fictional and fantastical worlds, where would you most like to visit?

Pemberly from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  Come on, who wouldn’t?!

Everyone loves a villain, right?! Who would make your favourites list?

The Marquis of Vidal for a fun and thrilling villain!  See Devil’s Cub…

Share the books that have had you sobbing?

Only one – ever – An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer.  The Battle of Waterloo, ’nuff said.

And let’s end on a high! Which books leave a smile on your face, and maybe elicit a few laughs?!

Not a series I read much, but recommended by a friend I distinctly remember snorting with laughter reading one of the Argeneau Vampires series by Lynsay Sands, Single White Vampire – and the cod piece incident!  Go and read it for yourself, lol!

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Book Review: Loving Lord Ash by Sally Mackenzie

Loving Lord Ash by Sally MackenzieI received a copy of this book in return for an honest review via Netgalley.

I’d not heard of this author until recently, and then heard good things so volunteered to read this new book. It being part of a series did not spoil my read, as other characters were mentioned in such a way it was easy to keep up.

I’ve given the book 3 stars, and at a pinch I might say 3 1/2. Why? Because I just didn’t care about the hero and heroine – and that’s really important to me. Lord Ash and his wife Jess I just didn’t believe really cared for one another at all – which perhaps makes it all the easier to believe their 8 year estrangement!

So what I did like: interesting beginning – a couple that are not a couple – other characters that are equally interesting like Roger and Dennis – but didn’t steal the limelight away.  There was an interesting element of bawdiness too. My jury’s still slightly out on that. Loved the warm relationship between Ash’s parents and the understanding of the love of pets.  Great open mindedness about the different types of love and relationships too.

But again, though I understood the difference in Ash and Jess’ stations in life, it still came across as quite absurd, especially the much contested virginity issue between the two – which did take right until the end of the book to be resolved and there wasn’t enough tension there for me to really care if they made their marriage work or not.  Percy the villain frankly was a bit strange and not terribly villainous imo if you had to believe that he had the power to destroy relationships.

It was a shame as I began to feel a little bored at the end, it had just been played out a bit too long and I lost interest.  I certainly wouldn’t rule out trying the author’s other stories however.

This book will be available from Zebra on the 4 March 2014 in both ebook and print format.

A copy of this review can also be found on my Goodreads page.

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Book Review: Hunting the Hero by Heather Boyd

Hunting the Hero by Heather BoydI received a copy of this book via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Although this is book 4 in a series, it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story, and it was only at the very end when I lost my way a bit with ‘Meredith’s’ family.

I was pleasantly surprised at this book, I’ve only read a little of Boyd’s work before – and wasn’t quite sure where the story would be going when the hero makes it quite clear early on that he’s only interested in visiting a local brothel. I couldn’t quite see where a heroine was going to appear…then Meredith or actually that’s not what she goes by in the brothel – but Calista. She certainly makes an impression however, and it’s not long before a long term arrangement is made for regular appointments with Constantine – the Earl of Grayling, our hero.

This was fine, until a family friend suggests that he might remove her from the brothel and into his own house. While I could see that Meredith the person wouldn’t harm a child, it did seem a little odd that someone, especially a female family friend would find this acceptable. Though I suppose that’s the beauty of the book. There’s a lot of characters that are well away from the norm – and this is a very sensual book, with lots of sensual scenes. So be warned if you don’t like your historicals hot.

So on, so kind of quiet for a while – Meredith becomes the children’s governess after falling out with the owner of the brothel and Constantine wanting to ‘keep’ her, and so the relationship continues. Until we hit the whole Randalls storyline head on and it becomes complicated. I didn’t really understand why she would run and hide from her family for years and turn to prostitution for the experiences given alone in this book – but I am intrigued enough to try the others to see why. Plus 3 names was beginning to wear a little thin by the end.

An entertaining adventure a bit different from many historicals I’ve read and well worth a read. In fact, Heather Boyd’s books haven’t disappointed me so far.

This ebook is available to download now via LLD Press.

A copy of this review can also be found on my Goodreads page.

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A New Year’s Eve Treat! Giveaway with Aimee Duffy and New Book A Week in Milan

AWeekInMilanI’m really excited to welcome the lovely Aimee Duffy to my blog for another chance to win – this time in her giveway!  Good luck everyone!  Here is Aimee to tell you more:

Thank you for stopping by! To celebrate the release of A Week in Milan, I’m giving away a mini-Kobo and a signed copy of Isle of Sensuality, the first book Amanda from A Week in Milan makes an appearance in!

Here’s a little about the story…

Getting what she wants isn’t going to be easy…

Designer department store owner Giovanni Monastero thought moving to LA would help him forget the nightmare of his childhood. Until he visits Milan during Fashion Week with one of their designers he doesn’t realize how much his past still haunts him.

