**REVIEW** ~ Miranda’s Dilemma (Fashionably Impure, book 1), by Natasha Blackthorne

Erotic Regency Historical Romance ~ Courtesan/Non-virginal Heroine
Adult/18+ read

Miranda

Book Blurb

Poised to become Mayfair’s most expensive and exclusive courtesan, Miss Miranda Jones finds her rise inexplicably blocked by a socially powerful nobleman. Scorned by her ducal father and determined to attain everything that life has denied her due to an accident of birth, she’s not about to let this arrogant earl stop her.

Adrian Sutherland, the Earl of Danvers, saw his father destroyed by a heartless, predatory courtesan. He has no time or patience for such exotic, expensive ladybirds. He’s far too busy restoring his family’s wealth and reputation whilst doing what he can to protect his friends from the clutches of all the scheming courtesans of London.

Then a moment of compassion turns intense dislike to breathless passion, and these two strong-willed, fiercely proud people are compelled to indulge in a brief affair. Each is convinced that they can satisfy their craving for the other without emotional risk.

But neither realizes that a little dalliance can be a dangerous thing.

Reader Advisory: This is an erotic historical romance and it contains frank sexual language and period appropriate sexual slang, frequent sexual scenes and descriptions and general bedchamber naughtiness. The characters discuss abuse issues from their backstories during the course of their developing relationship. For Adults 18 & Over Only.

My Review

Tantalizing and angst-ridden, a Five Star read!

Miranda’s Dilemma is another tantalizing and angst-ridden erotic historical romance from the pen of Natasha Blackthorne. I just love how this author delves deeply into the minds of her tortured heroes and heroines and Adrian and Miranda, the hero and the heroine of this novel are really put through the mill!

Adrian Sutherland, an earl, is seeking revenge, determined to prevent the young courtesan Miranda from securing a lucrative deal with a new protector from amongst his fellow aristocrats. Adrian has good reason to despise courtesans, attributing the ruination of his own father to one of their kind. This handsome and dominant man therefore goes all out to embarrass, belittle and shame Miranda at every opportunity, despising the fact that he somehow feels attracted to one of her kind. There are some extremely emotional scenes between the couple, full of sexual tension and mutual disrespect as they do battle.

My sympathies were very soon with Miranda, an illegitimate daughter of a ducal father, for despite her veneer of a consummate courtesan, is extremely vulnerable. The strong image she projects to others, especially prospective protectors, is clearly under threat by Adrian’s actions. It is only when shocking circumstances conspire to reveal to Adrian exactly how vulnerable Miranda’s lifestyle choice makes her, that he begins to see the real woman beneath the artifice. I will not give the plot away but suffice to say that I just LOVED how the author weaved this particular scene into the narrative, coming at just the right point to bring these two strong-willed characters together in some emotional and revealing scenes. Both Miranda and Adrian have demons to slay from their past and as they embark on a passionate affair, they begin to confide in each other.

Yet the couple have no future together as Miranda is under pressure to swiftly secure lucrative funds to protect someone she holds most dear. In her desperate need to meet her goals she needs to curtail her affair with Adrian, who can ill afford her, and secure a protector who can satisfy her financial needs, even if doing so will open deep psychological scars from her past that threaten to destroy her.

The novel is an addictive read. I enjoyed the initial sexual tension between Miranda and Adrian and adored the erotic love-making scenes between them and their growing mutual respect and attraction. Adrian is all alpha male and very dominant. Tortured by events in his own past he is torn as to what to do with Miranda. His need to protect wars with his need to restore and maintain his family fortunes and his inner conflict is immense. Once more Natasha Blackthorne has delivered a passionate and  emotional erotic love story that both tantalizes and pulls at the heart strings.

I was pleased with the conclusion to Miranda’s Dilemma and I’m looking forward to reading more about Adrian and Miranda’s relationship. The sequel of their story, A Most Demanding Mistress is scheduled for release early in 2016. I recommend the read to historical romance fans who are partial to tortured and damaged characters who find true love, passion and solace in each other.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

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**Festive Short Review** SEX, SNOW AND MISTLETOE by Laura Barnard

Sex Snow and MistletoeTitle: Sex, Snow and Mistletoe

Author: Laura Barnard

Genre: Holiday romance, short story

Date released: October 27th, 2015

Length: 34 pages

Blurb: Melinda is already having a crappy Christmas. Forced to attend some snotty bitch’s wedding is not the way to start out the holidays. But when a car crash pushes her into the path of a handsome stranger she’s glad to follow his snowy, sexy and seductive path. But is he too good to be true? And will she make it to the wedding before her best friend loses her mind with worry?

