*REVIEW* ~ Split Decision, by Carmen Capuano

#comingofage #youngadult #romance #thriller

Book Blurb

How was Natalie to know that the decision she was about to make between two potential dates, would forever be a pivotal point in her life? That it would mark the time where childhood innocence ended? How could she even imagine that the wrong decision would send her life spiralling into the stuff of nightmares from where she might not come out alive? Life takes a cruel twist of fate when Natalie, a completely average [almost] 16 year old, is forced to make a split-second decision… a decision that will change her future and forever alter her perception of trust, love and the realities of life.

My Review

Brilliant and Brutal Coming-of-Age Story – 5 stars

Split Decision, essentially a coming-of-age novel, is both brilliant and brutal – brilliant in its execution and brutal in the sensitive subject matter it explores. The decision Natalie makes impacts on many and she is not the same person at the end of the story as she is at the beginning… It is the second book that I have read by the author Carmen Capuano, the first being Ascension, a dystopian thriller (click on the book title for the review). Although the subject matter is completerly different, I found the story just as engaging and thought- provoking.

The plot begins in a shoe shop where best friends, teenagers Natalie and Stacey are shopping. The new pair of shoes which Natalie purchases – in a style which is way out of character for the sensible teenager, can be viewed as a metaphor for both her step into adulthood and what subsequently occurs. Natalie is soon called upon to make a split second choice and her decision heralds a chain of unexpected and shocking events.

The author does an excellent job of depicting the trials and tribulations of the teenage years and how they effect existing and new relationships: a time of burgeoning sexuality, when we strive to forge our own identity, sometimes putting us in conflict with our families who find it difficult to come to terms with their offspring entering adulthood. The balance between protecting their children whilst allowing them the freedom to grow is often a difficult one and I felt that the author touched on this in a sensitive fashion. I certainly identified with Stacey and Natalie from memories of my own teenage years and recognised how easily events could take the path they did.

The characters, the young people and the adults, were all very believable and the author is to be congratulated on using the events to illustrate their personal growth and changing family dynamics.The plot is cleverly and expertly written and certainly had me guessing and questioning my own preconceptions and prejudices.

All in all a super read.

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.

Purchase Links

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*REVIEW* ~ Merry Christmas, My Viscount (Rules of the Rogue #2), by Emily Windsor

#historical #regency #romance #sensual #christmasread

Book Blurb

Mrs Lily Mereworth’s List of Bold New Life Resolutions. To be completed by Christmas Eve, 1814.

• Burn Miss Pikesworth’s Guide to Etiquette – Achieved.
• Visit a gaming hell and win oneself lots of money – Achieved.
• Imbibe new-fangled absinthe – Preparations underway.
• Seduce a rogue – ?

Attending a Christmastide gathering is surely the best way for the most proper widow Mrs Lily Mereworth to complete her list and banish her past. After all, there will be more than a few suitable gentlemen present.
If only a shrewd, hazel-eyed viscount didn’t keep disrupting her plans…

Newly ennobled Viscount Asher Rainham has no schedule for seduction, Christmas or dallying with women. He has merely turned up for the good company, intelligent card playing and excellent brandy. But as snow swathes the land, a certain Mrs Mereworth confounds his expectations and assaults his methodical senses.
Asher, spymaster, a man who never takes risks, finds himself in need of some Rules of the Rogue…

Ghost stories on a windy night, swordplay down the Great Portrait Gallery, snapdragon in the dark – a lady and a gentleman with no thought to love… Merry Christmas.

My Review

Delightful Regency Romance ~ 5 stars

Merry Christmas, My Viscount, by Emily Windsor is a fun, feel-good read, ideal for Christmas or at any time of the year. I adored it! It is the first book that I have reviewed by the author and I was impressed with how she effortlessly blended romance, sexual tension and humour to create a compulsive read.

