*REVIEW* ~ A Christmas Delivery (Christmas With The Ellis Family #1), by Akoya Rayne

#contemporary #romance #christmasromance #secondchanceromance

Book Blurb

Nicara Elms has been living her life her way without a man for the past seven years. Hidden away in her peaceful cottage after the loss of her daughter, she shies away from the public eye and the high society lifestyle her parents live for. However, everything changes when she meets her next door neighbor’s handsome son.

Tobias Ellis has moved back in with his mother and young son following the break-up of his marriage. Giving into his mother’s demands, he finally agrees to meet the girl next door, and Nicara is blown away by what she feels for him the first time he holds her in his arms.

With Christmas fast approaching, something wonderful is about to happen, and a special delivery will bring these two lovers even closer than they could ever have imagined.

My Review

Deeply romantic, feel good read 5 stars

A Christmas Delivery is a sweet contemporary romance of second chances and new beginnings. I found it to be a deeply romantic and feel good read, with a seasonal flavour that can be appreciated whatever the time of year.

Both Nicara, and Tobias have had difficult experiences – Nicara in particular has had a tragic past. They do however, form an immediate and deep attraction to each other, encouraged by Tobias’ matchmaking mother who happens to be Nicara’s friend. The romance is sweet and includes some sizzling lovemaking scenes.

Nicara and Tobias are a couple I felt myself rooting for from the off. I was left wondering where their relationship will go despite their physical attraction – Will luck shine down on Nicara after all the heartbreak she has endured? Dare she hope? Does Tobias want anything long term? How will Nicara’s family react when they may very well have plans of their own for their daughter? It was not clear how their relationship would develop as the author introduced a number of twists and turns. I was entertained throughout, by this emotional read.

Recommended for contemporary romance readers who desire a feel good, romantic 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.

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*RECOMMENDED READ* ~ Catherine Miller’s Deridia series

#sciencefiction #scififantasy #scifi #scifiromance #romance #topread

I read Mercy, the first book in Catherine Miller’s Dredia series earlier this year and quickly became hooked, immediately downloading and reading the rest of the series, Trade and Mercy.

I loved this series! I’m partial to science fiction romances, in particular when they focus on relationships between different races and this theme is at the very heart of this series, which explores human relationships with aliens. The setting for the series is the planet Dredia, where the ancestors of a group of human colonists had the misfortune to land. The existence of the humans is desperate. Some are barely tolerated by the planet’s indigenous races and eek out a meagre existence in the Wastes, whereas others have even been enslaved by the planet’s violent race of slave owners.

Each book deals with how a different human female is either compelled or chooses to leave all she knows and is thrust into the society of another of the planet’s races. In Mercy Prim’s life is so desperate in the Wastes that she offers herself to one of the visiting Arterians who is on a trade visit. In Trade the Marzons insist that one of the human colonists bond with one of their own, it being their custom to form such alliances to solidify both peace and trade. Finally in Thrall, Ness who has failed to perform her tasks to the level expected by her harsh Narada slave masters is given as part payment to visiting traders.

I found each read to be compelling in its own way as they each explore what it is like to be different and/or reviled by society and the challenges faced by couples whose relationships challenge the accepted norms within their society. Each romance is very different and each a slow burn and there is a great deal of emotional angst. Not only do all the women experience very real difficulties in adjusting to their new realities, but each of the males have their own personal struggles to contend with. I hugely enjoyed the author’s voice and found each book an emotional rollercoaster of a  read.

In Mercy Rykkon the healer is viewed as an outsider by his own village and his decision to return home with Prim, a human woman, is not one that his people accept easily. Also how will two individuals from such diverse races possibly bond given all their differences?

In Trade  Heather is compelled to sacrifice herself for the good of the human community. Her marriage to Machrus one of the Marzon necessary to ensure her people’s safety. The twist here is that her bridegroom too is far from willing. Their story was a compelling read as the couple at first formed an uneasy alliance, then respect for one another before a slow burn romance developed. And what of Machrus’ people, will they accept her?

Thrall was a particularly emotional read as Ness, a slave, has been made to feel utterly worthless by her former masters and finds adjusting to life with Olivar, the man to whom she has been given as part payment for goods, extremely difficult as she has never had the freedom to think or act for herself.

Mercy

Dishonourable.
Unwanted.
Outsider.

Such are the slurs cast upon Rykkon, however undeserved. As the only village healer, his people cannot cast him out entirely, but there is little comfort in such a life when he has long known that no mate from his clan would willingly join with him. It is a lonely fate, but one Rykkon has learned to accept. That is, until one tense exchange between his people and the humans brings him an offer he simply cannot ignore.