Please note this is a short story of 10k words.

BUY LINKS: Amazon UK, Amazon US

REVIEW 5* rating

Sex, Snow and Mistletoe is the perfect festive short that can be read in-between all those Christmas shopping sprees, present wrapping sessions and last minute preparations. If you’re a rom-com fan you’ll love this Christmas romance with it’s surprises and humour!

This is certainly my kind of romantic adventure; Melinda becomes trapped on the road, in the snow, with a cute, hot stranger! There seems no other answer for it, but for them to stay together in the car, keeping each other warm as the cold, night air takes it’s toll. Is it really that bad that she may not be able to attend a wedding of someone she doesn’t care about?

The closeness of these two strangers makes for some awkward moments, with plenty of suspense as sexual tension begins to creep in. The setting of them being stuck in the car together, along with some of the dialogue, put me in the mindset of the movie, 28 Dresses.

The pace is perfect throughout, albeit I found it ended quickly. This may be because I wanted to read more of these characters. Sex, Snow and Mistletoe will easily get you in the mood for a little Christmas romance!

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

*Promo w/Excerpt* Pieces Like Pottery by Dan Buri

Pieces Like PotteryTitle: Pieces Like Pottery

Author: Dan Buri

Genre: Contemporary fiction, short stories, drama

Date released: October 2nd, 2015

Length: 179 pages

Buy Links: Amazon UK Amazon US

Blurb: The first collection of short fiction from Dan Buri, Pieces Like Pottery is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of a new American author. In this distinct selection of stories marked by struggle and compassion, Pieces Like Pottery is a powerful examination of the sorrows of life, the strength of character, the steadfast of courage, and the resiliency of love requisite to find redemption.

Filled with graceful insight into the human condition, each linked story presents a tale of loss and love. In Expect Dragons, James Hinri learns that his old high school teacher is dying. Wanting to tell Mr. Smith one last time how much his teaching impacted him, James drives across the country revisiting past encounters with his father’s rejection and the pain of his youth. Disillusioned and losing hope, little did James know that Mr. Smith had one final lesson for him.

In The Gravesite, Lisa and Mike’s marriage hangs in the balance after the disappearance of their only son while backpacking in Thailand. Mike thinks the authorities are right—that Chris fell to his death in a hiking accident—but Lisa has her doubts. Her son was too strong to die this young, and no one can explain to her why new posts continue to appear on her son’s blog.

Twenty-Two looks in on the lives of a dock worker suffering from the guilt of a life not lived and a bartender making the best of each day, even though he can see clearly how his life should have been different. The two find their worlds collide when a past tragedy shockingly connects them.

A collection of nine stories, each exquisitely written and charged with merciful insight into the trials of life, Pieces Like Pottery reminds us of the sorrows we all encounter in life and the kindness we receive, oftentimes from the unlikeliest of places.

AUTHOR BIO

Pieces Like Pottery Dan BuriDan Buri’s first collection of short fiction, Pieces Like Pottery, is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of new American author. His writing is uniquely heartfelt and explores the depths of the human struggle and the human search for meaning in life.

Mr. Buri’s non-fiction works have been distributed online and in print, including publications in Pundit Press, Tree, Summit Avenue Review, American Discovery, and TC Huddle. The defunct and very well regarded Buris On The Couch, was a He-Says/She-Says blog musing on the ups and downs of marriage with his wife.

Mr. Buri is an active attorney in the Pacific Northwest and has been recognised by Intellectual Asset Magazine as one of the World’s Top 300 Intellectual Property Strategists every year since 2010. He lives in Oregon with his wife and two-year-old daughter.

EXCERPT

From the short story “Expect Dragons

Between the two notebooks was a sheet of paper. At the top it read: “40 Tips for College and Life.” On the last week of high school, Mr. Smith handed out his college advice, the same college advice I was now holding. I sat and read through each of them.

