*ARC REVIEW* ~Trailblazer (Verdant String #3), by Michelle Diener

#spaceopera #scifiromance #suspense

 

Book Blurb

He’s on a mission . . .
She’s running for her life . . .
And if they get off-planet alive, she’ll have to trust he won’t reveal her darkest secret.

Tally Riva is not what she seems, and even she’s not happy about it. Infected, invaded, she’s not quite sure how to describe it, but on a disastrous mission to a ghost ship, something burrowed its way into her body. Into her mind.

When her commander decides the best cure for what he thinks is Tally’s trauma is to send her on the famous Veltos Trail, Tally goes without revealing what’s really behind her mental anguish. Anything to be seen as normal again, anything to ignore what she’s afraid is happening to her.

But Veltos isn’t the safe place it seems. The chosen military personnel lucky enough to be offered the chance to walk the Trail are supposed to be the only people on Veltos. But Ben Guthrie, a captain in Arkhoran Special Forces, knows they’re not. He and his team have been on Veltos for a month already, tracking suspicious enemy activity, and he’s gone undercover on the Trail in search of a satellite his superiors are sure has been shot down.

When Ben’s worst fears become reality, and they find themselves hunted by a cunning enemy through the thick forests of Veltos, Tally and Ben fight together to survive. And Tally has to decide if accepting the changes inside her will save them both, or be her doom.

TRAILBLAZER is a standalone novel, and the third full length book set in the world of the Verdant String.

Books in the series are: Interference & Insurgency (Two Novellas of the Verdant String), Breakaway, Breakeven, Trailblazer.

My Review – 5 stars

Suspenseful and adventure packed

This is an expertly crafted and suspenseful read with plenty of action and also a romance for the central character Tally. I was so engrossed in the story that after a while I felt as if I was living and breathing alongside Tally and her fellow trail walkers on the planet Veltos where much of the book is set. The story worked well for me as a standalone, although I feel that if I had read the earlier books in the series they would have only added to my enjoyment.

I loved Tally the central character. She is one strong woman despite the trauma she has recently endured of being the sole survivor on a ghost ship, where an alien entity has invaded her body and mind. This makes her vulnerable as she finds herself at war with herself. For although whatever it is that has burrowed inside her is determined to protect her, its host, from harm, she is sometimes compelled to act in ways that are at odds with her free will.

Sent on the Veltos trail to aid her recovery from what was a disastrous mission, she is at pains to conceal what has taken up residence inside her and her oftentimes new abilities. However, she finds it increasingly difficult to keep her secret from fellow trail members as they find themselves the quarry of an enemy who is stalking them. It is especially difficult to hide the truth from Ben Guthrie, a member of the special forces who is on a mission to find out what really is going on on Veltos. Ben too is a strong character and a worthy mate for Tally.

I found the whole premise of the book, combined with the central characters of Tally and Ben and the secondary characters, made for a cracking scifi adventure. The read has plenty of tension and suspense as the plot develops and truths reveal themselves. I was on pins with how far Tally could control the entity inside her and how others would react when and if its presence was revealed. and also whether they would survive the enemy stalking them.

Thoroughly recommended for lovers of sci-fi and space opera who also love romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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

Purchase Links

Amazon UK Amazon US

Connect with the Author

http://www.michellediener.com/
https://www.facebook.com/michelle.diener.author/

Review~The Mercenary (The Araloka Chronicles Book 1), by Petra Landon

#spaceopera #sci-fi #romance #interspeciesromance

Book Blurb

2018 RONE award finalist for Sci-Fi / Time Travel

She’s a prisoner of the Imperial Forces. He’s a nomad with a mercenary army. Can a girl’s desperate gamble and a fierce warrior’s love turn the tide of war and rewrite the destiny of their corner of the galaxy?

In a distant corner of the galaxy, Sector Araloka burns in the flames of a deadly war. The Budheya people are one of the worst affected.

Saakshi
Imprisoned by the Ketaari Imperial Forces, a young Budheya rebel is sent to a distant space station to work in an alehouse. For a girl who has known only hardship in her short life, things could be worse. Until an old foe walks into the alehouse.

