~**MY TOP READS OF 2020**~

A Happy New Year wish!

It has certainly been a challenging year for us all across the globe and I do not think I just speak for myself when I say that the I am eternally grateful to the authors who create the wonderful stories and worlds I can escape into. In this post I thought I would highlight my favourite book of the year and then list what I consider my other top reads (in no particular order). As I read a number of different genres I have found it impossible to create a shorter list! 🙂

~**My Top Read of 2020**~

Steel Rose (The Cardinal Winds #1), by Kathryn Ann Kingsley

Must read enemies-to-lovers Steampunk Romance

Enemies-to- lovers romances are my favourite bookish trope and the fact that the story takes place in a dystopian steampunk world just added to my enjoyment of this quirky and hot read which contains moments of humour and some darker themes. I loved the author’s world building – Viktor, aka the East Wind, presides over a communist style society where each gives according to their abilities, for the good of all, contrasting with the society inhabited by Rose and her fellow rebels.

The romance is a slow burn, but when it does ignite it does so in stellar fashion and continues to deliver in terms of hotness! I absolutely adored Viktor the anti-hero/villain – at first he comes over as an unlikeable, albeit fascinating figure – cold, manipulative and controlling, but slowly we learn, as Rose does, that there is a lot more to him…  Rose’s character is a delightful contrast to Viktor – freedom loving and chaotic, wearing her heart very much on her sleeve. Viktor is determined to solve the mystery of this captive rebel pilot. #enemiestolovers #scifi #steampunk #dystopian #villainromance My Review

The Flame and the Blade, by Meredith Hart 

Superb Start to Fantasy Series

I literally inhaled this fantasy debut from author Meredith Wild – I was riveted from beginning to end. It contains adventure, romance, a quest (what fantasy novel would be complete without one?), magic and monsters . Once more the world building is just sublime.

Not only that but the main couple rock!  – Lyria is a woman who knows how to look after herself and wield a sword, and Vethe has  abilities far and above your average spoiled aristocrat, which Lyria initially thinks he is. Although the couple are just made for each other it is not immediately obvious to them. Indeed, their romance is a slow burn and so much the better for it. There are plenty of scenes of danger and suspense which afford the couple numerous opportunites  to get to know each other better and also some humorous moments – the repartee between the couple and their inner dialogues are  superb. #Fantasy #Adventure #Romance My Review

A Wanton Indiscretion (Wild, Wicked and Wanton Book #5), by Natasha Blackthorne

Moving, sensual & erotic – beautifully done

A Wanton Indiscretion, by Natasha Blackthorne, is a thoroughly emotional, sensual and erotic read. It is the 5th instalment in the author’s Wild, Wicked and Wanton series, but can be read as a standalone.

I  adored that Isaac and Abigail are such opposites when it comes to their characters: Isaac is a handsome philanderer, notorious for his affairs and reviled by many in society despite his wealth. Abigail is a respectable governess who has eschewed marriage and her own children, to instead support her brothers through her job as a governess, their own parents long gone. The scene where Isaac and Abigail first met is pure perfection. I enjoyed reading how single minded Isaac was in his pursuit of Abigail as he slowly breaks down her defences. Will he win this game of seduction and if he does what next for them both? Society’s expectations weigh heavily on them and I was eager for them to find a satisfactory resolution. Abigail is unlike any other woman Isaac has met and his obsession grows to an extent that he must have her, whatever the repercussions… #HistoricalRomance #EroticRomance #AmericanHistoricalRomance My Review

Salvation: Paranormal Angel Romance (Realm of Flame and Shadow, book 3), Christina Phillips

Captivating Enemies to Lovers Romance

I make no secret that the enemies to lovers trope is one of my favourites when it comes to romance and Christina Phillips delivers in spades with Salvation, book 3 in the Realm of Flame and Shadow series. This super read has a plot containing secrets, danger and deception and a hero and heroine who kept me entertained throughout with their lively  banter and sizzling lovemaking scenes. Although the book includes characters who feature in the earlier books (whom I loved meeting again), it works perfectly well as a standalone, Nate and Isabella’s relationship being at its core. #ParanormalRomance #Angels #Demons #SciFi My Review

Bright Lies, by AA Abbott

Gritty and realistic 

Well done AA Abbott for penning this thoroughly engaging read. It is both gritty and realistic, not only in how it portrays the sensitive issues of abuse, but also the difficulties faced by those who are compelled through one reason or another to live on the streets.

