*ARC REVIEW* ~ The Spymaster’s Redeemer (Dreda’s Men), by Alexie Bolton

#historical #romance

Blurb

Two people on opposite sides of a civil war. Frances Dreda is an officer in the Taylian State Security Bureau who enforces obedience to the law by the deterrent of prison and the noose. He investigates the activities of the outspoken and intellectual Lady Felea Whelani who he suspects aids the rebels by codebreaking and feeding and educating their children.

They should be mortal enemies but are intrigued by each other but he mistrusts women and Felea is repulsed by his detachment and his severity. Can love overcome cultural differences and prejudice? Can Felea humanise this officer?

My Review ~ 4 and a half stars

Entertaining and Compulsive 

Alexie Bolton’s The Spymaster’s Redeemer, the author’s first novel, kept me entertained from beginning to end. It is a sweeping historical romance with complex characters and a well developed plot.

The central story is that of the relationship between the two protagonists – the ‘Spymaster’ of the title Frances Dreda, and Lady Felea, the daughter of an academic suspected of supporting enemies of the Emperor of Taylia, a fictional country near the Austria- Hungary border. There is also much emphasis on the politics and power play between different individuals and factions. The push and pull between the couple also highlight the differing expectations put on men and women. I found the result to be a thoroughly compulsive read as the author skilfully weaves these different threads together.

I enjoyed both the sexual tension and the heated exchanges between Dreda and Felea which begin as soon as their paths cross. Dreda is investigating her father’s potential guilt, a crime punishable by death and as his daughter Felea herself is under suspicion. Dreda takes an uncharacteristic personal interest in the case as something about the young woman intrigues him, taking it on himself to establish the extent of her guilt or innocence. As for Felea, she fears for her own fate and that of her father and wants rid of this odious man who is an unwelcome threat to her sanity and wellbeing! I will not divulge how the plot develops, suffice to say that the story is a complex one and is full of unexpected twists with plenty of action, suspense and romance.

Of particular merit is the good job the author does in developing both Dreda’s and Felea’s characters. I found Dreda to be a fascinating individual who attracts and repels at the same time. As the Emperor’s right hand man, he is cold and calculating, a misogynist who uses women for his own ends and a master manipulator. Felea blindsides him not only with her exuberance and apparent innocence but also with her intelligence. I enjoyed how she gets under his skin and challenges his preconceptions. For her part she is an accomplished individual due to the freedoms given to her by her academic father and loathes the thought of being controlled by a man. Although they are opposites in many respects, they are well matched and I enjoyed how their relationship develops given the obstacles in their way, not least their own pride and preconceptions.

It is an impressive first novel by the author and I am looking forward to reading more of her work.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, an ARC 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

https://www.facebook.com/The-Spymasters-Redeemer-292324974543422/

 

*REVIEW* – Hiding in Plain Sight, by Lucy Felthouse

#romance #espionage #romanticsuspense

Adult content

Book Blurb

Mallory Scott is an espionage operative, working for the British government. She’s travelled all over the world, often going undercover and infiltrating criminal organisations in order to extract the intelligence needed to dismantle their operations and bring the perpetrators to justice. Given her usual targets are terrorists, people-traffickers, drug-traffickers and arms dealers, her latest assignment should be relatively simple. A small group of Brits is raking in serious money in the diamond-scamming business—and although their MO is theft and forgery, rather than hurting people, they still need to be stopped. But up until now, they’ve proved elusive—no one can catch them in the act, or find a shred of evidence against them.

That’s where Mallory comes in. She follows the group to Amsterdam, planning to get her claws in to one of the gang. Luck is on her side, and within twenty-four hours she’s lunching with Baxter Collinson, the youngest—and most handsome—diamond thief. What she’s not expecting, however, is to get on with him quite so well. Attraction bubbles between them—and for once, on Mallory’s part, it isn’t an act. For the first time in her career, Mallory struggles with what she must do.

Can she ignore her heart for the sake of her career?

My Review – 5 stars

Fun and sexy romantic suspense!