            40 Tips for College and Life

  1. Life’s too short to not seize the opportunities with which we are presented. Always take the chance to do what you love when it comes along.
  2. Question authority.
  3. Question those who question authority.
  4. Don’t be afraid to see dinosaurs even when everyone else around you doesn’t.
  5. Be kind. Kindness can change things far beyond your wildest dreams. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it’s kindness that makes the heart grow softer.
  6. Walk barefoot through grass.
  7. Be quick to show compassion and empathy.
  8. Don’t dress like a bum all day long.
  9. Have a routine, but avoid being routine.
  10. Smile.
  11. We are all intelligent, thoughtful individuals. Don’t let others tell you something has to be that way. It doesn’t. The world is far too complex for it to have to be that way.
  12. Be conscious of the present. Time is your most valuable asset.
  13. It’s easy to doubt. Don’t be easy. Hold on to faith and hope.
  14. Love a little more. You can always love more.
  15. Don’t jump at the first chance to go out. There will always be another party. It’s college.
  16. Live with purpose.
  17. Not everything you do has to have a purpose. Folly can be quite satisfying.
  18. Don’t act like you know more than you actually do. There’s no shame in admitting you don’t know the answer.
  19. Remember that the things you do know are of value. Don’t act like you know less than you do. Share your knowledge.
  20. Don’t spend each day only staring at a screen. Put down your phone. Close your laptop. Turn off your TV.
  21. Share laughter. There’s far too much that’s funny out there to take yourself too seriously.
  22. Share tears. There’s far too much pain and hurt out there not to take others’ struggles seriously.
  23. Enjoy music.
  24. Remember to get lost in your mind from time to time.
  25. Breathe slowly.
  26. Don’t be afraid to be alone. Everyone knows: “Not all who wander are lost.” Few realize: Not all who are alone are lonely.
  27. Take in the beauty of nature. Look around you. Don’t take it for granted.
  28. Take in the beauty of mankind. Look around you and see how wonderful your neighbor can be.
  29. Dance in the rain.
  30. There will come a time in college, and in life, when you are presented with decisions that compromise your values. Know how you will respond to those times before they ever happen.
  31. Have resolve.
  32. Share excitement when you’re excited. People that hold that against you are most likely projecting their own feelings of inadequacy.
  33. Remember to read, and something more than a blog. Pick up a book from time to time.
  34. There is only one you.
  35. Laugh hard, kiss softly, disparage slowly, and forgive quickly. 
  36. Eat fully, drink deeply, and always remember to give often.
  37. Decide what you believe, know who you are and live accordingly. Don’t apologize to anyone for that.
  38. But if you realize later on that you were wrong, admit it. Ask forgiveness.
  39. Maya Angelou has a great quote: “If I’d known better, I’d have done better.” We can only do the best we know how, but there’s no excuse for not striving to attain the know-how. And there’s certainly no excuse for not doing better once we have it.
  40. Expect Dragons.

           I stared at the list thinking about how influential Mr. Smith was in my life. At a time late in my high school career when I felt lost and alone, he inspired me to believe life was full of wonder and hope. Now, just two hours before, I found out he was dying. I placed the list back into its box and slid into the front seat of my borrowed car. It was 4:25 in the afternoon and I eased the car onto the I-84 heading east, on my way to say goodbye to my beloved teacher one last time.

**REVIEW** ~ Discovered (Forsaken Blood Series, book 1), by Em Taylor

Sci-Fi Romance

Adult/18+ read

Contains fangtastic toe-curling lovemaking scenes!

I have been eagerly awaiting Discovered from the pen of Em Taylor. I am already a fan of the author’s Regency romances and I couldn’t wait to read her spin on the sexy space Vampyr Lachlan! I am partial to sci-fi romances and also vampire  heroes and this novel combines both in a mouth-watering combination which contains a drop dead gorgeous world-weary alien Vampyr and a sassy human heroine. Scroll down for my review. 🙂

Lachlan

Book Blurb

Lachlan Ethelred Mackenzie looks like an ordinary sexy university professor, but for over a millennium, he’s been one of a number of his kind trying to steer humanity towards the heavens. But humans are slow and stubborn.

