*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.

~PURCHASE LINKS~

Amazon UK Amazon US

~CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR~

https://laurettelong.com/author/laurette/

https://www.facebook.com/LauretteLongAuthor/

 

*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:

http://sharonroseauthor.co.uk/

http://sharonroseauthor.co.uk/blog/

https://www.facebook.com/sharonroseauthor/

 

*REVIEW* ~ Zenka, by Alison Brodie

#blackcomedy #drama #romance

Blurb

Devious, ruthless, and loyal.

Zenka is a capricious Hungarian with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knives and shotguns.

Jack discovers he has a son, Nicholas, a male nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.

Zenka takes charges. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she will make Nicholas into the sort of son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked: How do you tell a mob boss you don’t want to be his son? And is Zenka really who she says she is?

My Review ~ 5 stars

Sheer brilliance – do yourself a HUGE favour and read this now! TOP READ

Zenka is a book like no other I have reviewed this year – a brilliant read and a guarenteed pick me up! One minute I was laughing out loud, the next I was cringing at the desperate straits and misunderstandings that befall the characters. Throughout it all Zenka, who acts as both the muse and the catalyst for the plot, entertains the reader with her wild and outlandish actions. The novel contains madcap and side-splitting antics galore, contrasting starkly with a host of gory and violent scenes.

The plot explores the very worst of the human condition – greed, deceit, violence and the abuse of trust, and also the very best – love , friendship , honour and loyalty. This dichotomy plays out in a deliciously devilish exposé that sweeps the reader and characters along into a vortex of black comedy and emotionally charged scenes. The novel delves into family, friendship ties and romance and  culminates in a heartfelt ending which expertly resolves the disparate plot strands.

I just loved the pairing of the mild mannered  and gentle nurse Nicholas and the fiery and unpredictable Zenka, the Hungarian pole dancer and friend of the gangster Jack. The couple are brought together, at Zenka’s insistence, when Jack, to whom she owes a huge debt, finds out that he has a son from a former lover. Zenka is determined to bring father and son together and to transform Nicholas into a man worthy of entering a life of crime.

The plot delves into what motivates us all and also poses the question of whether a leopard can change its spots – can the wimpy Nicholas become an alpha male worthy of his gangland dad and conversely can Jack renounce a life of crime for the son he never knew he had? If Zenka succeeds will she like the man Nicholas has become? Moreover how will Nicholas react when he finds out who is dad really is? And what will his response be when he learns of Zenka’s deceit when he has fallen in love with her? The result of all these shenanigans is life-changing for the main characters and those within their orbit. Indeed, The supporting cast, all of whom are beautifully portrayed, have their own trials and tribulations which are woven masterfully into the story.

Zenka, which would make an excellent film/TV drama, is a must read. It also has a seasonal flavour, making it a fantastic Christmas read.

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 UK   Amazon US

Connect with the Author

Link to website: http://www.alisonbrodiebooks.com/#!the-double/c1253

https://www.facebook.com/AlisonBrodieAuthor/

 

 

*AUTHOR/BOOK SPOTLIGHT*~ The Passage of Desire: French Summer Prequel, by Laurette Long

#family #drama

The Passage of Desire: French Summer Prequel by Laurette Long
£0.91/$0.99, free on Kindle Unlimited

We are THRILLED to be featuring Laurette Long’s latest release, The Passage of Desire. We have been a fan of Laurette’s work since Caroline, my co-blogger reviewed  the sweet romance Hot Basque, book 2 in the French Summer Novels (click on the title for review). We also love reading Laurette’s entertaining and inspiring blog where she not only shares excerpts from her writing but also snippets from her life in the beautiful South of France, a place which has inspired her muse on many an ocassion. The Passage of Desire, a prequel to the French Summer Novels, is a family drama which I am looking forward to reviewing very soon. Tina 🙂

~DESCRIPTION~

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.

~PURCHASE LINKS~

Amazon UK  Amazon US

~ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND LE PASSAGE DU DESIR~

Laurette was born in Brontëland which perhaps explains her penchant for romantic novels, passionate heroines and strong, independent heroines. On a school trip to France, aged thirteen, she fell madly in love (with France mainly, but the tobacconist’s son, he of the bold black eyes and cheeky grin, also made a big impression.)