Emily’s relationship with her step-father David is toxic almost from the off, and finally his inappropriate actions cause her to flee from her wealthy home, finding herself on the streets in the heart of Birmingham. It is here  she meets Jack, who has his own difficult past to cope with. #pstchologicalthriller My Review

Moth (Dragon Triad Duet #1), Lana Sky

Twisty and Suspenseful Perfection 

Lana Sky has penned yet another addictive read in Moth, the first of her Dragon Triad duet. This Romantic Suspense has a deliciously dark and sexy as f*** anti-hero in the form of Rafe, a Triad enforcer and broken bookish Hannah, the heroine, who hides from the world. When their paths cross, something starts to give in both of them, their lives becoming ever more entwined despite their differences: Rafe seeks to torment Hannah and Hannah finds herself drawn to him despite the danger he represents. I found the title of the book perfect, conjuring up the image of the proverbial moth circling the flame, knowing that it may get hurt but powerless to resist the attraction. #RomanticSuspense #New Adult #Interracial My Review

Search and Rescue, A Contemporary Reverse Harem Romance (The Dreadnoughts #1), by Lucy Felthouse

Fabulous start to series 

This action packed Reverse Harem by Lucy Felthouse is a fab start to her new series The Dreadnoughts. It contains Kim, a confident and feisty heroine, four gorgeous ex Special Ops –Jason, Aiden, Taylor and Joshua and an astonishing discovery that took me, the reader, completely by surprise!

The read kicks off when the four guys embark on a retrieval mission to a remote Scottish island. They soon encounter a lot more than they bargained for after being engulfed by a very special energy, and find it difficult to walk away from their mission once it is accomplished. Kim is a woman who is not used to relying on others and I loved how she slowly grows to trust her rescuers as the plot unravels. #reverseharem #adventure #romance #superpowers My Review

A Governess should never…. Tempt a Prizefighter (The Governess Chronicles #1), by Emily Windsor

A beautifully crafted and uplifting romance 

I  loved this uplifting Regency Romance, the first book in Emily Windsor’s new series, The Governess Chronicles. It’s warm, witty and sensual and the hero and heroine, are just so perfect for each other, despite initially appearing to have so very little in common.

The ex-prizefighter Seth, a single parent, is finding it extraordinarily difficult to find a suitable governess for his daughter. In steps Matilda, a member of the ton who is masquerading as a governess to escape the nefarious plans of her guardian. Despite appearing to be his opposite in every way and having no experience for the post, he employs her nonetheless. I was smitten with him from this moment on! #Sensual #Regency #Romance My Review

Sin of Silence (Sinner’s Empire #1), Nikita Slater

Amazing mafia romance 

Sin of Silence, the new Romantic Suspense from Nikita Slater  is a super start to a new series. I was hooked on the premise of the book as soon as I had read the blurb and glued to my Kindle throughout. Mafia romances are amongst my favourite reads and this is a powerful read, containing a strong, principled heroine and a brute of an anti-hero.