Zoran
Zoran is Hadari’Kor – notoriously fierce mercenaries who only fight for hire. Drawn to a weary-eyed server girl, Zoran is forced to confront age-old traditions and question his role in the war.

The Rebel & The Mercenary
Alone, friendless and far from home, Saakshi makes a desperate gamble to trust an enigmatic stranger whose hot gaze haunts her dreams. The echoes of this unlikely alliance reverberate across the sector. As a relentless enemy hunts Saakshi, Zoran must fight with everything in his arsenal to protect her. When passion ignites amidst the embers of a smoldering war, will a warrior’s quest for justice bring a mighty Empire to its knees …

Author’s Note : A spirited and resilient rebel, a fierce warrior with a mighty heart, a fiery passion that flares amidst the debris of a deadly war and a love that will alter the fate of an entire quadrant.

This is a standalone story that sets the scene for The Araloka Chronicles – a collection of SciFi Romance tales with Space Opera undertones.

My Review

Fantastic start to a new series – 5 stars

I so loved this! I adore sci-fi romances, especially when they involve inter species relationships. I thoroughly enjoyed the pairing of Saakshi and Zoran, the rebel and the mercenary – they are perfect for each other but have many obstacles to overcome before they can secure their HEA.

The plot centres on their romance but it also introduces us to the politics and the wider issues at play. The narrative contains some great world building and I enjoyed learning about the various personalities and factions within the Alliance and the Imperial Forces, the later who are holding Saakshi prisoner and who have control over her destiny. The reader is also introduced to other characters who will no doubt have a role to play in future instalments which I am eager to read.

Saakshi is a strong woman who has gone through a lot and she clearly needs protecting from an enemy who does not have her wellbeing at heart. Zoran is truly an honourable male and Saakshi is one lucky girl indeed to have him on her side as a knight in shining armour. I enjoyed the interplay between the couple for although Zoran is a very dominant male he ultimately takes great care to allow Saakshi the space to determine her own future.

Although the romance is a sweet one there are a number of sizzling scenes and also ones containing violence and threats of violence as Saakshi seeks to escape from an old foe who has a score to settle with her. Zoran will have to question his role as mercenary and decide what is important to him. Can he protect Saakshi? Will they have a future together? What impact will his actions have on the political power balance? Will Saakshi ever be able to return to her home planet?

All in all a fabulous read for fans of sci-fi romance, especially those who enjoy sweeping space operas.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Amazon UK

Amazon US

http://petralandon.com/

*REVIEW* ~ Paris Ever After: A Novel, by K.S.R. Burns

#literary #romance #paris #france #adventure

Blurb

Can Amy’s rocky start in Paris turn into a happy ever after?

Amy didn’t realize how stale her life was until she jetted off to Paris without telling a soul—not even her husband—and had the adventure of a lifetime. Now as she tries to establish herself in the City of Light, she finds that despite a fun (and quirky) group of friends and the ability to indulge in French pastries whenever she wants, reinventing her life is much harder than she imagined.

Then on Amy’s thirtieth birthday, two unexpected visitors leave her wondering if she will soon be saying au revoir to Paris and the new life she’s struggled to build. Her estranged husband, Will, shows up—but is he interested in reconciliation or separation? And a young woman who arrives on Amy’s doorstep unleashes chaos that could push Amy out into the street.

As Amy’s Parisian dream starts to fall apart, she must decide: return to the stability of Will and Phoenix (if that’s even still an option) or forge her way forward in Paris? Amid secrets and surprises, set in enchanting gardens, cozy cafés, and glittering Parisian streets, Amy must choose between two very different worlds. And each has a claim on her heart.

My Review

Enchanting and Quirky Parisian Adventure – ***** 5 stars

I just ADORED this enchanting and quirky novel by K.S.R. Burns. As a self-confessed Francophile – I fell in love with the city, French people and culture during student exchange visits in my teenage years, I inhaled the book with gusto. Once again I was able to soak up the sights, sounds and culinary delights of this great city, which the author describes with such aplomb.  I very much enjoyed accompanying the protagonist Amy on her Parisian adventure, identifying with her quest to define and find herself.