A super romantic suspense from Lucy Felthouse. Mallory’s work as an espionage operative is often dangerous and she fully expects her latest assignment, that of gathering evidence to take down a group of diamond thieves, to be a doddle. She has absolutely no qualms about using her feminine wiles to entrap one of the gang’s members, the young and handsome Baxter Collinson. All goes to plan except she makes an immediate connection to Baxter and begins to lose her heart in the process… For the first time she feels guilty about the role she has played in a criminal’s impending arrest and incarceration and she is torn.

I won’t delve any more into the plot but suffice to say I LOVED the unexpected twist. Do the couple have a future? How will Baxter view Mallory’s deceit? Can Mallory continue to maintain her professional detachment towards the very man who has made her question her actions?

I adored Mallory, a strong woman and a consummate professional, dedicated to her work as an undercover agent – she reminded me of a female James Bond as she enjoys her job and has a healthy attitude when it comes to sex! As for Baxter, he is both SO sexy and cheeky and has a fantastic sense of humour – it is no wonder Mallory falls for him. I really felt for him when he realises that Mallory deliberately orchestrated their relationship.

The characters are realistic and I easily identified with their emotions – I particularly loved the banter and the scenes between the main couple. It’s also got plenty of smexy and sizzling scenes which the author excels at.

Recommended for readers of romantic suspense who enjoy a read which contains some sexy and explicit scenes.

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

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Connect with the Author

http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/lucyfelthousewriter/

 

*REVIEW* ~ Waking for Winter (Philadelphia Coven Chronicles #4), by Katherine McIntyre

#paranormal #romance #urbanfantasy

Blurb

The Philadelphia Coven has thwarted the Order of the Serpent’s every attempt to destroy their city only to draw out the scariest nightmare from the Otherworld, the Caoranach. One of the Coven’s own, Cami Akiyama, has already met this creature—the very monster who tortured her, branding her with a mark. Given Cami’s history with the big bad, the Coven leader assigns her a bodyguard, none other than the gorgeous and lethal necromancer, Dante Martinez, the ex-boyfriend she disappeared on years ago. One conversation confirms the spark between them never died, and based on the way Dante flirts, he won’t allow that flame to extinguish out without a fight.

No one has ever compared to Dante and the incendiary passion he inspired in her, but the Caoranach broke her—Cami’s too damaged for any sort of relationship. Not like that stops him. If anything, he fights harder for the memories of a love that kept her sane on the bleakest nights. And despite every effort to distance, she finds herself falling for him all over again. Except the Caoranach isn’t finished with her—the branded mark holds the secret to the city’s destruction or salvation, and Cami stands in the center of the storm.

My Review ~ 5 stars

Fast Paced and Passionate Second Chance Romance

Waking for Winter is a fast paced and passionate second chance romance. It contains one damaged Banshee who is not going down without a fight and a Necromancer who will give anything to keep her alive and make her his. It is the fourth and final instalment in the author’s Philadelphia Coven urban fantasy series which combines kick-ass scenes and heated encounters.

The Order of the Serpent has been the proverbial thorn in the side of the Coven, the organisation dedicated to prevent creatures from the Otherworld wreaking havoc and destruction on their city and humanity. The Order’s actions have drawn out the nightmare of the Caoranach, a creature intent on destroying the city. Cami has had the misfortune to have been held captive by this creature and bears both mental and physical scars, the latter in the form of the Caoranach’s mark. Cami is in an impossible situation – she is hell-bent on destroying her nemesis but fears the mark bestowed on her has formed an unwelcome bond with her enemy, enabling the creature to use her as a weapon against those whom she loves. Once Cami’s mark becomes known to the Coven, the necromancer Dante, whom Cami walked out on years ago is assigned to protect her.

Cami is a heroine whom I was rooting for from the off. She is so stong when the chips are down despite havng to cope with PTSD from her time in captivity. Her actions in the novel and in the past are motivated by protecting those whom she cares about and I admired how she put the welfare of others before her own, even if to do so risks her heart and soul. Dante, who we met earlier in the series, comes across as a bit of a man-whore, but we soon learn that this is just a front. Tasked with protecting Cami, the couple are forced into close proximity and the feelings they once had for each other soon resurface.

Yet Cami is adamant that she will not re-kindle their relationship and as the tale unfolds we learn her reasons for this. However, Dante is extremely persistent and as the danger increases so soes the passion! Brought together once again in the shadow of the death and destruction threated by the Caoranach will Cami and Dante reunite or even survive? I loved the story from beginning to the end.