I loved the heroine in the book, the widow Lily as she strives to recover her mojo. She is so determined to liberate herself from the memories of her marriage to her stuffy and controlling husband. She has worked her way through The List of Bold New Life Resolutions, which she created with the help of her friend Rosalind, and now only has to complete two outstanding resolutions before Christmas Eve – imbibe new-fangled absinthe and seduce a rogue – what a list! Fortunately the Christmas house party hosted by Rosalind and husband Lucas on hand to afford her plenty of opportunities …

Cue for a delightful and romantic read with plenty of humour as Lily, egged on by Rosalind in particular, resolves to complete the list before the allotted time. Her perusal of the rogue she’d most like to give her attentions to is particularly entertaining. However, everywhere Lily goes she finds the eyes and attentions of the oh so serious Viscount Asher Rainham upon her. The risk averse Viscount, spymaster extraordinaire, is flummoxed by the contradictions in Lily’s character and is determined to find out what makes her tick.  Indeed, this woman not only piques his interest but confounds his senses and his fascination quickly turns to attraction…

For Lily’s part, she becomes intriqued by the Viscount, against her better judgement. She realises that there is more to Asher than first impressions suggest. Yet will she want to risk more than a simple dalliance now that she is enjoying her newfound freedom?  There is plenty of humour and heaps of sexual tension as Lily and Asher fall for each other at the same time embarking on a journey of self-discovery in this hugely entertaining read.

I’d thoroughly recommend this to all romance lovers.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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

Purchase Links

Amazon US Amazon UK

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*REVIEW* ~ The Passage of Desire: French Summer Prequel, by Laurette Long

 #familydrama #friendship #adult themes

The French Summer Novels are a series of contemporary romances set in the stunning French Basque country, following the lives of two sisters, Caroline and Annabel, and their friends. In this prequel we step back in time to meet Alexandra, their mother, and learn more about her story in the years before her fatal car crash. When Alexandra dies, she takes with her a terrible secret …

Yorkshire, 1991: the summer that everything changed.

Alexandra and her seven-year-old daughter, Caroline, arrive in the village of Haworth to spend a holiday with Alexandra’s best friend from school, Juliet. Though the years have passed, the two friends quickly fall into their old intimacy, sharing reminiscences and comparing the different paths their lives have taken. Juliet seems to have it all – marriage to childhood sweetheart, Alan, two children and an adorable grandchild – while Alexandra is a troubled soul, an only child brought up in a dysfunctional family, prone to bouts of depression since the birth of Caroline, and becoming more and more estranged from husband Robbie.

But life with the boisterous, touchy-feely Pearson family in their rambling disorganised house starts to lift Alexandra’s spirits. Hot sunny days filled with long walks across the purple moors, leisurely picnics, drinks on the terrace in the evening, laughing at the antics of Caroline and the family collie, Bonnie. Oliver, the Pearson son, usually joins in the fun, ready to top up the drinks or join Caroline and Bonnie in their game of catch.
A perfect summer idyll, which is about to be shattered by violence and betrayal.

Underneath the surface, tensions build and emotions come to the boil. Cath, the Pearson’s second child, is a teenage Mum, eking out a precarious existence with a shifty, unreliable partner, a less than ideal father for the couple’s baby son. Their situation is a source of friction and worry for Juliet, who’s also bracing herself for the departure of 19-year-old Oliver, the golden boy, off to Cambridge in September. Young Caroline is missing her Daddy, on a business trip to New York, and burdened by feelings of responsibility to a ‘fragile’ Mummy, who needs looking after.

And meanwhile, through an innocent gesture, an unguarded look, a spark ignites, a flame is lit, a forbidden desire grows. As the characters go about their normal routines, two of them become caught up in an escalating conflict, torn between the demands of loyalty and friendship and the irresistible urges of the human heart. As the holiday draws to an end, events take a sudden, dramatic turn, setting off a chain reaction that will change the lives of everyone forever.

My Review

Compelling and Flawlessly written  ~5 stars

I have yet to read the series of contemporary romances that comprise the French Summer Novels, but having read the observations of Caroline, my co-blogger, I jumped at the chance to review this prequel. The Passage of Desire is the story of Alexandra, the mother of the sisters, Caroline and Annabel, of the later novels Biarritz Passion and Hot Basque.

In the book Juliet, Alexandra’s childhood friend invites her and her daughter Caroline to stay with her in her family home on the Yorkshire moors. Alexandra, whose husband is away on business, is going through a low point in her life but soon begins to bloom again and under the summer sun, with her friend’s easy going attitude and the healthy country air, she begins to heal herself.

Indeed, there is much to distract her with Juliet’s own offspring: Cath, who has a young child and a volatile partner and Oliver who is about to leave the family home and go away to study. Alexandra’s own daughter is also deeply absorbed by the tangled relationships she witnesses as their visit draws to a close – I loved how the author reflected what is going on through her young eyes.