The humans are not their slaves. Nor their property. Nor of any great concern. But neither are they free. It is by the provisions of the Arterians they scrape out a sorry existence in the Wastes, and by their goodwill alone that they continue to survive. Scavenging for hasart beetles under the two suns is the only life the desperate colonists have known since their ancestors first landed on the desolate planet. It was all they knew. It was all they hoped for.

Until one day, a young female dares to ask for more.

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Trade

Gullible.
Foolish.
Weak.

She had always done as she was told. She dug in the sands until her fingers bled so that her people could have something to barter. She packed up her sparse belongings without complaint when it was time to flee the Wastes, leaving behind the only home she’d ever known, and the site of the bittersweet memories she carried of her lost family. It was easier that way, to obey and not to question, knowing her own judgement to be faulty.

But when her people learn that the exchange for living on alien land and securing their safety is the price of one of their unclaimed women, the limits of her compliance are tested, as she is given in marriage to a man she does not want from a species and clan she does not know.

Only to discover that he feels precisely the same about their ill-begotten trade.

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Thrall

Slow.
Useless.
Failure.

Ness had always tried to do as the masters told her, tried to fulfil her expected purpose within the time allowed. She was a thrall and nothing more. Every pain was a lesson, every hurt was for her betterment. And someday, perhaps, she could earn honour enough to serve the Narada in a household.

But when the masters tire of her repeated failures to produce the allotment required of her, she is chosen, not for the death she expects, but to serve as payment to a people she has never seen, whose ways are strange and utterly impossible for her to accept.

Taken in by a man who claims that he is not her new master, she is troubled when he does not comprehend the defective nature of the thrall he has been given, and how unworthy she is to be in his service.

And, perhaps even more concerning, his persistent belief that she is no slave at all.

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https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/992485.Catherine_Miller

 

 

 

 

*ARC REVIEW* ~ The Trickster’s Song (The Loki Series Book 3), by Samantha Macleod

#NorseMythology #eroticromance

Adult/18+ content

Book Blurb

Long ago, Loki the Trickster tried to steal the golden apples of immortality. But why? And what did he plan to do with them?

Now, Loki’s mortal wife Caroline has just given birth to their first child. The sleep-deprived parents struggle to enjoy their first night out in months, but an old song gives rise to older memories, and Caroline finally hears the dark and heartbreaking story of why Loki attempted to steal Iðunn’s magical apples.

And what he lost in the attempt.

My Review ~ 5 stars

Just wow! Beautifully crafted work

I’ve been fortunate to have read all of the books in Samantha Macleod’s Loki series and they are all excellent reads. With The Trickster’s Song however, she has surpassed herself in raising the bar even higher in terms of the quality of her writing and storytelling. The novel is beautifully crafted, weaving scenes of emotional depth and intensity with those of erotic and carnal delight. It can be read as a standalone but I would urge readers to read the other books in the series to fully appreciate the skills of this author in weaving a spellbinding tale.

It is a story within a story, where Loki opens up to Caroline, his mortal wife, revealing his own personal torment of loves won and lost. Throughout the previous books we have gained an insight into Loki’s past and the role foist upon him by the circumstances of his birth and above all by Odinn, the ruler of Asgaard. We have also shared his disappointments and triumphs and rejoiced at his marriage with Caroline and the birth of their first child.

Whereas before we have been treated to glimpses into his dark past this book explains the motivation for his ill fated attempt to steal Iodunn’s magical apples, his subsequent heartbreak and the far reaching consequences. It is an emotional and heartrending tale, recounted by Loki in the first person narrative. As a reader it has both deepened my knowledge of and respect for his complex character. It has also explained some of his actions and relationships with other characters who feature in previous books.

It has elegantly written prose and an original plot line that breathes life into Norse myths and legends surrounding Loki and fellow immortals and their relationships with mortals and others who populate the Nine Realms. It reminds the reader that all of us are to a large extent the products of our pasts, however painful or joyful they may be.

Highly recommended for lovers of tales containing myths and legends, which explore both the darkness and the joy that can mark our existence.

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.

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*REVIEW* ~ A Suitable Wife (The Fitzgeralds of Dublin #2), by Lorna Peel

#historicalromance #historicalfiction #Dublin


Blurb

The lives of the Fitzgerald family are about to change forever…

Dublin, Ireland, 1881. Will and Isobel Fitzgerald settle into number 30 Fitzwilliam Square, a home they could once only have dreamed of. A baby is on the way, Will takes over the Merrion Street Upper medical practice from his father and they are financially secure. But when Will is handed a letter from his elder brother, Edward, stationed with the army in India, the revelations it contains only serves to further alienate Will from his father.