It’s been a long slow journey since the spaceship from Vampyras experienced technical difficulty near Earth in 1006 and the Vampyrs had to abandon ship, and learn to survive on a planet filled with primitive beings.

It’s now 2061, and humanity is heading to Mars – perhaps now the Vampyrs can research space folding technology away from prying human eyes.

Psychologist, Doctor Kate Maxwell is excited about going to Mars—except for one thing – she’s terrified of the journey. A space accident when she was twelve has left her with PTSD and a fear of space travel. But when the handsome Professor, Lachlan Mackenzie becomes her cabin mate she finds herself falling for him all too easily. But why is he so reticent? He’s cute, single and seems altogether perfect.

Things are getting complicated for Lachlan. He’s falling for the sexy red-headed psychologist, his long-lost daughter is on board the spaceship to Mars and she has no clue what or who he is and it seems that the leader of the Vampyr council is plotting something. Lachlan has too many secrets and too many problems. And Kate is the only thing he wants. Can he keep his hands and his fangs away from her? Does he want to? And what will happen if she discovers his secret?

All hell is about to break loose.

This book contains scenes of an adult nature.

My Review – Five Stars!

Fun, Sassy and Sensual – A fab start to a new series! 

Em Taylor’s Discovered is a fun, sassy and sensual read which pairs a sexy space Vampyr/university professor Lachlan MacKenzie with human Psychologist Kate Masters. Set in the future, in Edinburgh, in space and on Mars, it will appeal to readers of paranormal romance and sci-fi romance alike. It is a world where humans are still unaware of the existence of an alien species, Vampyrs, who have been living amongst them for hundreds of years since becoming stranded on Earth.

I loved how the attraction between Lachlan and Kate is so instantaneous. However, their relationship is far from plain sailing due not least to Lachlan’s reticence to get involved with a human again on account of unfortunate experiences in his past. There are a number of misunderstandings and some hilarious scenes as the pair circle around each other even before they embark on their mission to Mars.

Lachlan is one sexy Vampyr – he has looks and brains and manages to combine old world charm with an outlook which is not out of place in the world of 2061 when the novel is set. He tries not to give into his attraction to Kate as he wants to protect her from what his true nature is, lest  he frightens her. Nonetheless, sharing quarters on board ship inevitably leads to some intimate scenes and the sexual tension and mayhem increase and the inevitable happens! Of course initially Kate has no ideas that Lachlan is an alien, least of all a Vampyr and she is suitably shocked when this comes to light: cue a great deal of soul searching amongst some sizzling love-making scenes as to what their future together will be! The read contains a great deal of humour, but also touches on some dark issues from both Lachlan’s and Kate’s past.

I really enjoyed the premise of the novel, that of aliens having lived amongst us for centuries, giving rise to the vampire myths. The novel contains a lot of humour, in particular the character of Meg, the leader of the Vampyr Council, and her interactions with both Kate and Lachlan were priceless! If Lachlan comes across as a little world-weary from his long life as a Vampyr, Meg is positively jaded and I am curious to know exactly what she is plotting and if she too will find her other half!

I recommend Discovered to readers of sci-fi and paranormal romance. Fans of Lindsay Sands Argeneau Vampire series and Evangeline Anderson’s Brides of the Kindred series will especially love this novel. Readers who up until now are only familiar with Em Taylor’s Regency Romances may also wish to indulge. It is a fab start to what promises to be an addictive series.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note a copy of this novel was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   Amazon US

Connect with the Author

WEBSITE    FACEBOOK    TWITTER

 

**RELEASE BLITZ** ~ Seasonal Miracles in The Spirit of Christmas Past by Anna Everett (includes excerpt)

Seasonal Miracles in The Spirit of Christmas Past by Anna Everett #paranormal #romance #contemporaryfiction

thespiritofchristmaspast

Blurb and links

When the holiday of a lifetime turns to tragedy, Caragh fears her life will never be the same again. Her beloved James is missing, she has to learn to live all over again. With the help of her nurse Elspeth, and her new friend Callum, slowly she begins to rebuild. However, not everyone is who they seem, and she fears she will be alone forever….until Christmas brings with it some unexpected magic.