After her abduction by mafia enforcer Josef, the heroine Shaun is catapulted into a world of wealth and excess funded by organised crime. The author does an excellent job of describing the brutality of the kidnap and how Shaun and Josef respond to the evolving attraction between them.  There is plenty of tension between Shaun and Josef, as well as other members of the Koba family and the lovemaking scenes between the main couple sizzle. #MafiaRomance #EnemiestoLovers #RomanticSuspense My Review

Dream Reaper, Alistair Cross

A battle between good and evil in another modern Gothic masterpiece 

Alistair Cross once again excels himself with another of his modern Gothic masterpieces, this time set in the seemingly sleepy town of Prominence in California. I am a real sucker for books pitting angels against demons, as I just love tales of good versus evil. I therefore jumped at the chance to review the author’s latest novel Dream Reaper, which blurs the lines between paranormal romance, urban fantasy and horror and is an absolute delight for fans of these genres. 

When a handsome and mysterious stranger saves Madison O’Riley from a fatal fall, little does she realise that her life and that of the inhabitants of the town of Prominence will soon descend into the depths of the Twilight Zone. It is not long before Madison and others start to realise that the amnesiac who calls himself Alejandro, has powers which defy comprehension…  Horror, Fantasy, Thriller, Romance My Review

Verik’s Price, Alpha Barbarians #3, Leann Ryans

Sinfully hot but sweet Omegaverse romance 

Verik’s Price is a sinfully hot but sweet contribution to the author’s Alpha Barbarians series which is set in an Omegaverse world. It is essentially a captor-captive romance featuring Verik, a passionate and powerful Alpha and Iris, a strong-minded Omega who has been torn from her village and gifted to him.

I was entertained by the interplay between the two – sparks fly and although Verik, as Alpha and leader of the Andtay clan has all the power, I respected that although Iris he gives Iris no option but to submit, he chooses not to totally go overboard on how he goes about taming her. That is not to say he is not dominant – indeed there is no absence of extremely intimate moments, but Verik is tortuously devious when it comes to seducing Iris to admit she desires him too – after all he wants her willing. #fantasy #omegaverse #erotic #romance My Review

Summer Warrior The Clan Donald Saga, Book 1, Regan Walker

A Spellbinding Tale 

In Summer Warrior, the first book in the Clan Donald Saga, Walker weaves a spellbinding tale of heroism and adventure coupled with a touching love story.

The backdrop to the tale, encompassing Scottish, Irish, Norse and English history, is an expansive one, worthy of the title saga. For me the writing conjured up vivid images of royal courts, battles and the ever present windswept coast and sea that surrounds the isles.

As with the author’s previous works, the novel is meticulously researched, breathing life into characters and events from history. In this instance it is the little known Somerled, the Summer Warrior of the title, who, through his valiant actions, comes to be crowned Lord of the Isles, a Kingdom independent of his Scottish allies and from the Norse he vanquishes. #HistoricalFiction #Histfic #ScottishFiction #NorseFiction My Review

Omega Awakening, The Controllers #0.5, by L V Lane

Loved this read so much!

 A prequel to the author’s Controllers series, it is a twist on the Cinderella trope but set in a dystopian Omegaverse, where the anti-hero Woodrow bears little resemblance to a Disney Prince! This alpha male is one who is utterly single-handed in his pursuit of the heroine Verity – he will make her his whatever it takes and he does not play fair. Having served his time in the military, he is now a Special Ops Director, who wants an Omega of his own and Verity becomes his obsession. #Omegaverse #Dystopian #Fantasy #Romance My Review

Not Just My Heart, Em Taylor

Sexy and heartfelt romance

This second chance romance is a heartfelt read with oodles of heat. It Is a story about finding yourself and your soulmate but also a tale of the importance of friends and family. Lacey and Rory have a lot of baggage to sort out and I enjoyed how they resolved their personal challenges and those they had as a couple, before they could contemplate their HEA.

