~**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

 

*NEW RELEASE & REVIEW* ~ A Governess Should Never…Tempt a Prizefighter (The Governess Chronicles #1), by Emily Windsor

#Sensual #Regency #Romance

The lady and the prizefighter. With scandalous kisses in midnight carriages, tavern visits and dressing as a nefarious footpad, the vocation of governess has never been so exciting… 

Release Date: Monday 9th November 2020

Tropes: A lady governess. A rugged prizefighter. Classes collide.

Tone: Romantic. Humorous. Warm. Poignant.

Blurb

“So tell me, Miss Griffin, why should I employ you as governess?”

A question to rouse fear within the breast of any prospective governess but for Matilda, a lady without references, appropriate brown clothing or any experience with children whatsoever, doubly so.

Yet alone in the world except for a brutish guardian and a malodorous betrothed, Matilda must seek her own future, even if that means employment in the household of a rugged ex-prizefighter with sizeable muscles and doubtless minuscule intellect.

 “Please continue to enlighten me, Miss Griffin.”

Mr Seth Hawkins, owner of famed Boxing Academy, has reached the point of desperation in his search for a governess.

Yet with no other suitable candidates, could this yellow-clad, bespectacled female who seemed to think him a witless dolt with calloused knuckles and no books, teach his daughter the ways of a lady?

 The Lady and the Prizefighter.

One should never judge a man by his well-defined muscles or a lady by her yellow-silk slippers, for beneath both façades lay yearning hearts, shared dreams and a taste for adventure.

With scandalous kisses in midnight carriages, tavern excursions, whifflers, nobblers and dressing as a nefarious footpad on the prowl, the vocation of governess has never been so exciting…

A fun, heart-warming Regency romance, this is the first book in a companion series to the Games of Gentlemen.

This tale contains sensual scenes.

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My Review

A beautifully crafted and uplifting romance ~ 5 stars

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!

Seth has no airs and graces and welcomes Matilda into his small and unconventional household and she soon develops a sense of belonging which has eluded her for so long. As she gets to know her employer she discovers that there is far more to him that she initially thought and she develops a strong sense of admiration for and attraction to him. I particularly enjoyed the dialogue between the couple, which is full of wit, humour and increasing sexual tension as the romance heats up. Seth is a man who will do anything to protect those he cares for and he is beginning to care for Matilda…

As for Matilda, I really felt for her and enjoyed how Seth encouraged her to come out of her shell, have fun and experience life to the full. Both characters are changed for the better by being together, yet can they have a future together when they are from different classes and what of Matilda’s evil guardian who is still hell-bent on marrying her off to another?

There are some highly amusing scenes throughout the book, as the couple go on a series of riotous adventures in London, and I was hugely entertained throughout. The banter between the characters, replete with boxing slang, also added a lot of colour to the read.

This standalone romance is a fabulous start to this series and I recommend it to romance lovers who are looking for a warm, romantic and humorous read.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by the author and I am voluntarily leaving a fair and honest review.

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~*PRE-ORDER BLITZ*~ A Wanton Indiscretion by Natasha Blackthorne

PRE-ORDER BLITZ
Title: A Wanton Indiscretion
Series: Wild, Wicked and Wanton #5
Author: Natasha Blackthorne
Genre: Regency Historical Erotic Romance
Release Date: December 26, 2019

BLURB

The dark-eyed, raven-haired governess haunts Mr. Isaac Pierce’s waking and sleeping dreams. And she’s right next door. But the prim, shy young woman has rebuffed his advances, and he must respect her choice. He has tried to forget her. Yet he can’t. He aches to possess her.

One glance at the tall, gorgeous merchant prince and all Miss Abigail Francis’ self-control melts away. The same ironclad control over her emotions and expectations had seen her through years filled with deprivation, disappointments and loss.

A domestic crisis brings them into close, daily contact and she begins to see the man behind the handsome face and, for the first time, her heart is touched by a man. Now she knows what it is to crave a man as much as she craves air to breathe.