After a teaching career in the UK, the USA, and France, she moved to a hamlet of four houses in rural Tarn, where she started to write fiction. The novels in the French Summer Series were inspired by holidays in the Basque country: Book 1 ‘Biarritz Passion’, Book 2 ‘Hot Basque’ and a forthcoming Book 3 ‘Villa Julia’. The Brontës were still hovering in the background, though, which is why a prequel, ‘The Passage of Desire’, is set in the moorland village of Haworth. The book goes back in time to reveal a mystery involving Alexandra, the mother of the two main characters in the series. But a French connexion slips in when Alexandra goes to Paris and finds herself in an ancient cobbled passageway, Le Passage du Desir, where she witnesses a disturbing scene…

Readers please note: the passage really exists, and more of its history can be found on Laurette’s blog: https://laurettelong.com/the-passage-of-desire-behind-every-title-a-story/

~CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR~

Website   Amazon  Goodreads   Twitter   Facebook

 

 

*BLOG TOUR PLUS AUTHOR POST* – A Hundred Hands, by Dianne Noble (includes excerpt & giveaway)

tourbutton_ahundredhands

AUTHOR POST

I’d been doing voluntary work in India, teaching street children to speak English, and when I came home again had the idea that the journal I’d kept would be a good basis for a novel. Unhappily, agents and publishers thought differently and after 32 rejections I stopped submitting, sat back and licked my wounds.

The painful truth was that my writing just wasn’t good enough. After nursing my bruised ego for several months, I decided to write another book, also based in India, but with a different storyline. I joined two writing groups and took my work in, chapter by chapter, week after week. Their critique was merciless and within a very short time I felt tempted to abandon the whole idea. What? A writer? Me? However, the stubborn part of me persevered and bit by bit every chapter was re-written, every word checked and evaluated, until I had a complete manuscript. I trawled The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook to find agents or publishers who 1) dealt in contemporary women’s fiction and 2) accept unsolicited manuscripts. I discovered that they were very thin on the ground!

It took Conville & Walsh 17 days to refuse me and Curtis Brown 5 weeks. Some took months to respond, others never answered at all. It’s hard to describe how demoralising it is when everyone says no. You wonder if you’re totally deluded thinking you can write, and your skin seems to get thinner rather than thicker. Wine intake rises dramatically and chocolate goes through the roof!

When I received an email from Tirgearr Publishing my heart sank. I really couldn’t take another rejection. But it wasn’t! It was an acceptance and a contract. I don’t know how many times I read it, totally disbelieving that somewhere, someone (apart from me) thought I could write.

That was a year ago and A Hundred Hands will be my second book with a third already submitted. If anyone out there is writing and ready to give up, listen to me! Keep going! Join a writing group, not a cosy one with coffee and cake, but one who will critique your work, pull it to pieces, possibly reduce you to tears and then when it’s as good as you can get it, start submitting and keep going until you’re accepted.

ahundredhandsbydiannenoble200

Excerpt

Polly was dreaming of the night they came to arrest David, hearing the pounding on the door.

But when she woke she could still hear it. It was real.

She struggled to untangle herself from legs and arms. Ran for the door, heart banging against her ribs. Behind her girls screamed with fear and she heard shouts from the boys’ room.

Struggling with the ancient bolts, she broke a nail, skinned her knuckles. Outside stood a young man.

He averted his eyes from her bare legs, addressed the doorframe. ‘Meester Murdoch?’

She sucked her bleeding finger, gave him a blank stare.

‘Emergency. Where is, please?’

What was he talking about? She shook her head but he pushed past her. A screech of wheels as a stretcher followed him. Small frightened faces peeped round the door.

‘It’s all right. Go back to bed.’ She tried to sound reassuring.

They rushed Finlay towards the front door. His eyes, those eyes which had looked at her with such love, were closed. The colour of his face resembled ashes. She reached out to him but they’d already passed. Please God, don’t let him die. She stood, frozen, the blood from her finger dripping on to the floor.

‘We are thinking heart,’ the man called over his shoulder, then they were gone.

She leaned against the wall. A heart attack. It had to be a direct result of Pushpa vanishing. He had been beside himself, totally distraught. She buried her face in her hands. Nimesh had died, for God’s sake, and Finlay had taken it in his stride. But Pushpa was different.