Fashion designer Amanda Hart has been chewed up and spat out by her son’s father. The only dating she does now is in her dreams. None of the guys she fantasizes about can hurt her. When the star of those fantasies offers her the career chance of a lifetime “no” isn’t an option even though it means spending a week in close contact with him.

With one dream coming true, will Amanda have the courage to go after another?

Content Warning: contains smouldering sex, enough doubt to keep an island afloat, and more persuasion than a guy should need.

Buy link (All Formats)

Beachwalk Press

Enter the Rafflecopter for your chance to win!

About the Author

Aimée writes steamy, contemporary romance for the 21st century woman who enjoys the 21st century alpha male. She’s addicted to reading, shopping and can’t go a day without music. When she’s not writing you can find her traipsing up the Ochils (weather permitting of course) or procrastinating on Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Pinterest / Google +

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Book Review: The Dragon Legacy by Jane Hunt

I was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I love a bit of paranormal, and dragons – so I was excited to read this debut novel from Jane Hunt.

Ever met a dragon on the bus? (I wish, if he was like Lukas.)

An enjoyable, quirky story we follow the heroine Fleur, who is taking a trip away to a murder mystery weekend in a country house in the middle of nowhere. Fleur has had a tough time recently – and it (for us, perhaps not for her at first!) is a pleasant surprise to literally bump into Lukas, the hero, on the bus going there. I really loved this beginning as it was so different.

Lukas is unbeknownst to Fleur, a dragon, and is on his way to the same weekend in order to retrieve a special dragon’s egg hidden for thousands of years on the property.

The attraction between them is instant, and very unwanted to Lukas, who should not be distracted from his task – as another evil force is also going to the weekend and looking for the egg…

Fleur and Lukas’ attraction is explosive and there are sensual scenes. There are also some other interesting characters like Jasmine and Kane who I suspect we will see more of – hope so.

My copy had some funky things going on with the layout and Lukas’ name was mis-spelt in a few places, but it may just have been my copy, and obviously is not the author’s fault.

All in all it is a very promising debut, I look forward to reading more by this author.

You can also find a copy of this review on my Goodreads page.

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A Christmas Eve Treat! A Visit and Giveaway With Jane Hunt and Her Book The Dragon Legacy

The Dragon Legacy Cover I’m very excited to have Jane Hunt with me today on her blog tour to introduce her début novel The Dragon Legacy.  I do love a spot of paranormal.

When emotionally fragile Fleur Curwen decides she wants excitement in

her boring life she signs up for a Murder Mystery Weekend in the wilds
of the English Lake District. She enters a paranormal world where
danger and death are common occurrences.

Demon slayer Lukas Draco is a loner. He lives by two simple rules: No
emotional entanglements and duty must remain his first priority. His
beliefs are challenged when he’s inexplicably drawn to Fleur, a human
woman with an unusual psychic aura. Sparks of sexual attraction ignite
threatening both his search for the dragon’s egg he buried a thousand
years ago and Fleur’s life. Under the cover of a murder mystery weekend
an apocalyptic hunt begins.

Are you suitably intrigued yet?  So, Jane’s here to tell us – why dragons.

dragon

Dragons and Unicorns are popular mythological creatures. Whilst Unicorns are universally seen as a magical force for good, Dragons are not.

In western culture the dragon which derived from the Greek drák?n symbolised evil. European fairy tales characterised the dragon as the antagonist; an evil force the hero must destroy to save the princess and kingdom.

Ancient eastern societies saw the dragon as Yang; symbolic of universe, life, existence and growth. They honoured the majestic dragon and ensured its potentially destructive power helped their society’s prosperity.

A statue in Varna Bulgaria depicts a dragon family

A powerful dragon holding a jewel in its claws inspired Lukas’ mission creation. Research revealed many ancient sects believed the winged dragon protected the pearl of purity. Its safety ensured the delicate balance of nature and nurture and good and evil. This often involved confrontation between humanity and the dragons when the former threatened the status quo.

My love of a bad boy and the anti hero created Lukas Draco the dragon lord and demon slayer. Not evil but with enough knowledge of the darkness to fight it and win. Over a millennium of demon slaying and defending humanity made Lukas a courageous, wise protector.

I love dragons myself, and I really enjoyed this book.  I will post my own review here shortly, but in the meantime, enjoy an excerpt (drools over Lukas):

“Welcome to Hallow House.”

Jasmine walked around the truck for their luggage. The grey, windswept house stood hidden among the hills. Paint peeled from the window frames and moss grew along the grey stone walls. A wave of coldness swept through Fleur. She shuddered. “It’s so atmospheric, perfect for a murder mystery.” She looked across at Lukas. He seemed preoccupied. A woman appeared at the house’s front door. Lukas’ face lost its shuttered look. He smiled.