Buy it here

http://ow.ly/VrtIZ

Excerpt

Caragh picked up the printed plane tickets for about the 15th time that hour and as she read the details typed neatly on them she grinned again. A large cheshire cat type grin that lit up her whole face and made her blue eyes sparkle and shine. She looked over at James who was, as usual on his evenings off, playing World of Warcraft on the X-Box. His ginger curls bouncing around as he animately hit the buttons on the controller, the concentration on his face was intense, she often laughed at the range of faces he pulled as he took his game a little too seriously.

“I can’t believe it’s tomorrow” she exclaimed excitedly. “I can’t believe we are really going to New York for Christmas”

“Umm” he replied distractedly “Just get a takeaway then”

“James!!” she exclaimed in frustration, picking up the red velvet cushion from the sofa beside her, and launching it at his head. “This is the holiday of a life time, the honeymoon we couldn’t have last year….for goodness sake pay attention and be excited”

Snapping out of the gaudy, loud, violent graphics based world of his game back to the cosy deep red themed lounge of their three bed semi, James turned to her with a broad grin to match hers.

“Ok, ok” he replied with a laugh “Of course I’m excited, it will be amazing,”.

Knowing he was beaten and his game playing was over for the evening, he reached over and pressed the off button on the console, and turned to face his wife.

“Just think” she said, grabbing the cushion he had thrown back at her, and hugging it to her small frame, those blue eyes now dancing with excitement, “We can go to Bloomingdales, Macy’s, ice skating, and the tree, I cannot believe I am going to be in the Rockefeller Centre standing next to that tree”

Her enthusiasm was contagious and his own excitement was starting to bubble, he smiled as he happily listened to her rave about their destination, in the wonderful soft Irish lilt that had first caught his attention 4 years ago when they met at a surgical resident summer school.

He got up from the black corduroy armchair and crossed to the matching sofa to join her, wrapping her up in the arms of his much larger frame as he sat down.

“It will be perfect” he said smiling as she snuggled herself into him “perfect because we are going together…I cannot wait either” he kissed the top of her blonde head and squeezed her closer.

Their first morning in New York dawned crisp and clear. Caragh smiled and stretched in the warmth of the bed and turned to cuddle up to James.

“Our first day of sightseeing, how exciting” she said squeezing him tighter. “Sounds good to me, but first breakfast, I am starving!” he replied.

“You always think with your stomach” she laughed “just as well we arranged for room service then, should be here anytime now”

It wasn’t long indeed before the trolley arrived and they sat in the window seat once more enjoying the views below, eating warm pancakes and delicious scrambled eggs, the fresh white china hosting the tasty combination, whilst two large mugs of steaming hot freshly brewed coffee sat on the table cooling slightly.

Once the plates were emptied and the mugs drained, Caragh was itching to get going.

“Right!” she said determinedly, “time for the adventure to begin”

Within minutes she returned casually dressed in jeans, knee-high boots and a sweater. James smiled at her, thinking once more, as he did most days, what a stunning beauty she was and how lucky he was to have married her.

Grabbing her ski jacket, woolly hat and gloves she chastised him along “Come on slow coach, I have shopping to do!”

“Ok, ok” he replied, grabbing his wallet and slipping it into his back pocket “guess I will need this then”

“You bet you will” she laughed and grabbing his hand, dragged him towards the door.

The morning passed in a riot of colour and noise as, in her element, Caragh dragged him from one department store to another. Gaudy christmas decoration overflowed from baskets and displays and cheesy seasonal tunes blared out of the public address systems.

It was heaving with tourists and New Yorkers alike but the hustle and bustle only seemed to add to the seasonal flurry and buzz that surrounded them. It was like nothing they had experienced before but Caragh was in her shopping heaven and clearly loving the chaos.

Around 1pm they decided to have a break from the shopping and to head over to Manhattan for some lunch. The adrenaline of the enjoyment was feeding their energy and they were like giddy school children and they skipped hand in hand to the nearest subway station.