She slid down the wall till she reached the floor. How could she have got it so wrong again?

Blurb

Following her husband’s arrest, Polly is forced to flee her small Welsh village. While she is in India visiting an old school friend she meets an older man, Finlay.

She is hugely affected by the way he is trying to alleviate the terrible suffering of Kolkata’s children who live on the streets in poverty and deprivation. As she becomes more involved in the day to day work she begins to fall in love with him. Together they share the heartbreak and also the happiness.

Then something changes and Polly begins to believe Finlay is hiding the same dreadful secret she ran away from.

Buy links:

Amazon UK:   Amazon US:

Smashwords:   iBooks:

Kobo:    Barnes & Noble:

BIO

diannenoble

I think I became a reader before I could walk. While other people had childhood memories, I amassed a vocabulary. I was born into a service family and at the tender age of seven found myself on the Dunera, a troopship, sailing for a three year posting to Singapore. So began a lifetime of wandering – and fifteen different schools. Teen years living in Cyprus, before partition, when the country was swarming with handsome UN soldiers, and then marriage to a Civil Engineer who whisked me away to the Arabian Gulf.

Most of the following years were spent as a single parent with an employment history which ranged from the British Embassy in Bahrain to a goods picker, complete with steel toe-capped boots, in an Argos warehouse. In between I earned my keep as a cashier in Barclays, a radio presenter and a café proprietor on the sea front in Penzance. All good material for an author!

I always enjoyed writing and kept a journal whenever I travelled abroad, but it wasn’t until I retired I had the chance to write a book. My first novel Outcast was published as an ebook in March 2016 by Tirgearr – after 32 rejections! This has been followed by A Hundred Hands. Both books are set in India and are based on the diaries I kept when I did voluntary work one winter, teaching English to street children in Kolkata.

Web and social links:

www.dianneanoble.com

www.facebook.com/dianneanoble

www.twitter.com/dianneanoble1

*****

GIVEAWAY!

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://www.writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/dianne-noble-2/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Summer Review Round-Up 2016

Dear readers,

img_0166It may be Autumn, but we’re still clinging on to the end of Summer with our Summer reads from June, July and August recapped for you to check out. We hope you all had some great hols and had the chance to read a book or two!

One of the perfect summer reads for me was Alison Brodie’s THE DOUBLE, where the setting on a luxury yacht on the Côte d’Azur really grabbed me. A perfect read even if not on holiday as it certainly makes you feel like you are!

And, with many of our reads being dark, paranormal, sci-fi and HOT erotic, they’ll be perfect for warming up your evenings for the following months.

For more info on each book and our full reviews please click on the titles.

Happy Autumn, everyone!

Caroline & Tina 🙂 ❤

Shannon 1Angelis Vampire Series by Shane North, fantasy, paranormal romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

SHANNON (book 1) Blurb: Shannon’s life is happy except for her nightmares, but when she watches her mom and dad being murdered by the monsters in her dreams, her life falls apart. Her best friend turns out to be a werewolf, the man she thinks of as her other father is the alpha male, and her long lost uncle is a vampire lord from Angelis. Angelis is in another time dimension, a world ruled by Royals, a pureblooded line of vampires with powers never seen in this time dimension. Angelis is a medieval world of castles, and ancient magic that her mother and uncle were forced to leave to save their lives.

Shannon’s journey leads her to follow her destiny and meet the love of her life. Destiny and her uncle lead her to find out what she really is, where she came from, and to become the strongest immortal to live. Shannon learns to kill quickly, and to love like there’s no tomorrow when she meets her mate from her dreams. Simon, an eight-hundred year old Viking has searched the world for his true love when he meets Shannon. What will Shannon’s uncle, Simon’s maker, have to say about this? A young woman from South beach, destined to overthrow the vampire council and rule the immortal race with the help of the ancient Shaman Neeb.

Shannon 2SHANNON’S REVENGE (book 2) Blurb: My name is Shannon O’Callaghan and I’m immortal. I live in an amazing world of time travel and magic, where vampires and werewolves are normal and I call them family A family some would say are monsters, but they love me unconditionally and it’s the life I was meant to live. My father was Connor O’Callaghan, a visionary that led the wolves to peace and prosperity. My mother was Callidora Angelis, a Royal vampire from another time dimension. Their love and life together are what made my life possible, but, it is also what caused their death. And, it’s their death that fuels my journey of revenge on those who stole my life.