After a life directed by prudence, responsibility and duty, Abigail finds herself tempted to be indiscreet. Just once. And no one would ever know or be hurt. But she’d best be careful. Her livelihood and that of those she loves depend on her stern discipline and spotless reputation.

But Abigail doesn’t realize that the repercussions of her uncharacteristic recklessness might just prove dangerous in a way she least suspects. Who protects the protector?

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Natasha Blackthorne writes Scorching Hot Historical Romance where deeply flawed characters find love & trust. Herstories are most frequently about the intimate journey of the characters as they learn to open their hearts to love.
Natasha’s heroines are not perfect ladies. They are wildflowers and wallflowers who flirt with the forbidden. Whether they are bold or shy, these heroines’ strong desires and deep emotions drive the plot and drive their strong, dominant heroes to the point of no return.
Natasha holds a B.A. in History, loves reading, cats and music.

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*ARC REVIEW* ~ Rogue’s Holiday (Agents of the Crown Book 5), by Regan Walker

#romance #regencyromance

Blurb

Robert Powell’s work as a spy saves the Cabinet ministers from a gruesome death and wins him accolades from George IV. As a reward, the king grants him a baronetcy and a much-deserved holiday at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton where he thinks to indulge in brandy, cards, good horseflesh and women.

But when Muriel, Dowager Countess of Claremont, learns of Sir Robert’s intended destination, she begs a favor…to watch over an “errant child” who is the grandniece of her good friend living in the resort town. Little does Robbie know that Miss Chastity Reynolds is no child but a beautiful hoyden who is seemingly immune to his charms.

Chastity lives in the shadow of her mother and sisters, dark-haired beauties men admire. Her first Season was a failure but, as she will soon come into a family legacy, she has no need to wed. When she first encounters Sir Robert, she dubs him The Rogue, certain he indulges in a profligate lifestyle she wants no part in.

In Brighton, Robbie discovers he is being followed by friends of the conspirators who had planned to murder the Cabinet. Worse, they know the location of Chastity’s residence.

My Review

Hugely enjoyable Regency Romance ~ 5 stars

Regan Walker’s latest instalment in her Agents of the Crown series is an expertly woven tale of romance, intrigue and danger set in Regency England. It is a hugely entertaining and enjoyable read. The novel focuses on Robbie, whom readers met in A Secret Scottish Christmas, but also includes other characters featured in the series. The book works perfectly well as a standalone  but I also encourage you to read the other books in the set, which are equally well crafted.

The events take place at a volatile time in England, when the ruling classes feared dissent from below and even revolution. After foiling a plot to murder government ministers, spy Robert Powell is rewarded with a well-earned holiday in the seaside town of Brighton, in the King’s residence the Royal Pavilion no less. He is joined by his uncle Jack Donet, a character introduced in the Donet Trilogy, as they look forward to devoting their time to enjoying all that the town has to offer.

However Robbie’s plans soon begin to go awry after the respected Dowager, the Countess of Claremont tasks him to keep an eye on her grand-niece, Chastity Reynolds… As soon as the couple meet Robbie is smitten, yet sparks fly as Chastity struggles to get the true measure of the man whose actions indicate that he is an out and out rogue. Their evolving relationship forms the backbone of the novel and I loved the repartee between the couple. Robbie struggles to convince Chastity that he is perhaps not the rogue she thinks he is and what an entertaining battle royal this is! Yet can Chastity overcome her preconceptions? She is truly torn between her growing affection and respect for the man, yet mindful of his reputation.

As Robbie pursues Chastity around Brighton he realises that he too is being followed by those who would seek revenge on him for his role in the prosecution and execution of the traitors involved in the plot. He realises that Chastity could well have caught the eye of his pursuers and he may have put her at risk… Will Chastity escape their clutches? Can Robbie persuade her of his true intentions? I was on tenterhooks throughout, willing the couple their well- deserved HEA. I enjoyed that Chastity is a strong character, whose financial situation means that she is not bent on securing a good marriage come what may – Robbie has an uphill struggle to convince her of his worth!