Recommended for lovers of fast-paced and sexy urban fantasy.

Reviviewed 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.com

Author Links

Website: http://www.katherine-mcintyre.com

Tumblr: http://www.booksteacoffee.tumblr.com

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kmcintyremt

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kmcintyreauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pixierants

*REVIEW* ~ Blaire Dark Romance (Part 1), by Anita Gray

#darkromance #suspense #psychological #bdsm

Book Blurb

BLAIRE: part 1 in the Dark Romance Series

Bought. Conditioned.

My name is Blaire. I’m head of security to a man who controls the Russian underworld in Europe. His name is Maksim and he’s my master. He bought me ten years ago and conditioned me with brutality to worship and protect him. And I have protected him. I’ve slain everyone who has tried to do him harm. Everyone but a man he loans me to; a man who threatens to break me and everything I believe in.

You’re going to need a strong stomach and a strong heart to follow my story, because take my word for it, it’s no fairy tale.

My Review

Totally Amazing Dark Read! – 5 stars

What can I say? I was GLUED to this AMAZING dark, psychological read. I am a self-confessed book whore when it comes to dark  reads and I put this up there amongst the best. It has an original plot line and in Blaire and Charlie the author has created a truly awesome couple – their relationship is complex and intense and the scenes between them range from deliciously dark to sweet. I need to point out that it contains some brutal scenes of violence, physical and sexual in the book (dubious and non consent, bdsm, torture and abuse) which are not for the faint hearted. 

Blaire is one of the most kick-ass and lethal females I have come across of late yet she is so vulnerable. I wept for her as the plot unfolded and little by little we leared about her history and Maskim’s role in it. The way the author drip feeds this information adds to the suspense and I was gob smacked when I learned about her past.

I ADORED Charlie – just what is his game? What hold does he have over Maskim? Can Charlie protect Blaire or is he just exploiting her too? Will Blaire overcome Maskim’s conditioning or is it too ingrained in her psyche? Will Charlie succeed in breaking her hard exterior to reveal the woman beneath and how will this impact on her? Will his kindness save her or lead to her destruction? I was fascinated with the psychology of the relationships in his book and if you love dark romance as much as I’d encourage you do add it to your ‘to read pile.’ I’m relieved that part 2 of Blaire’s story is out at the end of this month so that I can see what happens next.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  Amazon US

Connect with the Author

https://www.facebook.com/AnitaGrayAuthor/

http://anitagrayauthor.wixsite.com/anitagrayauthor

*ARC REVIEW* ~ The Divinity Bureau, by Tessa Clare

#newadult #dystopian #romance

Blurb

The Hunger Games meets Romeo and Juliet in a stunning debut about a forbidden romance between a young activist and a government employee for a corrupt bureau that controls the population by deciding who lives and who dies.

Roman Irvine is a disgruntled IT Technician for the Divinity Bureau, a government agency that uses random selection to decide who lives and who dies. In a world where overpopulation has lead to pollution, a crippled economy, and a world in crisis, he’s accepted the bureau’s activities as a necessity… until he meets April McIntyre.

April has every reason to be suspicious of Roman. He works for the Divinity Bureau, which sent her father to an early grave. But he’s also sweet and loyal, and unbeknownst to her, he saved her life. As Roman and April fall deeper in love, the deeper they’re thrust into the politics of deciding who lives and who dies. Someone wants April dead. And the bureau’s process of random selection may not be so random after all…

My Review – 5 stars

Super Dystopian Romance 

The Divinity Bureau is a page-turning New Adult read, full of danger, suspense and romance. It has a thought provoking plot, with well-rounded and believable characters, which kept my interest throughout.

In the novel science has found a way to render the lucky few who can afford it immortal. The ensuing overpopulation has resulted in an environmental and economic catastrophe where there are huge divisions in society. To manage the population the government has set up the Divinity Bureau, an organisation which decides by random selection who can live or die. Although this is brutal Roman, an IT Technician for the Bureau, has accepted it as a necessary evil. However, he inadvertently discovers evidence that the selection is not as random as he believes, a discovery that will change his life and that of another…

Roman’s actions save the life of April, a young woman of privilege, whose own father was selected for death. Their growing friendship and romance, against the backdrop of growing civil unrest, is a sweet one. It is also full of danger and suspense as both Roman and April find themselves under threat, a threat that for April may result in her death. I enjoyed how their relationship develops and how they come to empathise with each other despite their differences in social standing and personalities. I appreciated how the author slowly revealed the secrets at play and the motivation behind the threat that hangs over April, which made for a page-turning read.