The read, which is set in Scotland, contains some extremely sexy adult themes plus  emotional and sometimes humorous scenes and dialogue. The couple’s physical chemistry is assured but Rory soon realises just how hard he broke Lacey’s heart with his abrupt departure from her life six year’s previously. He knows he will have an uphill struggle to win over the girl he so carelessly discarded but what he doesn’t initially realise is that his actions had ramifications which went far beyond Lacey… Can he put things right and can he win the girl?#contemporary #secondchanceromance My Review

 

*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

Home


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

Amazon UK   Amazon US

Author Links

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

http://www.elizabethbailey.co.uk/#!blog/c112v

https://www.facebook.com/authorelizabethbailey

https://twitter.com/lizbwrites

*Promo with excerpt* Noise by Brett Garcia Rose

NOISE, by Brett Garcia Rose, is a thriller/mystery centering on a deaf character’s search for his missing sister. It’s short, violent, but ultimately it’s about love. Noise was published in June 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

noise book coverTitle: Noise

Author: Brett Garcia Rose

Genre: Action adventure, mystery, thriller

Release date: June 17th. 2014

Released by: Velocity Imprints

Length: 147 pages (Kindle edition)

Blurb: The world is an ugly place, and I can tell you now, I fit in just fine.

Lily is the only person Leon ever loved. When she left a suicide note and disappeared into a murky lake ten years ago, she left him alone, drifting through a silent landscape.

Or did she?

A postcard in her handwriting pulls Leon to the winter-cold concrete heart of New York City. What he discovers unleashes a deadly rage that has no sound.

A grisly trail of clues leads to The Bear, the sadistic Russian crime lord who traffics in human flesh. The police—some corrupt, some merely compromised—are of little help. They don’t like Leon’s methods, or the mess he leaves in his wake.

Leon is deaf, but no sane person would ever call him disabled. He survived as a child on the merciless streets of Nigeria. He misses nothing. He feels no remorse. The only direction he’s ever known is forward.

He will not stop until he knows.

Where is Lily?

Praise for Noise:

A staggering, compelling work of fiction…mind-blowingly perfect. It has everything. Exquisite details, world-weary voice, and people worth knowing. It is truly amazing!” – MaryAnne Kolton, Author and Editor of This Literary Magazine

Strong, compelling, raw and human in the best sense. Beautifully written.” – Susan Tepper, Author of Deer and Other Stories

Perfect, compact and explosive, closing with the gentlest word.” – James Lloyd Davis, Author of Knitting the Unraveled Sleeves

Wow. Beautiful and wonderful and sad and real.” – Sally Houtman, Author of To Grandma’s House, We . . . Stay

Frighteningly good.” – Meg Pokrass, Author of Bird Envy

Superbly explosive. The rage escalates and careens out of control. Amazing.” – Ajay Nair, Author of Desi Rap

About the Author:

brett garcia rose headshotBrett Garcia Rose is a writer, software entrepreneur, and former animal rights soldier and stutterer. He is the author of two books, Noise and Losing Found Things, and his work has been published in Sunday Newsday MagazineThe Barcelona ReviewOpiumRose and ThornThe Battered SuitcaseFiction AtticParaphilia and other literary magazines and anthologies. His short stories have won the Fiction Attic’s Short Memoir Award (Second Place), Opium’s Bookmark Competition, The Lascaux Prize for Short Fiction, and have been nominated for the Million Writer’s AwardBest of the Net and The Pushcart Prize. Rose travels extensively, but calls New York City home. To learn more, go to BrettGarciaRose.com, or connect with Brett on TwitterFacebook, and Goodreads.

https://twitter.com/BrettGarciaRose

https://www.facebook.com/brettgarciarose

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8307465.Brett_Garcia_Rose

http://www.brettgarciarose.com/

Excerpt:

Twenty-Eight

The sounds I cannot hear: The whistle of the hammer as it arcs through the air. The wailing of pain and the begging of The Bear. The dripping of blood from thawing meat onto the wet concrete floor. The beautifully crude threats.

My own hideous voice.

I drag The Bear into a walk-in freezer by the hook sunk through his shoulder and toss him into a corner on the floor. When I reenter the freezer, dragging the oak table behind me, The Bear is hard at work on the hook, trying to muscle it out, but it’s sunk deep, through the tendons. Hope is adrenaline, fear masks pain, begging helps no one.