Throughout the read the author delves deeply into the emotions of two women and their families. It touches on all which makes us human; the different stages of life; family dynamics; intimate relationships and unexpected desire. The book is flawlessly written, with insight and sensitivity as the events, which will have life-changing repercussions for some, unfold.

The setting for the story, the wild and untamed Yorkshire moors, where emotions become freed and passions can often come to a head, is a metaphor for the tale itself. The reference in the book to Alexandra’s recollections of a teenage visit to The Passage of Desire in Paris is also allegorical, and its  meaning reveals itself as the plot unravels. The descriptions of the various settings in the book, particularly the countryside, are vivid and beautifully written in a way that powerfully reflects the emotional journey of the characters.

I don’t want to reveal any of the plot as it would spoil the read, but suffice to say that I enjoyed the read immensely and thoroughly recommend it.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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


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~**Release Blitz for The Prison of the Angels by Janine Ashbless**~ includes excerpt

Out Now – The Prison of the Angels, the final Book of the Watchers by Janine Ashbless (@sinfulpress)

When there’s a war in Heaven, on which side will you stand?

The Prison of the Angels is the new paranormal erotic romance by Janine Ashbless, and is the final novel in the Book of the Watchers trilogy.

“I thought I was a good girl. I thought that no matter what others did for my sake, I could stay innocent. I thought that as long as I acted out of love, I’d be blameless.
I was wrong, wasn’t I?”

Janine Ashbless is back with the third and final instalment of her Book of the Watchers trilogy, The Prison of the Angels. Unafraid to tackle the more complex issues surrounding good and evil in mainstream religion, Janine has created a thought-provoking and immersive trilogy which sets a new standard for paranormal erotic romance. The first in the series, Cover Him With Darkness, was released in 2014 by Cleis Press and received outstanding reviews. It was followed in March 2017 by In Bonds of the Earth, and finally The Prison of the Angels on 1st December 2017, both published by Sinful Press.


Milja Petak’s world has fallen apart.

Her lover, the fallen angel Azazel, has cast her aside in rage and disgust. The other contender for her heart, the Catholic priest Egan Kansky, was surrendered back into the hands of the shadowy Vatican organization, Vidimus, after sustaining life-threatening injuries.
She has killed and she has betrayed. She is alone, homeless, and at the end of her tether – torn apart by guilt and the love she has lost.
But neither Heaven nor its terrifying representatives on Earth have finished with Milja.

Both her lovers need her in order to further their very different plans, and both passionately need her, though they may try to deny it.
Milja is once again forced into a series of choices as she uncovers the secrets Heaven has been guarding for centuries. But this time it is not just her heart at stake, or even the fate of a fallen angel.

This time, the choices she makes will change everything.

This time it’s the End of the World.

The Prison of the Angels is the third in the acclaimed Book of the Watchers trilogy, following on from Cover Him with Darkness, and In Bonds of the Earth.


The cold water flashed like white fire over every inch of my skin. It burnt my eyeballs and my lips and the inside of my throat, and beyond the white fire was a darkness so immense that it swallowed me whole.

I fell forever.

Something grabbed my wrist. Something so hot that it boiled away the darkness, so that there was suddenly light flashing in my eyes. I felt myself grabbed up bodily and lifted. I felt heat against my lips, blowing fire into my frozen lungs. I saw the wooden posts of a flight of steps, and then I pitched forward onto hands and knees in the shallow snow, choking up pond-water. In front of my blurred vision an inchoate swirl of darkness poured up the steps onto the lit porch and then disappeared. Unseen, something slammed against the door, a knock that made the house shake.

I was on the ground beneath the back porch of John’s house, I realized, shuddering.

Mama. Oh Mama. The thought seemed to come from nowhere.

Three times the knock sounded, and on the third the door burst open—outward, onto the porch—to reveal Egan in the lit room within; shaven, shirtless, and frozen mid-lunge for what I could only assume was a weapon of some sort.

He stared.

I tried to cry out.


Grabbing his pistol he ran out barefoot onto the porch and looked around for enemies that were not there. Then he clattered down and pulled me up into his arms. I pressed my face to his neck and he carried me up the steps and over the threshold—not like a bride, but like a child he could hold tight against his torso, his wrists locked under my thighs. His skin blazed against mine. He hefted me into the kitchen and propped my ass on the table in front of the range.