“It’s lovely to meet you both. I’m Grace.”

“It’s lovely to meet you too,” Fleur smiled at the older woman, reassured by her kind smile.

“I’m delighted to meet you.”

Lukas shook Grace’s hand. Her gaze widened as their physic auras merged. Lukas controlled his response; his face remained devoid of expression. Jasmine frowned and touched her mother’s shoulder. With one last puzzled look at Lukas, she said,

“I’ll show you to your rooms. Afternoon tea is at three. The conservatory is at the back. You’ll have an opportunity to meet the other guests there.”

Lukas smiled. He sensed her interest and strength. They’d met once, years before. She owed him, and he needed her help now.

*

Fleur unpacked her bags in her shabby-chic room. Her mind strayed to Lukas’ surprising effect on her. Vivid recollections of his strong embrace and the hardness of his muscular body bombarded her. She splashed cold water on her face in an attempt to cool the burn from her inner heat. Why did she crave this man’s touch? Intimate images danced through her confused mind. She sprayed perfume on her heated skin. Nothing in her life prepared her for this tangle of conflicted emotions.

Perhaps she’d hidden away too long? She needed excitement. Her ex-lover didn’t understand her grief after the premature deaths of her much-loved parents. Instead, he chipped away at her self-esteem. Lukas saw through her layers of self-protection. He noticed her. The heat in his stare scorched her deep inside. She needed this man. She blushed at her wickedness. The alarm on her mobile sounded, almost three; time to go. She took a deep breath, determined to dampen her aroused state. With a final check of her appearance, she retrieved her bag and headed downstairs.

Fleur stood inside the conservatory until her eyes adjusted for the brightness. She walked further into the room and scanned the occupants for Lukas, but he wasn’t there. Disappointed, Fleur looked around the room. Jasmine’s companions drew her gaze. Something set the unusual men apart from the other people there. She saw a familiar face. Grace was deep in conversation with two of the older guests. She looked busy, so Fleur didn’t disturb her.

The designer-clad men recaptured her interest. The dark-haired man appeared fascinated with Jasmine. His face darkened as Jasmine interrupted his diatribe.

“You’ll have to excuse me. I need to welcome Fleur.”

Jasmine headed in her direction. Without Jasmine’s vivacity, the conversation between the two high-powered men lapsed into silence. The younger man looked bored and distracted. The delicate rose- patterned china tea cup appeared awkward in his large strong-boned hands. He ran his long fingers through his shaggy, platinum blond, almost silver, hair. It masked the paleness of his silver-colored eyes. He looked handsome. Fleur waited to see if her heart flipped. It didn’t. Her stomach lurched at the implications of her discovery. Her attraction to Lukas was based on something deeper than eye candy.

In order to have a chance to win you can sign up for the giveaway by Rafflecopter using the link below.  Good luck!

The Dragon Legacy Blog Tour Giveaway

Jane Hunt 1Author Bio: As a child I had a complete stable of make believe horses and my imagination remains as vivid. Now it creates characters and scenarios which provide the inspiration for my stories.

I am so excited to finally have career as a writer. My love affair with the written word started as a teenager. I secretly dreamed of writing the romantic novels I loved to read. Life had other plans for me. Marriage at twenty-one whilst still at university launched me into a career in health service management. I often thought about writing in my spare time but my career and two wonderful children kept me occupied 24/7.  Illness forced an abrupt end to my career. Always the optimist I seized the opportunity to write full time in 2012.

The Dragon Legacy is my first published novel and I am excited to be sharing it with a wider audience.

When I’m not writing I enjoy reading, book reviewing, social media and walking in the countryside. Passionate about animal welfare.

  Jane Hunt Writer Website

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Jane Hunt Writer Facebook Page

The Dragon Legacy Facebook Page

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Book Review: The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh by Ella Quinn

The Secret Life of Miss Anna MarshI was given an ARC of this ebook in return for an honest review via Netgalley.  Apologies for the late posting of my review due to a family bereavement.

This book is number two in the Marriage Game series, and follows Lady Phoebe’s story.  It can be read stand-alone however.  Both books so far I should say have had very pretty covers.

Anna Marsh has loved Sebastian since she was a child, but after her brother Harry’s death (from whom she inherits the responsibility of looking after spying activities at home), she becomes disillusioned with love after her own parents’ marriage begins to disintegrate, and she fears that Sebastian although he may ask her to marry him – will never love her in return.

I found the first part of this book quite hard to get into, which is surprising since I liked Anna, and her hero Sebastian, Lord Rutherford.  It’s just the spy sub-plot mostly annoyed me.  I liked that Anna was a strong heroine who knew her own mind and could look after yourself – but there was a later problem with this – which I’ll come back to.