I loved the author’s descriptions of Brighton, from the fish market to the opulence of the Royal Pavilion and the King’s yacht. Regan Walker writes in such as way as to invite the reader to step amongst the characters, partaking of the sights, smells and their conversations. I also enjoyed how the author’s characters interact with real historical figures of the time, such as the King and his associates, who have parts to play in the unfolding plot. The growing attraction between Jack and Rose, Chastity’s friend who accompanies her on her sojourn in Brighton added to the pleasure of the read.

Recommended to readers of historical, especially Regency romance.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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

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*ARC REVIEW* ~ Marquess to a Flame, Rules of the Rogue book 3, by Emily Windsor

#sensual #regency #romance #historicalromance

A London rogue with a winter’s heart… A Cornish lady with a glimpse of spring…. Seasons collide & passions flame as the seducer becomes the seduced.

Tone: Warm. Witty. Romantic.
Heat Level: Sensual. Moderate.

Release Date: 30th January 2019

Blurb

A winter’s heart…

“Debonair, handsome and with a devil’s smile. How could any woman resist?”

The Marquess of Winterbourne has long been guided by his Rules of the Rogue, but as emissary for the Crown, his next mission will break every single one. Sent to the wilds of Cornwall to beguile secrets from a country miss, the last thing this rogue expects is to unearth his own buried heart.
A taste of spring…

“A rogue and a fribble. How could any woman succumb?”

Miss Tamsyn Penrose remains far from impressed by charming London scoundrel Lord Winterbourne, preferring a wild gallop over the moors to flashing black eyes and fulsome flattery. But as danger lurks and prejudice ebbs, she uncovers a complex man who awakens her hidden strength and arouses her forgotten fire.
Seasons collide…

Desire sparks and passion flares in this Cornish land of cove and tor. Can Tamsyn step from the shadow of her past? And will Jack Winterbourne tear up the rules for a woman who maddens his senses and thaws his heart?

A sensual Regency Romance with warmth and wit, this story also includes a fusty valet with a secondary love story, picnics, swordplay, peacocks and…piskies.

My Review ~ 5 stars

Witty and Suspenseful 

I loved this witty and suspenseful Regency Romance, penned by Emily Windsor. In it, the quintessential London rake, Jack Winterbourne, is brought to his knees by a country miss, Tamsyn Penrose. We met Jack in previous books in the series and I have been eagerly awaiting his story as he appeared to be a rogue beyond redemption! Although it is not necessary to read the other books in the series, I’d urge you to do so as they are equally as enthralling as this one.

I loved both the hero and heroine. Indeed, I went through the whole gamut of emotions when reading this novel – a number of scenes had me recoiling in horror, whilst others had me laughing and crying with laughter – the antics of Jack, Tamsyn and the cast of supporting characters kept me entertained throughout. The read contains a secondary romance between Jack’s valet and Tamsyn’s companion and this added to my enjoyment.

The book refers to moving events from both Jack and Tamsyn’s past, events which have shaped their characters. The author does an excellent job of illustrating how both the hero and heroine need to overcome their inner conflicts to ensure their HEA. It is not an easy path but throughout the read I was rooting for them to be together, although at times I did want to shake them and give them a good talking to!

Emily Windsor skilfully weaves romance coupled with sparkling and witty dialogue with danger and suspense which kept me guessing throughout. Will Jack and Tamsyn overcome issues from their past and take a chance on love before it’s too late? Will dangers from Tamsyn’s past come back to ruin her future happiness? Can a rogue’s heart finally thaw?