“What the hell?” he demanded in a low fierce voice, sweeping locks of sodden hair back from my face. My hat seemed to have disappeared. “What happened, Milja? What were you doing out there?”

“Ice. I fell in the lake.” My jaw chattered. It was obvious I was telling the truth—I was soaked from head to toe, and after clasping me so close he wasn’t much drier himself.

“Feckssake, woman!” he growled. “What the hell were you thinking of?” He shucked off my coat, which lifted a sodden ton from my shoulders, then stooped to pull my boots off; ice-water spilt all over the floor.

I tried to strip off my gloves but my fingers weren’t capable of gripping anything.

“Come here, come here,” he said softly from where he knelt at my feet, grabbing my wrists and peeling away the useless gloves. He pressed my hands on either side of his warm neck, holding them there. They must have felt like ice-blocks to him, but he didn’t wince.
He looked like a knight kneeling before his queen, I thought. I could feel his pulse.

“I’ll go get towels, Milja. Are you going to be okay a sec?”

I nodded, though he probably couldn’t see it through the shuddering. He rose and hurried off, leaving me with the radiant warmth of the stove. I thought I should probably get the rest of my clothes off, but even after I struggled with my fly zipper my jeans seemed determined to cling to my bum-cheeks.
I heard the back door bang shut and I flinched.

Had he been gathering himself to come get Egan? Was he the one who had saved me from the black waters? Where was he now?
Egan came back in carrying armfuls of towels. “Alright?”

“I’m okay,” I told him, smiling through my shudders. He was still shirtless, and I could see the faint Ethiopian scars on his arm and chest.

He wrapped my hands one at a time in a towel, chaffed them dry, and then set them deliberately against the hard, hot wall of his torso.
Oh God.

Then he slipped all the buttons on my thick flannel shirt—the one I’d chosen this morning precisely because it wasn’t provocative or distracting—and he only slowed when he realized I was wearing just a bra-top underneath. My nipples stood in shamefully hard points under the stretch cotton. I tried to wriggle out of the long tartan sleeves of my shirt on my own, to spare his blushes, but everything clung like a freezing cold second skin and he had to help.

The shallow slash on my forearm wasn’t bleeding anymore, but each brush of his fingers felt like hot coals.
My wet garment made a slap as it struck the floor.

He draped a towel around my shoulders and another over my head. He started rubbing the water from my face and hair and scalp, his movements precise and gentle. For long moments I was buried in a soft darkness. I reached out, blind, to put my hands back on his bare ribs. I could feel his heart pounding beneath them, like a beast pacing a cage.

I have no idea when it all changed for him. When his grueling self-denial simply fell apart, like a garment worn and washed until the fabric was weakened beyond all use. All I knew was that he dropped the towel off my damp head, cupped my face in both his hands and—absolutely without warning—kissed me.

The Prison of the Angels is available to buy from all major online retailers including:

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/TPotAKindle
Kobo: http://smarturl.it/TPotAKobo
iTunes: http://smarturl.it/TPotAiTunes
Google Play: http://smarturl.it/TPotAGoogle
Barnes and Noble: http://smarturl.it/TPotABarnesandNoble

Author bio:

Janine Ashbless is a writer of fantasy erotica and steamy romantic adventure. She likes to write about magic and myth and mystery, dangerous power dynamics, borderline terror, and the not-quite-human.
Buyer beware! If you like dark romance and a hard-won Happily Ever After, try “Cover Him with Darkness,” “Heart of Flame,” or “The King’s Viper.” If you prefer challenging erotica, go for “Red Grow the Roses” or “Named and Shamed” instead. All her other books lie somewhere on the spectrum between.

Janine has been seeing her books in print ever since 2000. She’s also had numerous short stories published by Black Lace, Nexus, Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, Harlequin Spice, Storm Moon, Xcite, Mischief Books, and Ellora’s Cave among others. She is co-editor of the nerd erotica anthology ‘Geek Love’.

Born in Wales, Janine now lives in the North of England with her husband and two rescued greyhounds. She has worked as a cleaner, library assistant, computer programmer, local government tree officer, and – for five years of muddy feet and shouting – as a full-time costumed Viking. Janine loves goatee beards, ancient ruins, minotaurs, trees, mummies, having her cake and eating it, and holidaying in countries with really bad public sewerage.