Although I haven’t read the first book in the series, The Paris Effect, I found it fairly straightforward to  get up to speed on Amy’s backstory – how she had left her husband and her stale marriage in the US and jetted off to France, and her current dilemma (and WHAT a dilemma it is)!  Amy has found out that she is expecting her estranged husband’s baby and although her eclectic circle of new friends in Paris know of the forthcoming happy event she (wait for it) has neglected to inform her husband of the news…

When the man himself unexpectedly appears Amy has to decide exactly what she wants out of life. Can she bear to leave Paris, where she feels she has truly regained her joie de vivre? Will she do what many think is ‘the right thing’ and try and make a go of her marriage for the sake of her baby? Has her husband changed from the man he was before she left him? Is  reconciliation on the cards? Can she find romance in the city of Love?

There are some unexpected twists and turns as the very pregnant and hormonal Amy wrestles with this moral dilemma, encouraged and thwarted by events which occur in her close circle of friends. Throw in the appearance of a young woman whose actions may well lead to Amy being rendered homeless and a series of unforeseen events, deception, unexpected home truths and a combination of heartfelt and sometimes hilarious scenes, the novel is a brilliant read. I loved the author’s writing style, which pulled me in to the story and the environs of Paris. The depictions of both the city and its inhabitants are superbly done and I found the characterisations to be top notch – reflecting very real, albeit quirky, characters, all (including Amy) with very real flaws, making them more endearing to the reader.

If you are after a thought provoking, entertaining and quirky read with a real French flavour you will want to get hold of this book now.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38322706-paris-ever-after?from_search=true

Connect with the Author

http://ksrburns.com/

https://www.facebook.com/KSRBurns

Twitter

*BLOG TOUR* ~ Mistress of the Air, by S. Nano (includes author post, extract and giveaway)

On Airships

Mistress Of The Air is a comic, Steampunk, erotic adventure. It features Edwardian dominatrix Lady Sally Rudston-Chichester and her airship, ‘The Corseted Domme’. Lady Sally travels across the Empires of Europe having adventures and dropping in on her aristocratic relatives for afternoon tea.

Lady Sally’s airship is a crucial part of the story. I love airships. I think it’s the absurdity of them that appeals to me. Really, you send something up into the sky powered by hundreds of cubic feet of explosive gas – it’s a disaster waiting to happen! But, having said that, airships are so cool and fun that you can see why the Steampunk genre has embraced them. They are also sexy. They are like giant phalluses in the sky, a feature I make use of in my book. They are a god-send to a writer of erotica wanting to have a bit of fun.

Lady Sally’s dirigible (I love that word!) is actually based on a real airship, the R100. Where I used to work (in the local archive) there was a collection of documents and photographs about the R100 which was built in the 1920s at an airship station in Howden in the East Riding of Yorkshire close to where I live. I used these as my inspiration for ‘The Corseted Domme’.

In fact, the descriptions of Lady Sally’s airship are pretty realistic. Duralumin was an aluminium alloy used in airship construction. The geodetic frame of ‘The Corseted Domme’ was a type of construction for airships and aircraft that using a form of spirally crossing basket weave to improve load bearings. Airships were vast, their living quarters designed for long distance travel.

The R100 and R101 were part of a programme to develop civil airships for long service routes. The R100 did a test flight taking it to Canada. The programme came to an ignominious end when the R101 crashed in France in 1930 on its maiden test flight.

What a shame! How exciting it would be to have a sky filled with airships like a Steampunk novel.

Of course, ‘The Corseted Domme’ is the largest and fastest dirigible ever to be built, reaching speeds of 120mph. And she needs that, because Lady Sally has a habit of upsetting people and getting into trouble so she has to make a few hurried escapes.

Be warned. Mistress Of The Air contains wild escapades, kinky BDSM, dastardly devices, explosions, nice cups of teas and the sleekest, sexiest airship on earth. I hope you’ll join Lady Sally for the ride!

Book Blurb

Mistress of the Air is a Comic, Steampunk, Erotic Adventure.

Lady Sally Rudston-Chichester owns a brass mine in Zanzibar, a Lapsang Souchong tea plantation in China, a rubber tree farm in Malaysia, trunk loads of corsetry, and the country’s largest collection of antique whips and floggers.