I yank him up by the hook and then hold his hands outstretched, one at a time, as I nail his wrists to the table with railroad spikes. I put all of my 240 pounds behind the hammer, but even so, it takes several swings. His body shakes, the nails sink further into the wood, his face is pain. He screams, but I cannot hear.

The building above burns a deep blue hue with my smuggled-in accelerants.

The sound of the hammer into The Bear. The pain in his eyes. I have never seen so much hatred. It is beautiful to me, to reach this center, this uncomplicated base, to disassemble the past and honor a new history. It is another film, also homemade and rough, an overlay, an epilogue. The Bear is broken but I have spared his face, and to see those eyes, that is what I needed; to see his hatred flow into me, my own eyes sucking down the scum like bathtub drains. His life whirls into me and I taste the fear, the hope, the sharp sting of adrenaline pumping and the reeking muck of despair. His pain soothes me, a slow, thick poison. We will all die.

I know it now; I am a broken man. I always was. I imagine Lily watching me, Lily keeping score, making lists, balancing all. As a child from far away, she was the queen, even more so than her mother. But she didn’t survive. The world was not as we had imagined, not even close. The world is a cruel, bastard place, Lily cold and lost somewhere, me hot and bleeding and swinging my hammer. Life as it is, not as we wish it to be.

The sounds I cannot hear: The laughter of the watchers. The groan of my sister as The Bear cums inside of her, pulling her hair until the roots bleed. The Bear screams and shits himself inside the dark freezer. Lily’s wailing and cursing and crying. I scream at The Bear with all my mighty, damaged voice, swinging the hammer at his ruined hands, hands that will never again touch anyone. Lily at the end, beaten and pissed on and begging to die.

Lily is dead. I am dead. It will never be enough.

I remove the stack of photos from my wallet that I’d printed at the Internet café a lifetime ago and place them face down on the table in front of The Bear. I draw an X on the back of the first photo and turn it over, laying it close to the pulp of his ruined hands.

The Bear offers me anything I want. An animal can feel pain but cannot describe or transmit it adequately. The Bear both is and is not an animal. I lack hearing, so the Bear cannot transmit his experience to me unless I choose to see it. His pain is not my pain, but mine is very much his. I swing the hammer into his unhooked shoulder, and then I draw another X and flip another photo.

His lips move, and I understand what he wants to know. Five photos.

In my notepad, I write: you are a rapist fucking pig. I put the paper into the gristle of his hands and swing the hammer against the metal hook again. It’s a sound I can feel.

Anything, The Bear mouths. He is sweating in the cold air of the freezer. Crying. Bleeding.

In my pad, I write: I want my sister back. I swing the hammer claw-side first into his mouth and leave it there. His body shakes and twitches.

I turn over his photo and write one last note, tearing it off slowly and holding it in front of his face, the handle of the hammer protruding from his jaw like a tusk. You are number four. There are a few seconds of space as the information stirs into him and I watch as he deflates, the skin on his face sagging like a used condom. He knows what I know.

I turn over the last photo for him. I turn it slowly and carefully, sliding it toward him. Victor, his one good son, his outside accomplishment, his college boy, the one who tried to fuck him and they fucked my sister instead.

I remove another mason jar from my bag, unscrewing the metal top and letting the thick fluid flow onto his lap. I wipe my hands carefully and light a kitchen match, holding it in front of his face for a few seconds as it catches fully. He doesn’t try to blow it out. He doesn’t beg me to stop. He just stares at the match as the flame catches, and I drop it onto his lap.

The Bear shakes so hard from the pain that one of his arms rips from the table, leaving a skewer of meat and tendon on the metal spike. I lean into his ear, taking in his sweet reek and the rot of his bowels and, in my own hideous voice, I say:

Wait for me.”