Roman is an out an out geek, but clearly a good guy and his actions are honourable throughout, even if he is less than truthful with April. He has a lot to lose and must tread carefully, lest he lose all he has achieved. Can he step up to the mark, reveal all that is rotten at the heart of the Bureau, save his skin and protect April in the process? It is a tall order and I was totally gripped at how the story develops!

April is a young woman who wears her heart on her sleeve and will not shy away telling it like it is – a character trait that has got her into a lot of trouble in the past. She is nonetheless a poweful individual, due to her family background. When she discovers exactly what and who she is up against, she must re-evaluate her close relationships, including that with Roman, and the couple must decide where their loyalties lie.

I don’t want to say any more about the characters and plot, except to say that it’s a super dystopian read. I would love to see other books set in this world. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that an ARC 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

https://www.facebook.com/tessaclareofficial/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16900628.Tessa_Clare

*ARC REVIEW* ~ The Great Escape (Dilbury Village #2), by Charlotte Fallowfield

#romanticcomedy #humour #chicklit #contemporaryromance

Blurb

A tropical beach paradise in Mexico was the last place Georgie Basset expected her decimated heart to be jump-started again, not after she’d been jilted the year before by spotted Weston Argent jogging along the beach, all bronzed with ripped muscles like some Greek God out of a modern day Baywatch scene, she nearly choked on her cocktail. She knew immediately she was in trouble, she’d never reacted so strongly to a man on first glance.

However, after a disastrous first date with him, she headed back home to Dilbury, resigned to never seeing him again. That is, until Weston turned up unexpectedly at her dog grooming parlour with Bertie the French bulldog, a species she had a real weakness for. She couldn’t help but wonder if fate was playing a helping hand. But each time she saw him, their encounters never went smoothly, resulting in some mortifying and hilarious escapades. Despite their undeniable attraction, there was something about Weston that she couldn’t quite put her finger on, something that concerned her.

When the truth finally came to light, Georgie was convinced that all men were dogs, except she knew that was an insult to dogkind. Ever the meddler, her best friend, Abbie, intervened, knowing in her heart that despite what had happened, Weston was full of good intentions, and was undoubtedly Georgie’s Prince Charming.

The question remained, could he convince Georgie of that, or would he forever remain in the dog house?

While The Great Escape is a standalone story, it’s the second in the Dilbury Village series of romantic comedy novels. All of them will be set in the quaint fictitious English hamlet in the Shropshire countryside, but feature a different village couples’ story.

Warning, if you are of a sensitive disposition when it comes to toilet humour, then the Dilbury Village series may not be for you!

Charlotte Fallowfield’s novels have hit #1 category bestseller charts internationally for Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy, and Humour. Her alter-ego, C.J. Fallowfield, has also hit #1 category bestseller charts internationally for Humorous Erotica, and Romance (English), multiple times.

My Review

A Riotous Read ~ 5 stars

Oh my giddy aunt! If you love rip-roaring laugh-out-loud reads which pair hapless but lovable heroes and heroines then do yourself a HUGE favour –  get your mitts on Charlotte Fallowfield’s romantic comedy The Great Escape. I also loved the previous book, Never The Bride (Abbie’s story), and I really enjoyed revisiting Dilbury (a fictitious  Shropshire village) and being reunited with its larger than life characters, where there is never a dull moment. The humour is very British throughout and #turdgate makes a number of hilarious reappearances – you will need to read the previous novel to appreciate the reference!