Larger than life, and itching to find new and inventive ways to punish her submissive gentlemen, the Edwardian dominatrix has a vision. Embracing the spirit of the new age of aviation, she embarks on a series of adventures on her own airship, The Corseted Domme, with her transvestite maid, Victoria, her airship pilot, Captain Wyndham, and her automaton sex toy, Borghild.

A select group of submissive gentlemen, consisting of a duke, bishop, lawyer and banker, is invited to join Lady Sally so she can try out her new dastardly devices and sex toys on them. She whips, spanks and punishes her way across the Empires of Europe, dropping off to visit her aristocratic relatives and friends for afternoon tea.

But Lady Sally’s journey is not uneventful. War is threatening to break out and the Ministry of Aviation want to commandeer her airship for the war effort. And when The Corseted Domme has a crash landing, Lady Sally realises there is a stowaway on board intent on sabotaging her airship.

There will be wild escapades, kinky BDSM, dastardly devices, explosions and nice cups of tea.

Buy links

Ebook

Amazon US (Kindle):    Amazon UK (Kindle):    Barnes and Noble:    Kobo:

Print

Amazon US (print):

Amazon UK (print):

Create space/eXcessica (print):

Book extract

“I am thrilled. It’s wonderful to see my project come to its fruition. I take it everything is ready for the maiden flight of my airship.”

“Yes, Lady Sally,” replied Wyndham, “she’s ready. She’s a magnificent machine; I’m convinced your ladyship will be impressed by her.”

“I don’t doubt that, captain, after all the interior fittings have been made to my exacting specification and design.”

“I see you’ve brought your luggage, madam,” said Wyndham, gesturing towards the charabanc laden with trunks.

“Oh, but that is merely one or two trifles, my corsetry and some of my antique whips and canes. I have engaged the services of several horse and carts for the remainder of my wardrobe, and the heavier bondage and domination equipment is already installed. My maid has spent several weeks packing for my escapade, haven’t you Victoria?”

“Oh, yes madam, I certainly have!”

“Come Victoria, don’t pretend it hasn’t been anything but a labour of love for your mistress.”

Victoria’s wistful look conveyed that it had indeed been just that.

“Follow me Lady Sally,” said Wyndham, leading the way. “Barnes-Wallis is going to give you a tour of the airship and explain the technique of its construction. It uses many unique materials and design features, but he’s the expert on that.”

As they entered the shed Lady Sally gasped. She had a vision of how her dirigible might look, of course, but her breath was taken away by the sheer scale and magnificence of her creation. The airship was the size of an ocean liner and dwarfed the diminutive figures as they stood on the ground gazing up in awe at the vast expanse of linen fabric enclosing the gas bags and duralumin frame. Barnes-Wallis led them onto the walkways from which they could view the intricate internal structure.

Now in his element, the normally diffident Barnes-Wallis began his enthusiastic explication of the construction of the airship.

“Each transverse frame consists of a hard girder in the form of a stiff, sixteen-sided polygon with the flats at top and bottom; this massive hard girder is twenty-seven inches deep and up to a hundred and thirty feet in diameter. Sixteen steel cables penetrate the centre of the polygon to the corner points, bracing the polygonal girder against deflections and making it erect….”

“… And, of course, erect girders are essential to the structure, are they not?”

“… One half of the transverse frame is divided by a vertical plane passing though the axis of the ship, consisting of a stiff arched rib with oiled ends that are free to slip towards each other, and this arched rib is braced by eight radial wires, which go flaccid through the deflection of the arched rib under the applied loads. Normally four or five wires remain in tension….

“And how have you calculated the torsional load bearing capacity of my airship?”

“The forces and bending movements in the members are calculated by the solution of a lengthy simultaneous equation containing up to seven unknown quantities.  In the solution, we had to find the correct compression force for the radial wires to achieve the required load bearing. This geodetic type of construction for the airframe makes use of a space frame formed from a spirally crossing basket-weave of load bearing erect members. The principle is that two geodesic arcs can be drawn to intersect on a curving surface in a manner that the torsional load on each, cancels out the other….