All in all a super read for fans of sensual Regency Romance which contains wit, charm and romance in spades. Thoroughly recommended.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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

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

#historicalromance #historicalfiction #Dublin


Blurb

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

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

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

My Review

A stirring and heartfelt read with colourful characters – 5 stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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

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~*ARC REVIEW ~ Let Sleeping Dukes Lie, (Rules of the Rogue Book 2), by Emily Windsor ~*

#sensual #historical #regency #romance

 

Book Blurb

“Strait-laced. Ruthless. Arrogant.”
Alexander Westhide, the Duke of Rakecombe has no quarrel with such faint praise as he has forever shunned marriage, women and anything remotely resembling love. Indeed, the damning words merely serve to enhance his haughty façade. But beneath the controlled demeanour lies a duke beset by tragedy, a man turbulent and restless.

“Forthright. Impudent… Capricious saucebox.”
Miss Aideen Quinlan can’t quite express why she feels the need to taunt, tease and generally annoy the Duke of Rakecombe. Maybe it was for the heart-racing spar of words that always ensued, or maybe it was to see the duke’s broad fist clench on his ebony cane, green eyes glittering.
Or maybe it was because she was unable to erase the memory of his vehement kiss…

An unlikely couple.
Torn between his world of espionage and this unquenchable passion, the duke still refuses to lower his fierce defences.
If Aideen is to capture her resistant duke’s troubled heart, it is she who must follow the Rules of the Rogue.
Resistance is futile…

A sensual Regency Romance with warmth and wit, this story also includes unpalatable chefs, a darling of the Season with a secondary love story, deadly walking canes and sheep…

My Review – 5 stars

A troubled Duke meets his match… 

I loved this, the second in Emily Windsor’s Rules of the Rogue series. This delightful Regency romp pairs the dark and forbidding Alexander Westhide, Duke of Rakecombe, with Miss Aideen Quinlan, a lively and unconventional Irish miss who proves to be both his match and his undoing! It features some characters from the first book in the series, An Earl in Wolf’s Clothing, but can easily be read as a standalone.

Aideen and Alexander first encounter each other after he rescues her from a kidnapping. Since that fateful meeting, the pair have been circling each other on the rare occasions their paths cross at society functions. Aideen cannot resist baiting the Duke, rather than being repelled by his dour and standoffish behaviour, she finds herself drawn to him. Alexander is all alpha male: dominant, in control at all time and sinfully sexy – what woman could resist the challenge? Not Miss Aideen Quinlan for sure!

For his part the Duke recognises how this woman threatens his ordered existence – his work as a spy for the Crown is most definitely not conducive to forming close bonds with significant others. To ensure her continued safety and his own sanity he knows he needs to avoid becoming entangled with her at all costs – if only Miss Quinlan wasn’t so meddlesome (not to mention so damned attractive to him)!

Fate continually throws them together… Can the Duke protect this wild creature who is slowly, against his better judgement, becoming to mean everything to him, whilst still discharging his duties to the Crown? Can he safeguard her from harm? Can Aideen break through his hard exterior and charm the most inflexible of men, when he guards his secrets so well? Can she penetrate the darkness he is hiding before she loses her heart in the process?

I so enjoyed the battle royal that ensues between this couple and the games they play. Aideen is a fantastic heroine and she really is the Dukes undoing – he has never encountered an adversary quite like her. The dialogue and the push and pull between them make for a hugely entertaining read, full of witty dialogue, sensual scenes, sexual tension, danger and suspense. There is a scene at the end of the book which had me in tears (in a good way), I was so invested I their story- the characters and their relationship had become so real to me.

Recommended for lovers of sensual Regency Romances who enjoy dark, brooding and tortured heroes and spunky heroines who challenge them at every turn.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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

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*REVIEW* ~ Sleeping Lord Beattie (The Contrary Fairy Tales Book 1), by Em Taylor

#regency #erotic #romance #fairytaleretelling

Blurb

EM TAYLOR brings you an amazing new series of Regency stories based on the fairy tales you loved as a child.