After my initial struggle to get into the story and to deal with Sebastian’s ham-fisted wooing of Anna, I began to enjoy the story.  With the introduction of a stranger with a lost memory, and a young lady sent from overseas for a London Season things definitely begin to hot up!  I won’t spoil it for others to say who they are – just that with their introduction the story became much, much better.

The dastardly fool Percy was an odd distraction, though Georges the French spy whom I hope to see again – though his part in the story was confusing – and Lord Florian made the spy plot more interesting, poor old Florian though – I did feel a bit sorry for him.  The warmth of the Marsh household and Rutherford’s sisters also improved the story.

As I said before, I didn’t really enjoy the spy sub plot, more the amnesiac one – and for all of Anna’s feistiness, once the relationship with Rutherford hotted up with several sensual scenes (as with another couple there were some sensual scenes) I felt she lost a lot of her individuality and spirit, and when the days counted down to their marriage, it seemed rather smugly assumed that she would knuckle down, run a household and have lots of children.  Nice for them, but I hope she used her mind for something too!  The counting down of each day/date I found a little irritating after a while too.

It was a mostly fun read, though I didn’t enjoy it as much as The Seduction of Lady Phoebe – I do enjoy the heroes being the ones to have to convince the heroines to believe that they are loved and should marry them.  A nice trend to follow.

This is only Ella Quinn’s second book so far, so I shall watch to see how her writing develops further.

The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh is available to download on ebook and in trade paperback now from Kensington, as is The Seduction of Lady Phoebe (you can read my review of that book here).

You can also find a copy of this review on my Goodreads page.

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Book Review: A Scandalous Regency Christmas Anthology

A Scandalous Regency ChristmasI was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

I’m such a sucker for a Christmas book, especially anthologies – so was really looking forward to this one.

The reader/buyer should know that these stories have all been previously published as ebooks under the Mills and Boon Undone! line.  Also note that they all contain sensual themes and scenes from the beginning.  I think it was a good idea that the cover also contains this message ‘Five Sexy Stories’ for those who are perhaps looking for the sweeter stories published by them.

The stories are:

  • To Undo A Lady by Christine Merrill
  • An Invitation to Pleasure by Marguerite Kaye
  • His Wicked Christmas Wager by Annie Burrows
  • A Lady’s Lesson in Seduction by Barbara Monajem
  • The Pirate’s Reckless Touch by Linda Skye

I usually enjoy Christine Merrill’s stories – but as these are all shorts – I found it very hard to believe an actor who buys a prostitute (who is actually a lady who has run away from her abusive husband) could fall in love so quickly!  I found it quite coarse actually.  Nice, er, murder off of the husband too…

Marguerite Kaye’s story is of another disappointed wife, but this time the hero is about to seduce her into marrying him while she visits his picturesque Scottish home.  Much more charming, with a sweet ending this one.

Annie Burrows’ story was also quite fun – though a little blackmail included – a classic case of misunderstandings being cancelled about by new love.

Frances Burdett and Camden Folk’s story (though I couldn’t get on with the hero’s name) by Barbara Monajem was also quite nice – with an interesting Christmas twist of goblins to bring the couple together!

I didn’t particularly enjoy the final story so much, as the pirate idea didn’t really work so well with the other and came across as quite ludicrous.  I did like Juliana’s spirit however, but it was no match in terms of Christmas stories with the middle three.

All in all it was a mostly amusing read with a beautiful cover, but not one of my favourite Christmas anthologies.  I would have been better pleased with the three middle stories, and the first and last ones being left out.

A copy of this review can also be found on my Goodreads page.

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Book Review: Tangling with the CEO by Annie Seaton

 

Tangling with the CEOI was given an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.

This reasonably short book looks to be the first in a series, the hero and heroine Blake and Ana have a history – and it’s about to be kick-started…(slight spoilers ahead)

Set in San Francisco, Blake is the CEO in question – and Ana is, unfortunately for her – likely to lose her job along with her friends in the restoration department of a local hardware store.

Ana has an appointment to see Blake about their future – but on turning up at his house a family crisis hits and she’s about to spend a weekend helping him out with his sister’s kids. One of the children also is Autistic, and I clocked him straight away – as a family member is Autistic. It was lovely to see a real and positive representation of it. It was also lovely to see a lovely real representation of family and a houseful of kids and pets!

This is a sweet book with kissing only if you don’t enjoy books with sensual scenes and has a positive vibe throughout.

All in all I really enjoyed this book, it was sweet, funny and had a suitably uplifting ending. I would have liked to have known a bit more about Blake and Ana, and it seemed that their original parting was dealt with quite quickly.

I would recommend this as a fun quick read, and look forward to seeing more of Half Moon Bay.

This ebook is available to download now.

You can find a copy of this review on my Goodreads page.

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