Bio and social media

annaeverett

Anna is an establish author with 4 books published across 2 genres.  From a background in holistic therapy and freelance writing it is little wonder Anna has an eclectic range of interests and talents to appeal to her readers.  First published as a child, Anna moved from poetry writing to self help.  Her commitment to her clients led her to create two books on meditation.  However as an avid reading in all genres, Anna was drawn to create a series of paranormal romance novellas that offer the reader characters to identify with and root for as they battle adversity in a quest for happiness.  Always looking to learn, Anna has over 20 holistic therapy qualifications to her name and when not writing is often found with her head in a text book.  Aside from writing and therapy her biggest passion are her six tiny dogs, who have inspired a new series of detective novellas due for release in 2016.

releaseblitzbutton_spiritofchristmaspast

 

 

 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Anna-Everett-Author-Motivational-Speaker-436343089879954/?ref=hl

 

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Blog – https://annaewrites.wordpress.com

**REVIEW** ~ A Discreet Gentleman of Discovery (The Discreet Gentleman Series book 1), by Kris Tualla

Historical Romance

kris tualla

Book Blurb

Brander Hansen lost his hearing at age seven, his inheritance at twenty-three. Furious at his father’s betrayal, Brander leaves home to make his way as Lord Olsen, a ‘discreet gentleman of discovery’ in 1721 Christiania, Norway. He intends to gain his own estate and begins buying the debt markers on Kildahlshus.

Baroness Regin Kildahl’s husband has gambled away her estate and sunk to more dangerous habits. She writes to Lord Olsen soliciting his help saving both her husband and her home. When her husband dies, Regin offers herself and her title to anyone who will redeem his gambling debts, unaware of Brander’s plan and circumventing his efforts.

The Hansen heir accepts her offer and hires Lord Olsen to deliver his bride. Brander’s choices are clear: give the widow and her estate to his younger brother, or claim them both as his own. But who would accept a deaf husband?

My Review

A Real Treat for Fans of Historical Romance!

***** (5 Stars) TOP READ

I was totally entranced by this romance by Kris Tualla. A Discreet Gentleman of Discovery is a real treat for fans of historical romance, combining passion, deceit, murder and mystery into one page-turning read. It is the first book that I have read by the author and I loved her voice and how she effortlessly pulled me into the world of early eighteenth century Norway. The angst driven romance between Brander and Regin, the hero and the heroine, is beautiful to behold and has many twists and turns.

Brander, the ‘discreet gentleman of discovery’ of the title is in modern parlance a private investigator/spy, employed by others to unearth secrets and solve crimes. He is also an aristocrat, an eldest son, who, on account of his deafness and inability to speak, was disinherited by his father, who, deeming Brander unfit, made his younger son his heir. Brander is determined to make his own fortune and purchase an estate to prove his worth to himself and his estranged family. Niels, his valet and cousin  works alongside him and acts as his ears and confidant.

When Brander is employed by Regin to find out about how her husband’s debts are bankrupting her home, and subsequently witnesses his death by foul means, their lives begin to get entangled. Brander has his eye on Regin’s ancestral home and unbeknown to her purchases her husband’s markers. Yet the lady, in a desperate effort to save her estate, offers her hand to any man who can pay for her debts. Brander thus finds himself in the impossible position of transporting this woman, whom he has developed strong feelings for, across the frozen countryside of Norway to his own ancestral home to deliver her into the hands of his younger brother and his father’s heir.

Brander is a tortured alpha male to die for! He is ashamed of the impact of his disability on others, believing that he is fit to be no woman’s consort and is therefore sworn off marriage. However, he is attracted to Regin unlike no other woman and they share some passionate encounters. Yet even if he was able to put his fears aside, how could he possibly expect her to want him when he has deceived her so badly on not one but two accounts? Also how will his family react when he appears at their door with his brother’s bride after they have not seen him since he stormed out of their household many years ago?

Regin has no idea who Brander is, least of all that he is the brother of her intended. Also she does not realise that the debts she is liable for are now owed to him. She is hugely attracted to him and admires him for his inner strength and tenacity on dealing with his disability and also for his skill in solving crimes, all of which become apparent during their long and arduous journey. Yet how will she react when she finds out about his duplicity? And if she can overcome his betrayal how can she persuade him that he will make a fit husband? What future can they possibly have as she is now promised to another?