“… Well that is simply amazing,” commented Lady Sally, “but perhaps I ought to take a look at the living quarters now…”

“… but I’d love to show you my calculations, your ladyship…” called Barnes-Wallis waving a wad of foolscap sheets with closely pencilled figures at the three receding figures.

“Oh, fascinating I’m sure,” she called back, “but I’ve such a busy day ahead of me and I ought to be moving on.”

Captain Wyndham smiled as Victoria bustled Lady Sally away.

“He’s a genius you know. From my knowledge of aeronautical design, I know the construction of this airship is truly remarkable.”

“Indeed, I chose him for his brilliance in structural engineering, captain, though I must confess the ‘how’ is not always my strong point. I merely tell people what I want and they do it for me… isn’t that so Victoria?”

“Oh yes, madam, indubitably, yes.”

About the author

Nano is an author of erotic stories with dark and exotic content in fantasy, paranormal or historical settings, often drawing on the themes of female supremacy, BDSM and fetish but with a seam of quirky humour running through them as well. His first full-length erotic novel, ‘Adventures in Fetishland’, a BDSM/fetish re-invention of Alice in Wonderland, was published by Xcite Books. His short stories and novellas have been published by Xcite Books, House of Erotica, Forbidden Fiction, Coming Together and Greenwoman Publishing.

His second novel, ‘Mistress Of The Air’ was published by eXcessica on 21st April 2017.

Web site: www.slavenano.co.uk/writing

Blog: www.slavenano.co.uk/blog

Facebook (Nano Vaslen): http://www.facebook.com/nano.vaslen

Mistress Of The Air facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Mistress-Of-The-Air-1671491076492099/

Pinterest: http://uk.pinterest.com/nanovaslen/

Amazon UK author profile:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B005EBU1QI

Amazon US author profile:

https://www.amazon.com/Slave-Nano/e/B005EBU1QI/

Goodreads author profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6828376-slave-nano

*****

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://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/s-nano/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog tour organized by

Writer Marketing Services.

 

 

*REVIEW* ~ Guardian of Paradise, by W.E. Lawrence

#historical #romance #adventure

GOP cover

Blurb

In 1888, Kira Wall, surviving daughter of missionaries swept away in a tsunami, lives a primitive, but enjoyable life with natives on an isolated island in the South Pacific. But her serene world is turned upside down when an Australian merchant ship, commanded by the sinister Captain Darcy Coleman, arrives with an overabundance of modern and lavish goods. Kira suspects ill intent. Chief Ariki refuses to listen to Kira’s warning, forcing her to uncover the real plan of the captain on her own. Unfortunately, she has a distraction. A six-foot tall, blond, and handsome distraction. Trevor Marshall, doctor and botanist, hopes to find exotic plants on the island to research new cures and medicines. He is dedicated to science, but when meeting the strong-willed, beautiful Kira Wall, he’d prefer to spend time researching her—all night.

The captain thwarts Kira’s attempts to call him out at every step, turning the village chief against her. With only Trevor and her best friend Malana by her side, she stalks the captain and his officers through the dense, predator infested jungle, toward the island’s inactive volcano. Frustrated by her failure to reveal the captain’s true intentions, Kira begins to think maybe she’s wrong about everything. Then an explosion and earthquake bigger than anyone on the island has ever seen renews her resolve. Was the blast natural or man-made? She is determined to prove it was the captain’s doing. Kira races against time and the island people’s naivety to stop the captain from destroying her home and killing everyone she loves.

My Review ~ 4.5 stars

Romance and adventure combined!

This historical romance with a difference – far removed from the usual ballrooms and social mores of the time. It is full of adventure and suspense, all set on a beautiful Pacific island in 1888. The novel also contains a powerful social and environmental subtext, drawing attention to the  self-sufficient and honourable way of life of the islanders and the greed and avarice of others not of their world who seek to exploit them and their environment.

Kira, the ‘guardian’ of the title, is the daughter of missionaries who perished when she was very young. She has lived all of her life on the island and is dedicated to protecting the islanders and their way of life. When a merchant ship docks, Kira takes an instant dislike to the ship’s captain, who she is convinced is up to no good. Yet the islanders’ chief sees no reason to doubt the captain’s good intentions and gives him and his men free reign on the island. Increasingly irritated and embarrassed by Kira’s protestations to the contrary, she incurs his displeasure.