Young ladies of good breeding do not kiss gentlemen in their bed chambers even if they have been asleep for three weeks. One would think Lady Emily would know that. One would think Lady Emily would not have entered Lord Beattie’s bed chamber alone. One would have thought that kissing the handsome viscount would have been the last thing she would have done.
But kiss him she did. And that was when the apothecary walked in. All of which meant she had to marry Lord Beattie.

Why the silly little chit had kissed him when he’d been out cold for three weeks, the Lord alone knew. And now Gideon, Viscount Beattie had to marry the outspoken little minx. But there was something a little charming about her. The problem was, her uncle was after his hide, the peasants were revolting – in the rioting sense, not in the disgusting sense – and he really needed to procure some grain from up north. He may as well kill two birds with one stone and elope with the interesting, frustrating, irritating and thoroughly delightful Lady Emily – soon to be Viscountess Beattie. It would be an interesting journey.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This book has no magic in it. While loosely based on a fairy tale, the story is gender swapped and there is no paranormal happenings.

This book has scenes of an adult nature and is intended for mature audiences aged 18+

My Review – 5 stars

Charming, feel-good and sexy Regency Romance

If you fancy an entertaining and charming Regency Romance then look no further than Sleeping Lord Beattie, the first book in a new series of books by Em Taylor based on the retelling of well- known fairy tales.

Sleeping Lord Beattie (Sleeping Beauty with a role reversal) is set during the cold winter of 1815-16, which is threatening to cause unrest and upheaval in the country due to the poor harvest. Gideon, Viscount Beattie,  suffers a head injury and has lain asleep for weeks. His sister Sophie, fearing that her beloved brother is not long for this mortal realm, invites Emily her friend to visit for moral support.

Except that Emily goes above and beyond providing her friend with moral support… It is not long before the fun and mayhem begin!  Emily is drawn to the bedside of the sleeping lord and on a whim kisses him, her impulsive action awakening the sleeping Viscount! However, her actions are witnessed and Emily is compromised and risks ruination. it is fortunate that Gideon, a gentleman through and through (although a damn sexy one to boot) does the honourable thing and proposes to this woman whom he has never seen before…

The scene is set for a hugely enjoyable romp with a super hero and heroine. I loved the unconventional character of Emily – she is so unlike the sensible and simpering misses that frequent many a Regency Romance. Outspoken, clumsy and accident-prone her family despairs that she will ever find a suitor. And Gideon – he is soon drawn to the strange chit who had the temerity to kiss him. He finds her increasingly more fascinating, and as they are thrown together he has his work cut out to keep her wayward actions and thoughts in line without compromising her more fully! I enjoyed their sexual tension, their banter and the humour that this writer injects into her stories, as well as the sexy lovemaking scenes!

The tale, which also contains scandalised relatives (including an angry uncle), an elopement and desperate highwaymen, is an absolute pleasure to read and I recommed it to fans of the genre.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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*REVIEW* ~ Merry Christmas, My Viscount (Rules of the Rogue #2), by Emily Windsor

#historical #regency #romance #sensual #christmasread

Book Blurb

Mrs Lily Mereworth’s List of Bold New Life Resolutions. To be completed by Christmas Eve, 1814.

• Burn Miss Pikesworth’s Guide to Etiquette – Achieved.
• Visit a gaming hell and win oneself lots of money – Achieved.
• Imbibe new-fangled absinthe – Preparations underway.
• Seduce a rogue – ?

Attending a Christmastide gathering is surely the best way for the most proper widow Mrs Lily Mereworth to complete her list and banish her past. After all, there will be more than a few suitable gentlemen present.
If only a shrewd, hazel-eyed viscount didn’t keep disrupting her plans…

Newly ennobled Viscount Asher Rainham has no schedule for seduction, Christmas or dallying with women. He has merely turned up for the good company, intelligent card playing and excellent brandy. But as snow swathes the land, a certain Mrs Mereworth confounds his expectations and assaults his methodical senses.
Asher, spymaster, a man who never takes risks, finds himself in need of some Rules of the Rogue…

Ghost stories on a windy night, swordplay down the Great Portrait Gallery, snapdragon in the dark – a lady and a gentleman with no thought to love… Merry Christmas.