Brander is so conflicted and many of the passages are truly heartrending as he battles with his emotions. Regin too fights her own battle as she embarks on a future with an unknown bridegroom whilst she is harbouring growing feelings for her escort. They are a perfect match for each other and Regin sees him first and foremost as a man, not someone with a disability. The author does an excellent job of exploring how early eighteenth century society would have treated those with hearing loss and I loved how Regin and his cousin Niels communicate with him using sign language.

The book is a standalone in that it has a definite conclusion. However, I’m pleased to note that the couple’s story continues in further books in the series.

I wholeheartedly recommend A Discreet Gentleman of Discovery to lovers of historical romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   Amazon US

Connect with the Author

http://kristualla.com/

https://www.facebook.com/KrisTualla

https://twitter.com/kristualla

 

 

**Blog Tour w/Guest Post, Review & Giveaway** Blue Wicked by Alan Jones

It was a year ago when I reviewed Alan Jones‘ first novel, The Cabinetmaker. I was absolutely intrigued by the author’s writing style and the in-depth research that I felt had been undertaken. He certainly knows how to write a great crime thriller/drama! And so, it is with great pleasure that we have the chance to be a part of the blog tour and review for his second novel, Blue Wicked.

Included is an exclusive GUEST POST written by Alan Jones, a four-chapter sampler, and he is kindly offering a GIVEAWAY, where one lucky winner will win a paperback of Blue Wicked, and another will win an e-copy! For further details, please scroll below!

BlueWicked_Dark_300DPI

Blurb:

‘Blue Wicked’ is a gritty thriller set in the south side of Glasgow. Eddie Henderson finds himself as the unlikely investigator with information that there’s a serial killer targeting the substance dependent underclass who inhabit the notorious Glasgow housing estates. The police force ignore his warnings but one young detective believes him and she helps him search for the truth, despite putting her own career at risk. Their desperate search for the truth on their own proves Eddie right and sparks off a massive manhunt, with Eddie and Catherine, the young detective, at the forefront of the investigation. The book contains a fair bit of strong language and Glasgow dialect, and has some very violent passages.

Amazon UK buy link

Amazon US buy link

GUEST POST – ALAN JONES

Writing and me: motivation, inspirations and ideas.

What makes me want to write?

Probably like most book junkies, I read incessantly from an early age. As a child, I was brought up in a very religious household, where television was deemed inappropriate. Oddly, reading was encouraged and even more strangely, not censored, and with plenty spare time not glued to a TV screen, I became a voracious devourer of books of all types. My dad had a reasonable collection of books and we lived close to a good library; when I outgrew children’s books faster than my peers, a perceptive Librarian let me use my junior library ticket to borrow books from the adult section without particularly screening what I was reading. (I was a fount of knowledge for my fellow pupils on sexual matters when we all discovered it existed, though most of them overtook me in turning theory into practice, with my being what you would call a ‘late developer’.)

All that reading improved my writing as well. I always enjoyed and thrived on creative writing at school, the only part of the English curriculum that suited me. When I started secondary school, the dissection of literary classics, poems and plays spoiled some of them for me, although I enjoyed most of the ones I re-visited as an adult, appreciating them for being the good read they were, and not as an academic exercise.

The joy of reading a good book, and the pleasure I got from writing, ignited in me the idea that I should give writing stories a go, but life got in the way, with a career, a wife, four children and a house that I populated with restored and hand-built furniture, all conspiring to leave me little time for writing. And we had a TV! I have to confess that I did a lot of catching up, and even my reading dipped a little while I was watching a backlog of TV series like MASH and Porridge, and all the films that I’d missed over the years.

About fifteen years ago, I had a run of reading what I thought were mediocre books, some from authors that I’d previously liked, that left me disappointed and restless and, in my own mind, I thought that I could do better than that. Only, I never did. Then, one day, I told myself that I should put my money where my mouth was, and actually write something.

I got as far as jotting down a few ideas for books, but none of them grabbed me until I came up with a rough plot for The Cabinetmaker. I wrote in fits and starts for the next ten or twelve years, often doubting that I could finish it, but it reached a critical mass about half way through, and it all fell into place, taking less than six months to complete.

Write what you know is the old adage, so that’s what I did. The first book was about making furniture, playing football and living in Glasgow; subjects that I knew a lot about.