At the same time Kira falls for the ship’s doctor and botanist, Trevor. Confused by her growing feelings, she tries to ignore their growing mutual attraction, as she needs to concentrate on thwarting the captain’s plans and not get involved with a man from the outside world, with whom she has no future.

The plot has plenty of adventure and  suspense alongside the romance and also some humour. Will Kira get to the bottom of what the captain’s true intensions are? Will she be able to thwart him before he manages to inflict harm on the island and its inhabitants? How much of a threat is the captain to Kira? Will she be able to guard her heart against her developing feelings for Trevor, an ambitious man not of her world?

The descriptions of the island and the islanders’ way of life are extremely vivid. I enjoyed the character of Kira as a confident woman who can look after herself in the jungle. At the same time this confidence contrasts with her innocence, especially when it comes to dealing with a scoundrel such as the captain. Both Trevor and her friend Malana have her back but it is touch and go what will happen as the plot reaches its conclusion.

Recommended to those who enjoy romance with a heavy dose of adventure.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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

Also see

https://areadersreviewblog.com/2016/08/18/spotlight-guardian-of-paradise-by-w-e-lawrence-includes-excerpt/

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   Amazon US

**REVIEW** The Double by Alison Brodie

It was a great pleasure to be approached by author, Alison Brodie, and be asked to read The Double. I am so very glad that she did. It’s an amazing adventure; a great book to read if you’re planning a holiday or even basking in the sunshine in your garden. Get ready for the most relaxing adventure you’ll experience!

“The luxury of living a lie.”

 

THE DOUBLE

Title: The Double

Author: Alison Brodie

Genre: Women’s fiction, mystery, romance, chick-lit

Date released: January 19th, 2016

Length: 294 pages

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.

Buy Links: Amazon UK & Amazon US

REVIEW ***** (5 star rating)

Alison Brodie’s The Double has it all; from diva Sonita, the rock star, being stalked and threatened, to a gritty, realistic housing estate in Glasgow where nurse Beth is trying to make sense of her life, right through to a kidnapping followed by a luxurious adventure on a billionaire’s yacht on the Côte d’Azur. Meanwhile, Aleksandr, the captain, has had to deal with the effects of a civil war in the Eastern Bloc, and is now fighting to save many children suffering with tuberculosis as medical supplies cannot reach them and warfare is threatening their makeshift hospital site. Yes, if you’re looking for a little drama and mystery in a well-constructed romance story this is perfect for you!

The opening chapter sparks the interest of the reader immediately as we find a seemingly dark character acting secretly and wants Sonita La Cruz dead! This is a dark start for a fun, romance novel, but it captures a sense of fear and suspense from the offset, making the curious reader need to find out what becomes of both parties.

Although written in third person, the reader has an in-depth take on each main character as whole chapters are focussed on one at a time, as we discover their current situations as well as their background. My favourite character has to be Beth, partly for wanting the escape that she is able to have from her average life, and partly as she is the one that takes many risks throughout the story.

Beth is at the point in her life where, even though a mum, she is still young. Her kids are independents now, and aside from her nursing job, all  she has is a selfish man in Andy, and a shabby tower-block flat. Once the initial kidnapping is realised, Beth begins to come round to the idea, choosing to go along with it. I mean, after all, when does she ever feel free; free from routine, free from work, free from Glasgow, free from Andy and his controlling ways. Surely she deserves some luxury and freedom at last. Why not pose as beautiful superstar Sonita La Cruz? Beth begins to think that maybe her dreams could come true, and she doesn’t have to feel so trapped in her life. She adapts quickly and learns how to relax, to enjoy life, rather than stressing about her work, Andy, money, etc.

“This was so different to sunbathing at home. There, she had a tiny balcony, just about big enough for four plastic stools, a bike repair box and a scrawny plant….. In the summer, between five and six in the evening, the sun would touch one corner of the balcony – high up. Desperate for sunshine, she’d stand in her knickers and bra, one foot on a stool, one foot on the railings, her hand holding onto the washing line for support….