This immortal word is controlled by The Vampire Assembly. The Assembly is an evil group of twelve who decides the fate of its followers. They are devils dressed like mortal men who kill with pleasure and live off of blood slaves they keep in their dungeons. They are evil, they are responsible for my parents’ death, and I will see them dead. My day for revenge is finally coming and The Assembly is mine to kill. Then and only then will I rule this land as their queen.

ReaganREAGAN’S DESTINY (book 3) Blurb: Death has arrived in earth’s time dimension. A foul stench filled Shannon’s nose, a smell of sulfur and death. This might have been a vision, but her power spiked as she sensed the source and moved towards it. Her life force surrounded her as her swords appeared in her hands. She gripped them tightly and stepped through a massive oak door. Before her stood a giant of a man.

His essence was black as coal, and his soul had long been lost to his dark side. His ancient leather armor looked old and battled; it smelled musty from the dried blood and looked dry and brittle. This had to be Kyran. Evil always had a dirty, unkempt appearance, and his aura was encircled with death. She could sense his blood was similar to Damon’s, and she knew she would take great pleasure in killing him someday. But what happens when Kyran is taken to earth’s time dimension by Neeb’s evil brother, seeking to kill the remaining royal Angelian family and end their bloodline forever.

In this riveting spin off from Shane North’s Angelis Vampire Series, an unknown Angelian is faced with death, her new life and the destiny the fates have planned for her.

FigsFigs by Tabitha Rayne, erotic lesbian menage/romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Two girls, some fruit and an office perv—what could possibly go wrong?

When Mae finally confronts the office perv, Rory, by taking part in one of his suggestive pranks with a fig, she starts a journey that changes the way she thinks and feels about her current partner, Janey. Janey lost her sight just before they met and Mae realizes she has been keeping Janey like a prisoner in her own home—safe, protected and unseen. After the scene with Rory, Mae decides to take Janey out and show her off to the world—something she should have done a long time ago…

Little does she know what a hellraiser her girlfriend can be.

Digital_Cover_ILLUS_2Sex Hell: A Love Story by Joe Canzano, comic fantasy, humour, paranormal romance (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: When Debbie de La Fontaine tries to spice up her love life by supernaturally tampering with her sex life, she is cursed to spend every future encounter in a magical place called “Sex Hell,” where the sex is ludicrous and amazing–but the romance is scarce.

Her only chance for escape is through the stingy clues supplied by a laughing demon, and the only way to obtain the clues is by returning to Sex Hell again and again to have outrageous sexcapades with the man she most wants to avoid–or does she?

Sex Hell is an absurd comic fantasy about the confusion of relationships. How is love related to sex, and how is sex related to love–and do love and sex need to be related at all?

*This book contains profanity and adult situations

All that glistersAll That Glisters by C. J. Fallowfield, contemporary erotic romance, humour (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: The spin off to the best-selling humorous erotic romance standalone, The Temptress.

Hunter Donovan. He was everything I openly loathed, but everything I secretly desired.

Cocky, arrogant, and crude. When Hunter wanted something, he pursued, relentlessly, until he got it. And right now, I was his prey. The trouble was, I didn’t want to be added to his endless list of conquests.

Gorgeous, masculine, with a body made for sin. The most perfect specimen of male I’d ever set eyes on, and he knew it. The trouble was, I saw the pain he was trying to hide, and I wanted to heal him.

He wanted my body, but I wanted his heart.

Coco Barella. She was everything I openly desired, but everything I’d convinced myself I didn’t need.

Beautiful, sexy, and sassy, all of the qualities that I wanted in my bed. Compassionate, loving, and perfect, all of the qualities I didn’t need in my life.

I needed to pull her to me, but at the same time I wanted to push her away.

When the sexual magnetism between two people is so hot, that it can scorch everything around it to ash, who will emerge from the flames victorious?