My second book, Blue Wicked had its roots in my job working with animals. Having the confidence that I could write, I self-published it within a year of sitting down to start it. The third book is taking a little longer, but it is almost at the first draft stage and should be going to my lovely freelance editor, Julie Lewthwaite, by Christmas. Part of the reason that it has taken longer is that I have spent more time this last year trying to promote my first two books and, although enjoyable, this has been more involved than I’d anticipated.

I get ideas for stories from a number of areas. The biggest so far have been the things like my job, my pastimes, my passions other than reading and writing, but I also love talking to people, or listening to banter in pubs and at social gatherings of all kinds. I make quick notes whenever I hear something interesting or witty, and some of these jottings eventually make their way into my books, heavily disguised to protect the guilty.

The bottom line is that I love writing and, when I’m in the mood and the words just flow from my imagination on to the screen, and I like what I read, there aren’t many things that can surpass that!

Contact Alan:

email alanjonesbooks@gmail.com

Twitter @alanjonesbooks

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006737580444

REVIEW ***** (5* rating)

Blue Wicked is completely engrossing; the grittiness, dialogue and sheer suspense kept me gripped throughout. The reader follows vet, Eddie Henderson, who specialises in animal abuse and poisoning, when he comes across cases where cats have been subjected to antifreeze and been abused under it’s influence. However, when Eddie hears of a murder with similar circumstances he begins to suspect that maybe the animal abuser has turned to harming humans. Is he right? If so, will the police take him seriously?

The story begins with Eddie looking into the death of a cat, and I must warn all animal/cat lovers that there are some graphic and brutal scenes from early on. However, the reason I was so intrigued was because of how well-written the scenes are, the sense of how realistic it felt to read, and the enthusiasm that Eddie has to get to the bottom of just how these poor animals have come to die. Eddie is very thorough in his work, pushing as many boundaries as he has to in order to reach the truth.

When human bodies begin to be found, and victim identities are revealed, it becomes clear that many of them were the victims of drug abuse and/or alcoholism, with many of them being homeless or unemployed; people that not too many would notice have been missing. Their lives were desperate, yet when faced with death they were extremely fearful, which leads to extremely suspenseful and brutal scenes. I couldn’t help but think of Blue Wicked as Val McDermid (Wire in the Blood series) with a twist of Irvin Welsh (Trainspotting). I can very easily picture Blue Wicked as a tv detective drama, due to the dark, intense atmosphere, mixed with the relationships that Eddie has with the police.

Although the police are not very open to Eddie’s theories, this does not prevent Eddie from wanting to look further into each case. And when young officer, Catherine, shares his belief, she takes it on herself to investigate in her own time with Eddie. In Eddie’s otherwise lonely life at home, Catherine brings with her warmth and friendliness, a belief in what he is doing, and a unity whereby they work together, complimenting each other’s work along the way.

The way in which their relationship builds is fascinating in itself. With Eddie concentrating just on the work alone, he finds it a little more awkward to be sociable, coming across as cold even at times. However, just as friendships develop, the more time they spend together the more they expand on varying topics. Catherine begins to see more in him than just the investigative vet; she begins to understand his set ways and mannerisms. Meanwhile, he appreciates her help and eagerness to find more solid leads, at a time when many others are almost ignoring any connections, thus making it a risk for Catherine to go out on a limb to help him in terms of her career.

I am so glad I have had the pleasure to read both Blue Wicked, and The Cabinetmaker; both of which are stand alone novels. Fans of gritty crime thrillers will appreciate the writing that Alan Jones provides in both story-telling and character building. I am looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

You can check out our review of The Cabinetmaker here.

And, here you can enjoy the first four chapters of Blue Wicked, courtesy of Alan Jones.

BLUE WICKED sample

GIVEAWAY

To be in with a chance to win a paperback or an e-copy of Blue Wicked all you need to do is type your name in the comments box below. (You can also enter on our Facebook page.)

Two winners will be picked at random on Tuesday, 2nd February 2016 at 5pm GMT.

The first to be picked will receive a paperback, and the second an e-copy, direct from the author.

The winners will be contacted as soon as they are picked out.

We would like to thank everyone in advance for entering, and wish you all the very best of luck! 🙂

Caroline & Tina

 

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