The central romance, between Georgie and Weston is a delight to read. Georgie  has been sworn off men since her fiancé cheated on her and understandably has major trust issues. When, on her hols, she unexpectedly encounters the uber attractive sex god that is Weston, she is overcome with unfamiliar lust! They embark on what is probably the most hilarious (and disastrous) first date I’ve ever read, before Weston returns to the UK. Georgie thinks that will be the last she sees of him. However, fate and Weston have other plans and he eventually turns up, dog in hand, seeking her company and her dog grooming expertise. 😉

Their relationship goes from strength to strength but not before there are a series of side splitting and unexpected mishaps. Weston is very secretive about his life. Can Georgie trust him? What is he is hiding and is it a threat to their HEA? Georgie finds herself falling for him hard, but will she be able to forgive him when his past comes to light? I was dying to find out even as I laughed at their antics. The read also ripped my emotions to shreds as the story unfolds and it is fortunate that Georgie has such a close knit group of friends, Abbie, Charlie and Deirdre, who are there for her when she needs them.

A TOP READ, recommended for lovers of irrepressibly funny romcoms.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note an ARC of this book was sent to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK Amazon US

Connect with the Author

ttps://www.facebook.com/Charlottefallowfield.author

http://cjfallowfield.co.uk/charlotte-fallowfield

*ARC REVIEW* ~ A Scarlet Woman (The Fitzgeralds of Dublin, #1) by Lorna Peel

#historicalromance #victorianromance

Book Blurb

Can Isobel leave her past behind and allow Will to show her she is worthy of his love? 

Dublin, Ireland, 1880. Tired of treating rich hypochondriacs, Dr Will Fitzgerald left his father’s medical practice and his home on Merrion Square to live and practice medicine in the Liberties. His parents were appalled and his fiancée broke off their engagement. But when Will spends a night in a brothel on the eve of his best friend’s wedding, little does he know that the scarred and disgraced young woman he meets there will alter the course of his life.

Isobel Stevens was schooled to be a lady, but a seduction put an end to all her father’s hopes for her. Disowned, she left Co Galway for Dublin and fell into prostitution. On the advice of a handsome young doctor, she leaves the brothel and enters domestic service. But can Isobel escape her past and adapt to life and the chance of love on Merrion Square? Or will she always be seen as a scarlet woman?

My Review ~ 5 stars

Bewitching Victorian Romance

In Lorna Peel’s latest novel the lives of a fallen woman and an idealistic young doctor become unexpectedly intertwined after they meet in the most inauspicious of settings, a brothel. Their ensuing relationship  challenges both their own future and  society’s mores. It is a heartfelt and bewitching read, which transported me to the past as I became totally immersed in Isobel and Will’s lives. Although at times it brought a tear to my eye, the book also contains some humorous scenes. A predominently sweet romance, it  has some frank sex scenes.

The read explores the double standards between men and women, specifically the hypocrisy when it came to sexual relations. Isobel is regarded as a fallen woman, a woman who by modern sensibilities, had simply been unfortunate to have been seduced and left high and dry by a man. This event has had a huge impact on her life, reducing her to poverty which called for desperate measures. The book also focuses on the differences between the lives of domestic servants and those ‘above stairs’, who view themselves as their betters. I enjoyed how the author explored these themes and also how she delved into the underbelly of Dublin and the sexual preledictions common amongst all classes.

Will is a wonderful hero – principled, caring and non-judgemental. He refuses his father’s offer to work alongside him in his practice, prefering instead to set up on his own in a less salubrious part of the city where his talents are sorely needed. The advice he gives to Isobel- to leave her life of vice, she takes to heart and she applies for a position as a domestic. Imagine the surprise of the couple when their paths once again  cross. Relations between servants and their social superiors are frowned upon however and they begin a touching friendship, gradually revealing themselves to one aonother and becoming ever closer. Their romance is a slow burn but when the couple reveal their feelings for one another there are some scorching scenes.

Isobel is unwilling to commit herself as she has been let down brutally in the pasr and fears that she is not good enough for Will. Will thought he would never love again after his fiancée threw him over, yet once he realises he has fallen for Isobel nothing will stand in his way. I just LOVED how determined he is to make her his. However, he did not bank on Isobels’s reluctance to commit and also how others react to their relationship. Also luck is not on their side as a number of obstacles from their respective pasts get in the way of their HEA! I wanted to tear  my hair out at times! Can Will persuade Isobel that her past doesn’t mater to him and make her his? Can Isobel escape the shame of her past? Can Will’s family accept her as a future wife for Will?

All in all a stellar read, one of my favourite from this author yet.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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

Purchase Links