A standalone erotic romance novel, which contains adult content and is only suitable for the over 18’s

Natasha BA Most Demanding Mistress (Fashionably Impure #2) by Natasha Blackthorne, historical, erotic regency romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Scorching Hot Historical Romance

Miss Miranda Jones is indisputably the most beautiful, elegant and sought after courtesan in all of London. She hides a past full of pain and rejection beneath an exterior of pride. She knows that noblemen put their own fickle interests first and cannot be trusted. Scorned by ducal father, she never needed or expected anything from a man, except his financial support. Luxurious living makes a soothing balm against the sting of the ultimate rejection.

Now she’s madly in love with a nobleman who cannot afford to keep her in such extravagant style. And she wonders if a courtesan can ever afford to indulge her own passions? Can she really gamble so capriciously on her own future and put the happiness of the moment above future security? Will her gentleman prove himself no better than any other nobleman that she has known?

Adrian Sutherland, the Earl of Danvers, has seen the men of his family destroyed through their obsessive need to possess beautiful women. He’d always thought himself immune to such unworthy drives. Now he’s fallen under the spell of Miss Miranda Jones.

Miss Jones’ high standards and past reputation foretells that she’ll be a most demanding mistress. Despite his relative lack of funds, Adrian is determined to work hard to protect and provide for her. Passion led this skeptical gentleman to declare himself in love. Yet as they enter a protector and mistress relationship, Adrian finds himself consumed with possessiveness. And he can’t help but wonder if is it true love that motivates him? Or is it the need to own her stunning beauty? He must find the answer before their tempestuous romance breaks both of their hearts.

A Most Demanding Mistress is part of the Fashionably Impure Series and is best read after Miranda’s Dilemma.

Reader advisory: This story contains frank sexual language and general bedchamber naughtiness. Abuse issues are alluded to in the backstory.

The General’s Daughter & Stolen Melody (Snow and Ash, books 1 & 2) by Heather Knight, post-apocalyptic, dark erotic romance suspense (reviewed by Tina Williams)

HKTHE GENERAL’S DAUGHTER (book 1) Blurb: Eighteen year-old Ilsa’s father, General Balenchuk, is one of the few men with balls enough to build a tiny island of civilization after a global catastrophe sends humanity to near extinction. He runs Bluefield Mountain with an iron fist, and he’s even more controlling when it comes to his daughter. Ilsa’s been dead inside for years—that is, until the person who hates her most takes her hostage.

When twenty-two year-old Talon Heinesman kidnaps Ilsa Balenchuk, it’s not just because the leader of a rival territory ordered him to capture the general’s daughter. Four years ago, her selfishness set into motion a series of events that resulted in his mother’s and sister’s murders. He’s buried his rage for four years, and now it’s time to mete out the punishment she deserves.

Their story sets Ilsa and Talon on a steamy, turbulent path full of danger, incendiary passion, and a bond so deep it could kill.

This romantic suspense novel contains dark, mature situations and sensitive subject matter, and contains triggers some readers may find discomforting. It is a work of fiction and is intended for adult readers.

STOLEN MELODY (book 2) Blurb: The rest of the world knew her as Melody, the beautiful young siren who rose to the top of the music scene just before a HK1volcano blew and wiped out most of civilization. For the past three years, nineteen year-old “Imogen” has been living under the protection of a small town pastor, and no one else in this increasingly righteous parish knows her infamous history. The whole The rest of the world knew her as Melody, the beautiful young siren who rose to the top of the music scene just before a volcano blew and wiped out most of civilization. For the past three years, nineteen year-old “Imogen” has been living under the protection of a small town pastor, and no one else in this increasingly righteous parish knows her infamous history. The whole persona of Melody was a corporate fabrication, and Imogen would like to forget that part of her past.

Ex-felon Axel Diehl is scouting ahead for a well-organized gang when he spots his fantasy girl. There’s no mistaking the small scar on her hand, those full lips, or that kick-ass figure. It’s too good to be true, and when the gang takes control of Sadie’s Bend he publicly claims Melody for his own.

Can sweet Imogen become the sexy Melody of Axel’s dreams? Can Axel give his poster girl the love she craves? Or will the violence of this new, post-apocalyptic world tear them apart?

This dark romance novel contains mature situations and sensitive subject matter, and contains triggers some readers may find discomforting. It is a work of fiction and is intended for adult readers.

THE DOUBLEThe Double by Alison Brodie, romance, mystery, chicklit (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: A night she can’t remember. A week she won’t forget.