Isobel is eager to adapt to married life on Fitzwilliam Square but soon realises her past can never be laid to rest. The night she met Will in a brothel on the eve of his best friend’s wedding has devastating and far-reaching consequences which will change the lives of the Fitzgerald family forever.

My Review

A stirring and heartfelt read with colourful characters – 5 stars

I just loved this latest release from Lorna Peel! A Suitable Wife, set in 1881, continues the story of the Dublin doctor Will and his wife Isobel who we first meet in A Scarlet Woman (click on title for my review). The book can be read as a stand-alone but I recommend that you pick up the first book to get the most of this most emotional and page turning read.

The book delves deeply into relationships between the sexes and between social classes  – not solely the relationship between the couple, but those between other family members and wider society. All is seen through the eyes of Will and Isobel whose love manages to hold everything together despite all of the many difficulties that come to pass – cue you will need a handkerchief! Isobel in particular is one strong character and the couple are well matched in terms of wisdom and strength. I have read a number of this author’s books and she excels at interweaving deep characterisations with an emotional and stirring plot line.

The revelations which come to light after the tragic death of his brother Edward in India throw a huge curveball into the lives of Isobel, Will and his family and lead to a great deal of soul searching for the family. This puts more stress on the relationship between Will and his father. Isobel’s past is difficult for some to accept but it is surprising what goes on behind the closed doors of others. Other characters have their own secrets and I enjoyed how the author weaved further revelations into the story which is full of twists and turns.

There are certainly some eye opening scenes concerning the couple, their relatives and social circle and the author has clearly carried out a great deal of research into medical issues and social mores of the time, research which helps make the book such  compelling read,

The read totally sucked me in and transported me into the late Victorian era within Dublin, a time when women clearly played second fiddle to men and where appearances and perceived if not actual social mores are all important. Will and Isobel really go through the wringer, but their strength and love shine through and the read is above all an uplifting and life affirming read with a satisfying conclusion.

Recommended to readers who enjoy historical fiction with romance and strong characterisations and which gets to the heart of the social issues of the day.

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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*REVIEW* ~ The Militia Man’s Lady (Dreda’s Men Book 2) , by Alexie Bolton

#historicalfiction #historicalromance


Book Blurb

This is the second book in the series ‘Dreda’s Men’ and follows the exploits of the men in the Taylian State Security Bureau and their ladies. A post-Napoleonic war romance about ‘alpha’ militia men and their feisty, strong resourceful ladies.

Taylia is divided by civil war. Lady Helena von Vagna’s brother has gambled most of her family’s fortune away and it is rumoured he has helped the rebels. Her fiancé has deserted her and she toils to save her family farm. She has no desire to be intimate with any man, particularly the irritating, domineering, provoking Militia man Officer Peter Denman who saved her when she was being attacked by bandits.

Officer Denman is intrigued by this woman. He tries to help her when she is accused of murder and follows her to the sordid bowels of the city where she is vulnerable to the attentions of pimps and brothel keepers.

Lady Felea Whelani, the heroine in the first book, is now married to Francis Dreda, Commander of the Bureau. Their marriage is still tempestuous as Felea finds it difficult to conform to the expected behaviour of a dutiful nobleman’s wife. Her telepathic qualities are developing and her visions are now becoming clearer. The enemies of her husband are trying to undermine and destroy him. Can she and Helena prevent them destroying all she values and loves?

Can Denman manage to save Helena and claim her for himself? Will she want this ruthless militia officer?

My Review

Tension, adventure and romance – 4 and a half stars

The Militia Man’s Lady, a story of tension and adventure, recounts the romance between Lady Helena von Vagna and the militia man Peter Denman. It is the second book that I have read in the Dreda’s Men series, penned by author Alexie Bolton, the first being The Spymaster’s Redeemer (click on the title for my review).

I felt for Helena from the off as she has been badly treated by men – her brother has gambled away the family fortune and she has since been thrown over by her fiancé. Helena is left to help her mother manage the family estate and works tirelessly to make it pay its way. She not only has to tolerate her brother’s dissolute behaviour but has to put up with rumours that he was involved with rebels, putting her under suspicion.