… Now, instead of teetering on the edge of a council block in saggy grey knickers, she lay on a cushioned sun-lounger alongside a luxurious pool, on a gorgeous yacht with a champagne re-fuelling depot nearby and an army of uniformed stewards, out of sight, but close at hand, ready to be summoned by the tinkling of a little bell.” (Beth)

That said, it is also clear that Sonita La Cruz is also looking for an escapism. Although a rock star, she is not recording the style of music she favours, she is very much subjected to media attention constantly, and her real feelings lie with being charitable to those, especially children, in need – something that her partner ignores. During the course of the story, ignorant of Beth’s situation, Sonita tries to find a relaxing moment herself, as she keeps her head down low from any threat, and her busy lifestyle.

It is a certain read in particular for the summer and holiday season. And, one of the most exciting and fascinating parts of the story were, for me, the way in which it provides a largely relaxing read despite the dark drama/mystery that lies beneath the surface. I just loved imagining myself to be in Beth’s shoes sunbathing on a luxurious yacht on the Med, blue skies, blue sea, with fine dining and clothes, etc, and not worrying too much about the consequences until I’d have to.

The icing on the cake is the knowledge that Beth is quite aware, certainly as the story progresses, that it is all in the name of charity; in being able to hopefully provide many children with the treatment that they need, during an absolutely crucial time when no one else can! Mix that in with a chance of romance and it is perfect. But will Beth realise where her heart is really at before it’s too late?

If you’d like a book to transport you on a relaxing holiday, with fun, drama and romance The Double is just the one!

A copy of The Double was provided by Alison Brodie in return for a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

You can also check out Alison Brodie’s author bio, along with an excerpt of The Double here.

**REVIEW** ~ Silence of A Stranger, by Elizabeth Bailey

A Romantic Suspense Novella

Blurb

silence of a stranger

Secrets, danger and an enigmatic stranger, a twentieth century mystery romance.
Is Bea’s life more at risk than her disobedient heart?
SILENCE OF A STRANGER
Her car broken down, Bea Russell goes for help and walks straight into hell. Three armed men and no answers. Held captive, strip searched, her dignity in shreds, Bea is horrified when she responds to the attraction of the man who grabbed her out of the dark.
Who is the fugitive Rad? Escaped rapist or spy? No one will talk. Yet Bea is forced to share the danger, fleeing across rough fields in the deep night hours. At a deserted house by the sea, she looks fate in the eye. One wrong move could change her life forever.

My Review

Captivating Romantic Suspense! ***** 

I loved this read, which hooked from the very start! The heroine Bea, fleeing her cheating ex, inadvertently seeks help from three armed and apparently dangerous men doing their utmost to avoid all contact with others. At first she is treated with violence and suspicion and strip searched. Even when deemed no immediate threat, she becomes their captive, as the men fear that to release her will compromise their location. The narrative is gripping and full of danger, mystery and suspense and I loved the romantic element.

As the novella progressed and the tension between Bea and her captors developed, my mind like that if the heroine was full of questions: Who are these men? Who is the dark, attractive and brooding Rad with whom she develops a mutual attraction? Are they escaped criminals? Is the truth something even more complex?

The key elements of both the suspense and romance are excellent and the plot had me guessing throughout. Bea is told nothing by her captors, a terrifying situation. I really admired her spunk as she stands up to them and when it is clear that she cannot easily escape she tries to make the best of a situation which becomes more and more dangerous. She nevertheless goes through the whole gamut of emotions: fear, apprehension, anger, frustration and resignation and most unexpected and disconcerting of all, growing desire for Rad, one of her captors.

Bea desperately tries to come to terms with her feelings for Rad, a character who becomes more mysterious and complex the more she gets to know him. I particularly liked how the author showed the growing sexual tension between the couple. Is Rad the criminal she fears and what if any future could she have with a man who harbours so many secrets and who blows hot and cold?

This read contains some violence and sexual situations, but overall the romantic elements are sweet. I recommend it to readers of romance and romantic suspense who are after a captivating read.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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

Purchase Links

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Author Links

http://www.elizabethbailey.co.uk/

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