*

Beth is mistaken for rock star Sonita La Cruz, and ends up on a billionaire-dollar yacht. As a shift-worker in Glasgow, Beth has only known hardship. Now she’s in a world of uniformed stewards, delicious French food and rows of gorgeous designer clothes. Beth keeps quiet about the mix-up, determined to wear every outfit in her wardrobe before she’s sent home. What’s wrong with a little play-acting? Beth takes to the role of rock diva like a duck takes to water.

Aleksandr, the captain, arrives and is astonished to see a beautiful raven-haired girl lying on deck issuing orders through a loud-hailer. After talking to Beth, Aleksandr realises what has happened. His smuggling buddies, knowing Aleksandr needs to speak to Sonita about a kid’s crisis, grabbed Beth by mistake. Aleksandr is desperate. To save those children, he needs money, but Sonita has disappeared.

Beth rises to the challenge. She looks like Sonita, so why not BE Sonita? Beth does a magazine interview for one million dollars, and ransoms herself for another million. Beth saves the kids … but can she save herself? Too late, Beth discovers why Sonita disappeared.

*

A love story set against the backdrop of a luxury yacht on the Côte d’Azur, a civil war in the Eastern Bloc, and a Glasgow housing estate.

BadNovember Rain (Bad Bloods #1) by Shannon A. Thompson, sci-fi dystopian, paranormal, urban fantasy (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.

Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

Beneath BrokenBeneath Broken (Imperfect Heroes #2) by C.J. Pinard, contemporary, military romance, chicklit (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: He’s a clean-cut cop who loves a good challenge.
She’s a smart executive with no interest in falling in love.
It won’t take long for the flames of desire to scorch them both, forcing them to either douse the blaze, or succumb to the fire.

MASON
I don’t give up easily. My personality and training taught me that failure is not an option, and getting the attention of the beautiful executive president Harper Mathis is going to be my biggest challenge yet. But first I’ve got to find out why she’s so withdrawn. A woman that stunning must have secrets and I’m going to find out what’s hiding behind those baby blue eyes of hers. She’ll quickly see how much I love a good game of chase.

HARPER
I’ve gone through hell and am not ashamed to admit that I’m broken. Damaged goods. Used up and empty. I want nothing to do with men or love, especially not a cop and a veteran – one who puts his life in danger every day. I’ve been there, done that, and my heart has no interest in someone like Detective Mason Oliver. Even if he’s the hottest thing I’ve laid eyes on in a very long time. I get the feeling Mason always gets what he wants, though. Well, he hasn’t seen my stubborn side.

Beneath Broken is book 2 in the IMPERFECT HEROES series and is for readers 18+.

The Scottish Diamond helena fairfaxThe Scottish Diamond (novella) by Helena Fairfax, contemporary romantic suspense, mystery, drama (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: A powerful, intense and dramatic Scottish romance novella – one that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page…

“Fair is foul, and foul is fair…” When Lizzie Smith starts rehearsing Macbeth with her theatre group in Edinburgh, she’s convinced the witches’ spells are the cause of a run of terrible luck. Lizzie’s boyfriend, Léon – a former bodyguard – is mysteriously turned down for every job he applies for, until he’s finally offered the job of guarding “The Scottish Diamond,” a fabulous jewel from the country of Montverrier.

But the diamond’s previous guard has disappeared in mysterious circumstances. The people of Montverrier are known for double-dealing and skulduggery, and the Scottish Diamond has a history of intrigue and bloody murder. Lizzie is plagued by nightmares in which Macbeth’s witches are warning her of danger.

Then Lizzie discovers she’s being followed through the streets of Edinburgh, and it seems her worst fears are about to be realised!!!!

The Scottish Diamond is a standalone story. Lizzie and Léon first met in the romantic suspense novella Palace of Deception, which is set in the Mediterranean country of Montverrier.

All That We Are Holly J GillAll That We Are (Trust #1) by Holly J. Gill, contemporary erotic romantic suspense, chicklit (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Blurb: Holly knows that sitting behind her computer isn’t going to bring one of her romance heroes to life. And despite her matchmaking friend’s attempts, she’s still lonely, looking for her Mr. Perfect. Fairytales happen, right?