Peter Denman encounters Helena first by chance and the by design as their lives become increasingly entwined. Denman performs many roles ~ her saviour, accuser and would be confidant and friend. Although attracted to Denman (and he to her) Helena is wary of men, especially those as controlling and domineering as he appears to be, as she values her independence. I loved that she did not fawn over him as did other women of his acquaintance.

As for Denman, he fears that Helena sees him only as a brotherly figure and in any case he tells himself and others that he is not ready for marriage. However, it is clear to all but the couple themselves that they are a perfect match for one another. As the plot progresses Helena manages to get herself into one scrape after another, due to a combination of her independent spirit and the designs of those who would do her harm. There are a number of well recounted dangerous and nail biting scenes where Denman is often on hand to save her.

However, Denman is not always in Helena’s life and I enjoyed the tension filled plot where the couple come together only to be torn apart by their own perceptions of what they as individuals want and what they perceive the other to feel. I was intrigued as to how they could secure their HEA after such an impasse, although at times I wanted to slap them both on account of their stubbornness! Nevertheless I enjoyed how the author resolved their differences. I also enjoyed meeting Francis and Felea, whose romance was featured in the first book in the series.

Readers who enjoy historical romances with strong heroes and characters and a plot full of adventure will enjoy this book.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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*REVIEW* ~ Lottery Losers, by Lucy Felthouse

#erotic #romance #novella

Adult/18+ read

Book Blurb

Winning the lottery is a dream come true… isn’t it?

Susie Parmenter and her husband of almost 20 years, Peter, are lottery jackpot winners. They’ve been able to do everything they’ve ever dreamed of – quit their jobs, design and build their perfect home, buy expensive cars, travel the world… So why is Susie bored out of her mind? She thought being a lady of leisure would be amazing, but unfortunately the reality is far from amazing. How can she possibly tell anyone that, though?

Climbing the walls, sinking deeper into irritation and misery, Susie can’t see a way forward. But what she’s not betting on is that Peter has noticed his beloved wife isn’t happy. And he’s taken steps – drastic steps – to turn things around. But will they live to tell the tale?
Note: Lottery Losers was previously published in the Love Me Hard boxed set.

My Review – 5 stars

A  sizzling erotic adventure

If you are after a quick, hot and sexy read that will take you by surprise then look no further than this novella by Lucy Felthouse.

The read examines the effect that winning the lottery could have on a couple’s relationship. Having it all can, after a while, be, well, SO boring. Fortunately for Susie, her husband Peter is in tune with her feelings and he comes up with an extremely original idea to encourage her out of her funk. However, things do not quite go as to plan…

This is one hot and entertaining read and although things take an unexpected turn, the love the couple have for each other is never in doubt – cue lots of sizzling scenes! There area also some humorous moments, which made me chuckle at times.

The novella will appeal to fans of erotic romance and erotica who are after a fun and sexy 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.

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~*REVIEW ~ Winning Freyja’s Cloak: A Short Erotic Fantasy with Loki, By Samantha Macleod*~

#erotica #shortstory #norsemythology

Adult/18+ read

There was absolutely no way that I could resist reviewing this new release by Samantha Macleod. I’m a huge fan of Norse mythology and love the author’s depiction of Loki, the trickster god, throughout her work. If you too love reading (extremely) naughty tales featuring gods and goddesses with superpowers, then I’d urge you to dive into this short story now. At the time of posting it was available FREE on Amazon.


Blurb

Freyja is the most beautiful woman in Asgard, and she has no shortage of lovers.

But when Loki shows up on her doorstep, he’s after more than just her legendary beauty.

Loki asks to borrow Freyja’s feather cloak, the magical garment which transforms the wearer into a falcon. At first, Freyja is reticent to let go of her treasure. However, when Loki promises to show her something she’s never seen before, his offer proves too tempting to resist.

After all, what can Loki the Trickster possibly do to surprise the most experienced lover in Asgard?

This erotic twist on Norse mythology is highly explicit, and not intended for readers under 18.

My Review

Filthy, dirty and downright naughty! 5 stars

Where to start? What a deliciously debauched and down and dirty story this is!

Samantha Macleod packs a great deal of naughtiness into this quick read, which features Loki, the Lie -smith, on which she has based a number of books.  Freyja is literally putty in Loki’s hands as he promises to show her something she has never seen before… How can a girl resist?

What follows is a series of carnal delights that delights and surprises even Freyja, herself a deity not untutored in the many and varied acts of lovemaking.

Neither this read or Loki disappoint in this highly charged erotic foray into the realm of Asgard.

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.

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