My Review

Delightful Regency Romance ~ 5 stars

Merry Christmas, My Viscount, by Emily Windsor is a fun, feel-good read, ideal for Christmas or at any time of the year. I adored it! It is the first book that I have reviewed by the author and I was impressed with how she effortlessly blended romance, sexual tension and humour to create a compulsive read.

I loved the heroine in the book, the widow Lily as she strives to recover her mojo. She is so determined to liberate herself from the memories of her marriage to her stuffy and controlling husband. She has worked her way through The List of Bold New Life Resolutions, which she created with the help of her friend Rosalind, and now only has to complete two outstanding resolutions before Christmas Eve – imbibe new-fangled absinthe and seduce a rogue – what a list! Fortunately the Christmas house party hosted by Rosalind and husband Lucas on hand to afford her plenty of opportunities …

Cue for a delightful and romantic read with plenty of humour as Lily, egged on by Rosalind in particular, resolves to complete the list before the allotted time. Her perusal of the rogue she’d most like to give her attentions to is particularly entertaining. However, everywhere Lily goes she finds the eyes and attentions of the oh so serious Viscount Asher Rainham upon her. The risk averse Viscount, spymaster extraordinaire, is flummoxed by the contradictions in Lily’s character and is determined to find out what makes her tick.  Indeed, this woman not only piques his interest but confounds his senses and his fascination quickly turns to attraction…

For Lily’s part, she becomes intriqued by the Viscount, against her better judgement. She realises that there is more to Asher than first impressions suggest. Yet will she want to risk more than a simple dalliance now that she is enjoying her newfound freedom?  There is plenty of humour and heaps of sexual tension as Lily and Asher fall for each other at the same time embarking on a journey of self-discovery in this hugely entertaining read.

I’d thoroughly recommend this to all romance lovers.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

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

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✯☆ ‿➹⁀☆ ☆ RELEASE BLITZ ✯☆ ‿➹⁀☆ ☆ Sleeping Lord Beattie, by Em Taylor

Blurb

EM TAYLOR brings you an amazing new series of Regency stories based on the fairy tales you loved as a child.

Young ladies of good breeding do not kiss gentlemen in their bed chambers even if they have been asleep for three weeks. One would think Lady Emily would know that. One would think Lady Emily would not have entered Lord Beattie’s bed chamber alone. One would have thought that kissing the handsome viscount would have been the last thing she would have done.

But kiss him she did. And that was when the apothecary walked in. All of which meant she had to marry Lord Beattie.

Why the silly little chit had kissed him when he’d been out cold for three weeks, the Lord alone knew. And now Gideon, Viscount Beattie had to marry the outspoken little minx. But there was something a little charming about her. The problem was, her uncle was after his hide, the peasants were revolting – in the rioting sense, not in the disgusting sense – and he really needed to procure some grain from up north. He may as well kill two birds with one stone and elope with the interesting, frustrating, irritating and thoroughly delightful Lady Emily – soon to be Viscountess Beattie. It would be an interesting journey.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This book has no magic in it. While loosely based on a fairy tale, the story is gender-swapped and there are no paranormal happenings.

Goodreads Link:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36247091-sleeping-lord-beattie

Buy Link: http://a-fwd.com/asin=B075NKLTRS

Author information:

Em was born and brought up in the Central Belt of Scotland and still lives there. She was told as a child she had an overactive imagination–as if that is a bad thing. She’s traded her dreams of owning her own island, just like George in the Famous Five to hoping to meet her own Mr Darcy one day. But her imagination remains the same.

Links:

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