As a bestselling author, Ashton Noir doesn’t need anyone or anything in his life other than his imagination. That is until he comes across Holly’s Promotional Services’ website. Further exposure for his books can’t hurt.

Communicating through the Internet and then phone calls, professional interests turn personal. Realising they lack trust and confidence in different ways, can they have a future as a couple? Or are their dreams forever going to be their safe haven?

CaughtCaught by Lolita London, historical, erotic romance, erotica (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: A Lonely Doctor

His treatment for female hysteria calms his patients, and heats Dr. Thomas Winterbourne’s blood like nothing else. Unwed, and desperately lonely, he’s rejected the idea of marriage due to his singular desires.

A Thief

Jenny Marks feels no pity for the wealthy doctor who has more comfort than she has ever found in her nineteen years. She takes a job as his maid, intending on taking anything of value from him and any other upper class people that she can.

Caught

When Dr. Winterbourne finds her pilfering his mother’s jewels, he decides upon punishing her in the most scandalous of manners, unknowingly tying their fate together.

Mean GirlsMean Girls by Lucy Felthouse, erotic romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Adele Blackthorne is a big girl. She knows it, and she’s been picked on all her life because of it. But she’s gotten to the stage where she doesn’t care. She may be Rubenesque, but she’s healthy, too. Much healthier than the mean girls at the leisure center that point and stare and say spiteful things about her. Adele rises above it all, and enjoys her secretive glances at the center’s hunky lifeguard, Oliver.

As the bullying of Adele becomes worse, Oliver finds it increasingly difficult not to intervene. He doesn’t want to get into trouble with work, but equally he can’t stand to see Adele treated in such a horrible way. Especially since he doesn’t agree that she’s fat and unattractive. He thinks she’s a seriously sexy woman, and would like to get to know her better.

BiancaHow to Capture a Duke (Matchmaking for Wallflowers #1) by Bianca Blythe, regency historical romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: One reclusive bluestocking…

Fiona Amberly is more intrigued by the Roman ruins near her manor house than she is by balls. When her dying Grandmother worries about Fiona’s future, Fiona stammers that she’s secretly engaged. Soon she finds herself promising that she will introduce her husband-to-be by Christmas.

One dutiful duke…

Percival Carmichael, new Duke of Alfriston, is in a hurry. He’s off to propose to London’s most eligible debutante. After nearly dying at Waterloo, he’s vowed to spend the rest of his life living up to the ton’s expectations.

One fallen tree…

When Fiona tries to warn a passing coach about a tree in the road, the driver mistakes her for a highwaywoman. Evidently he’s not used to seeing women attired in clothes only suitable for archaeology waving knives. After the driver flees, Fiona decides she may as well borrow the handsome passenger…

TVThe Virgin of the Wind Rose (A Christopher Columbus Mystery – Thriller) by Glen Craney, mystery, thriller (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane becomes obsessed with a magical word square found inside an underground church guarding the tomb of the biblical Adam.

Drawn into a web of esoteric intrigue, she and a roguish antiquities thief named Elymas must race an elusive and taunting mastermind to find the one relic needed to resurrect Solomon’s Temple. A trail of cabalistic clues leads them to the catacombs of Rome, the crypt below Chartres Cathedral, a Masonic shaft in Nova Scotia, a Portuguese shipwreck off Sumatra, and the caverns under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Intertwined with this modern mystery-thriller, a parallel duel is waged:

The year is 1452. One of the most secretive societies in history, Portugal’s Order of Christ, is led by a reclusive visionary, Prince Henry the Navigator. He and his medieval version of NASA merged with the CIA scheme to foil their archenemies, the Inquisitor Torquemada and Queen Isabella of Castile, who plan to bring back Christ for the Last Judgment by ridding the world of Jews, heretics, and unbelievers.

Separated by half a millennium, two conspiracies to usher in the Tribulations promised by the Book of Revelation dovetail in this fast-paced thriller to expose the world’s most explosive secret: The true identity of Christopher Columbus and the explorer’s connection to those now trying to spark the End of Days.

TIOHThe Image of Her by Lorna Peel, romantic suspense (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Blurb: Rachel Harris had been abandoned as a baby on the steps of a church-run children’s home in England, then later adopted. Who was her birth mother and what were the circumstances which led her to give up her baby?