Her work has been described as: “Hardcore and literate” (Madeline Moore) and “Vivid and tempestuous and dangerous, and bursting with sacrifice, death and love.” (Portia Da Costa)

Author Links:

Janine Ashbless website: http://www.janineashbless.com/
Janine Ashbless on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janineashbless
Sinful Press website: https://www.sinfulpress.co.uk

Release blitz organized by Writer Marketing Services.

*REVIEW* ~ Split Second: A play by Sharon Rose

#community #play #inspirational 

A very special journey for author Sharon Rose 

Reflections and a Review

Author Sharon Rose is one of those individuals who are an inspiration to us all. After surviving breast cancer Sharon uses her creative and artistic talents to raise awareness and funds for both national and local charities. These not only include Cancer Research UK but also other charities, who have over the years been a source of solace and support to herself and her family and friends.

I know Sharon through the contribution she has made to the work of Tamworth Literary Festival which I am involved in and I was excited for her when earlier this year she announced that she was working on a script for a play entitled ‘Split Second.’ Sharon hoped that the play would not only raise awareness of a number of health issues and life challenges she and others have encountered but also provide solace and support to those who have been affected either directly or through supporting loved ones. The largely autobiographical script draws largely on Sharon’s own experiences as set out in the series of books she has published to date.

Over the coming weeks the theatre at a local secondary school was booked and thus began the task of reaching out to local actors and would-be-actors (many of whom who had not been in a theatre production before); securing a cast; refining the script; organising rehearsals; advertising and ticketing – the list goes on. Through it all Sharon embraced the many challenges and opportunities that the venture threw at her with her typical good-natured determination, always with a smile on her face. I was honoured when I, along with local author and blogger Sue Flint, was asked if I wanted to review the play.

Scroll down to read my review and also to find out more about Sharon’s work in supporting local and national charities and her writing. Sharon will be taking an active part in the Tamworth Literary Festival in March 2018 (details to be anounced soon). Check out the Tamworth Literary Festival pages for regular updates.

Tina 🙂

My Review of the Community Play Split Second 

Inspirational and Life Affirming ~ 5 stars

On 18th November I was fortunate to have a front row seat at the premier of Split Second. The play, penned by the indefatigable Sharon Rose involved actors, musicians and dancers of all ages, drawn from the local community.

At the centre of the story is single parent Lucy who, like most of us, struggles with the vagaries of life, whether they be work, relationship or family issues. These are all thrown into sharp relief when Lucy is confronted with the news that she has breast cancer. The play looks at Lucy’s life prior to during and after her diagnosis and not only reflects on how she copes but also how the individuals closest to her – her family and friends, including those at her beloved Salsa club, support her through the process. The scenes flow effortlessly from ballroom to hospital wards, including scenes of home and work life and a holiday in Magaluf. The script is punctuated throughout by music, dance and song.

The script  references some heart-rending issues: cancer, sepsis and domestic abuse. It brought tears to my eyes at some points, but it also contains much humour and laugh-out-loud moments. The overall message is life-affirming, not least the power of the individual spirit and also the importance of friends in helping us face whatever fate has in store for us. The title and the content of the play ‘Split Second’ reminded the audience of how life can change in the blink of an eye and how we should all seek to make the most of the time we have on the planet.

All involved in the production, from the performers to the directors, back stage and front of house crew are to be complimented.The lady who played Lucy is worthy of particular note as is the gentleman who played her friend (and would-be-lover) Greg; the dancer Summer who provided a series of spellbinding dance routines at various points in the production; Jenny who sings a fantastic solo and Sharon’s son, the musician Ali Glbert who makes an appearance.

The event, which played to a packed theatre, was a memorable experience for both the audience and cast involved.

About Sharon

Sharon (in the words from her website), ‘started writing and expressing herself through the written word, finding it very therapeutic and aiming her books are at those who are experiencing adversity. To give them strength and hope for a brighter future.’ Sharon’s books include Single Salsa Survivor: The Journal of a Breast Cancer Survivor, Always Sublime Never Ridiculous, Living in Grief. Loving in Grief and Looking In, looking Back: Happy memories That’s A Fact.

Find out more about Sharon’s books and how you can support her chosen charities on her website, which also contains some of her poetry: