Another Year at the Castle Goes By

It’s that time of year again when the Castle is now sleeping for the Winter.  I didn’t even get to see it for the Christmas events this year, which has made it seem like a strange end to my season.

For me, I found it a relatively quiet year this year – some new people starting, a few leaving – but the year falling into a regular pattern very quickly.  This year has certainly flown by.

Personally, it’s been good for me to do some different tours this year for visitors, mainly my new art tours.

I hope everyone found the information useful on the events for this year.  I’m not sure if I’ll continue posting those in 2014 with no feedback.

What will happen next year?  Well we’ll see.

Leave a Comment

Filed under BlahBlahBlah

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.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Books, Reviews

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.

2 Comments

Filed under Books, Reviews

Wombat Friday: Lizzie Reads Louise

I managed to tweet this last Wombat Friday, but for some reason it didn’t end up here as well!

Lizzie, my new mini-wombat is really enjoying this new book.

If Santa is listening we would also love to do this for charity – adopt a wombat!

Lizzie Reads Louise

Happy Wombat Friday everyone!

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Wombat Friday

Welcome Sidney

Here at the homestead things have not been good for the family as we’re struggling with a major bereavement, which explains slightly my erratic blogging and reviewing – I hope you all forgive me.

One positive is our new Maine Coon kitty Sidney, or hissing Sid as he’s apt to be called sometimes!  He was adopted from a local animal shelter, like all 3 of our cats.

He’s got a Habsburg chin, eh?!

Sidney

3 Comments

Filed under Pets, Photos

Christmas Events at Castle Fraser

Here are the 2013 events, and very sparkly they are too!  Enjoy!

Christmas Carols   Traditional Christmas

Leave a Comment

Filed under Places to go

Book Review: The Divorce Party by Jennifer Hayward

The Divorce Party by Jennifer HaywardI was given a copy of this book by the author.  As I have watched their progress to publication including the So You Think You Can Write competition, I also wanted to review it here.

Similarly to the last Modern/Presents book I reviewed at the beginning of this book the hero and heroine Riccardo and Lilly are not together – in fact they are about to celebrate signing their divorce papers at their very own divorce party!  What Lilly does not expect is that Riccardo has no intention of allowing the divorce to go ahead.

To ensure being able to pay for medical treatment for her sister, Lilly feels forced to return to Riccardo on his terms, temporarily.  Riccardo sees it as an opportunity to make amends and to repair the marriage – unbeknownst to Lilly he is still in love with her and cannot understand why she left him.  When the two of them go away together to Barbados for the weekend their D-Day is about to happen, and Lilly’s insecurities and the lies surrounding their marriage have to be finally faced.

The sexual tension between them is fairly explosive right from the beginning and there are sensual scenes throughout.  They are a very strong willed couple!

This is a particularly emotional book, and both characters are flawed and need to look at themselves before their relationship can work.  Again, like the last book I reviewed, this marriage will begin at the end.

I am really enjoying this subtle changing in the roles of the latest Mills and Boon Modern characters and stories, and look forward to more like this.

Incidentally, this story won the 2012 So You Think You Can Write competition, and it is a worthy winner.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under Books, Reviews

Book Review: Rumours that Ruined a Lady by Marguerite Kaye

Rumours that Ruined a LadyI received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I was very surprised and honoured to find that I am also thanked in the book!  Very, very exciting.  You’ll have to read it to find out why, hehe.

But there are many more reasons why I love this book…

The first is that it is another sequel, so another sister in the Armstrong sisters family – though you don’t need to read the others to read this book.  You might find it does add to your enjoyment.  There is one more sister to go now, Cordelia, for those that are following.

Next, and most importantly, is this is totally not your average Regency romance novel.  It is for a start much, much darker.  It is a tale of a marriage gone very wrong, a thwarted love affair – and is in a sense told backwards through some flashbacks throughout.  I got used to those, but I must say didn’t enjoy them as much which is what contributed to my final grading of the story as a whole of 41/2 stars and very nearly a 5.

The hero and heroine in the story are Caroline Armstrong, but when we meet her Lady Caroline Rider, and Sebastian the Marquis of Ardhallow.  Through the flashbacks we get to know them both and their love affair that develops when they are much younger.  Of course, at that time it is doomed to fail, and when we catch up with them both Caroline has left her husband and is living a very scandalous life – even going so far as to take opium which threatens her life.  Sebastian is attempting to destroy his own life by becoming known as a womaniser and gambler and refusing to settle or associate with his father.

A muddle all round really – so how will this end well you might ask?  Well that’s a very long story – and a very good reason to read this one.  Not only does it deal with scandal, but within it the natural complexities of falling in love (again) and deciding what best to do with your life – if you can’t have who you want.  Caroline cannot be divorced, and Sebastian must marry to continue his family line.  The bleak scenes at Sebastian’s family home really get this point home to you with his own mother’s experiences.  But the resulting healing brings with it a chance for the future.  When Sebastian confronts his past and Caroline finally deals with her husband a solution presents itself…

The only small things I didn’t like were the many flashbacks and how the huge problem keeping the hero and heroine apart was only dealt with via a letter in the epilogue – I felt this deserved more.  Having said that, this is a very, very good book.

Do I sense further thawing in Bella the girls’ stepmother?  And will Lord Armstrong finally be brought down a few pegs?  Come on Cordelia, don’t disappoint me!

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under Books, Reviews

Winner: Marguerite Kaye Competition!

I’m pleased to announce via the random number generator the comment picked and the winner of Marguerite’s book Rumours that Ruined a Lady.

The winner is…Mandy!

Please email me with your address using the blog’s email which you’ll find on the left hand sidebar of the page, and I’ll pass it on to Marguerite so she can send you your book.  Thanks to everyone for commenting, I think I’ve picked up a few more here to add to my collection…

I’ll be giving away shortly vintage copies of some of my favourite novels – Sharon Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour and Madeleine Brent’s Tregaron’s Daughter – so stay tuned for more details on that.

2 Comments

Filed under Books, Contest

A Small Antique Update

I bought this amethyst and diamond ring from the Castle antiques cabinet in the shop a few weeks ago.  I really love the shape and style.

I saved up for this one 8-)

Amethyst Ring

5 Comments

Filed under Antique