Searching for someone who doesn’t want to be found seems a hopeless task, until Rachel meets Matthew Williams, a Church of England clergyman.

Then anonymous and increasingly frightening incidents begin and threaten to end their relationship. Are these actions connected to the mysterious events surrounding Rachel’s abandonment?

**REVIEW** Jesse Butterfly (The Organization #3) by S J Sprague

THE ORGANIZATION! They’re back! But with a difference; instead of taking on corrupt cops, this time they have to investigate the killings of those connected to The Organization. WHO and WHY?

Following A Presence in Russell County (book 1) and Mulberry (book 2) comes the final book of the exciting crime thriller ‘The Organization’ series, Jesse Butterfly, by author S J Sprague.

jesse-butterfly-sj-spragueTitle: Jesse Butterfly (The Organization #3)

Author: S J Sprague

Genre: Crime thriller

Date released: June 22, 2016

Length: 278 pages

Buy links: Amazon US and Amazon UK

Blurb: The housekeeper of a Supreme Court Justice killed … A Council member’s wife murdered … a lonely man hooked to oxygen found dead. The only thing they have in common is their ties to The Organization.

The Organization, created to bring out-of-control law enforcement to its knees, now find themselves the targets of a new kind of killer.

Racing to decipher cryptic messages sent from an Organization prison, the group brings all their resources to the battle before there are more deaths … and more names on a list marked with an X.

REVIEW **** (4* rating)

I have really enjoyed The Organization series, and book 3, Jesse Butterfly, is no exception. With an individual now seemingly targeting members of The Organization, and killing their loved ones, the heat has certainly turned up a notch or two, making for matters to become a little more personal.

In the two previous books, A Presence in Russell County and Mulberry, we have followed the Organization (usually ex-military) in gathering evidence against corrupt law enforcement officers and trialling them using the Organization’s swift methods. During this time we have followed major characters in Hollingsworth and Crogan (both ex-military friends) and Sam Biggers, a woman who was once harassed by a dirty cop which led her to lean on her online friend, Hollingsworth, and who later became a trained member of The Organization.

The team are now expected to do more than carry out surveillance and gathering evidence on suspected corrupt officers; they need to ascertain if there is a connection between the victims, find out who is behind the killings, and use their skills to bring them to justice. This full-on investigation is so much more than what they are used to. But, as the story moves on it becomes apparent that there is a connection with The Organization, meaning they had to carry out the detective work themselves.

Unfortunately, the clues can only begin to piece together once more and more crimes are committed, and therefore plenty of tension is built up. The reader is left wondering what will happen next and how will The Organization have enough evidence to link everything together.

Told in third person, one of my favourite aspects of Jesse Butterfly is just how often the reader can easily follow the actions of the killer. There are moments that I found more connected with what they were doing than The Organization. This gave the story an edge, depth and darkness which I loved.

There is a great deal of build-up and suspense which I found exciting and quick-paced at times. However, my one concern was that it ended abruptly. I would have enjoyed a longer period of intense action at the end as I felt that that was where the story was heading. I was a little disappointed at this point, but then the epilogue was a joy to read as each remaining character is mentioned in a paragraph of their own, allowing the reader to find out what the foreseeable future holds for them. This was a lovely way to wrap up the series; a series that I have enjoyed very much!

A copy of Jesse Butterfly was provided by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

RussellCounty_WEB_FINAL_sm2You can also purchase the paperback or Kindle edition of A Presence in Russell County on Amazon.com ($11.99 for paperback and $4.99 for the Kindle edition) and Amazon.co.uk (£7.45 for paperback and £3.71 for the Kindle edition). It is also currently available on Kindle Unlimited $/£0.00!

Mulberry_WEB.smThe paperback edition for Mulberry is now available on Amazon.com, the paperback edition is currently $13.99 and the Kindle version is $4.99. Also available on Amazon.co.uk , the paperback version is currently £9.39 and the Kindle version is £3.94! It is also available on Kindle Unlimited $/£0.00!

Prices correct at the time of posting this review.

Please click on the book titles to read my reviews on the earlier books of The Organization! 🙂

If you would like to contact SJ Sprague you can e-mail the author at sjsprague01@gmail.com.