ARC Reviews

11/05/2021

A Governess of Great Talents (The Governess Bureau #1) by Emily E.K. Murdoch. Historical Romance Release & ARC Review.

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Welcome to a brand new and exciting series titled "The Governess Bureau" from Best Selling Author Emily E.K. Murdoch!

When the nobility and gentility of England are at their wits end, they send a discrete note to Miss Vivienne Clarke’s Governess Bureau. Only accepting the very best clients, their governesses are coveted by minor royalty, with every governess following three rules:

1. You must have an impeccable record.
2. You must bring a special skill to the table.
3. You must never fall in love…

Book 1, A Governess of Great Talents

When a governess of great talents is required, there is only one place the nobility of England go: The Governess Bureau.

It was why Miss Meredith Hubert had worked so hard to gain her place there. Finishing with the Earl of Marnmouth's children, she is about to be given her next assignment—a Duke called Alfred Carmichael with a political campaign to win and a half-brother who needs controlling.

Archibald is but eight years old, but already threatens to ruin the family's reputation as Alfred, the Duke, tries to maintain it. They have to be spotless as the election looms.

But Meredith has a secret to hide, and she's not the only one. Maids sent away in secret, items missing from the house, there is more than one mystery at Rochdale Abbey. When a Duke falls in love with a governess, there's only one way this can end—in scandal.

As Alfred Carmichael tries desperately to regain his family's honor in Parliament and fight his desire of Meredith, how will Meredith's Great Talents ensure a happily ever after for them all?

This full length novel is a steamy Regency romance with a happily ever after, no cliffhangers, and is part of a series that can be read in any order.


⭐⭐⭐⭐


Miss Meredith Hubert has just ended a successful employment as a governess for an Earl's family and is back in The Governess Bureau to hopefully get her next.  The owner of the bureau is very strict and expects extremely high standards from the ladies she places in some of the highest households in the land. 
If the woman knew just who Meredith really is, she would never represent her. Our heroine's special talents make caring for difficult children easy for her. 
Alfred Carmichael the Duke of Rochdale needs someone to teach his half-brother while he concentrates on winning his seat in Parliament.  As his is only a small duchy he has no automatic seat in the House of Lords. 
Our hero is following a longstanding family tradition, even though the very idea of sitting in boring parliament instead of riding his grounds drives him to distraction. Keeping his mind on what he should be doing only gets harder in the coming weeks. 
This is an unlikely, but very amusing story with fabulous characters.  A governess is a very important part in the lives of many children and provides more than just education. If the rest of them from this new series do the same as this one, the owner of the bureau is not going to be happy.  
I thoroughly enjoyed this one,  and look forward to the next book.  
Good fun.


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Welcome! I love to read and write sweet and steamy historical romance, and if you love falling in love then you've come to the right place.

Enjoy my sweet romances written as Emily Murdoch, and my steamy romances as Emily E K Murdoch.

A SPRINGTIDE MEETING is currently free!

I am a historian and writer, and have a varied career to date: from examining medieval manuscripts to designing museum exhibitions, to working as a researcher for the BBC to working for the National Trust.

My books range from England 1050 to Texas 1848, and I can't wait for you to fall in love with my heroes and heroines!

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07/05/2021

The Highlander's Captive (Highland Rogues #3) by Mary Wine. Historical Romance Release & ARC Review.

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Stealing brides is a tradition...

In the Highlands, strength is the currency of choice, and if you can't protect what is yours, be prepared to pay a ransom.

Annis is a prize. Born of a royal blood line, the fact that she's illegitimate isn't really important. With her mother gone, her kin barter her and send her off to Scotland, where her husband's family is eager to see her produce heirs to their line with impeccable lineage.

Rolfe Munro is sick unto death of the topic of marriage. His marriage is one everyone seems to have an opinion of. So, when his father offers him the chance to escape the Munro stronghold for a bit, Rolfe happily takes the chore! But he knows it's only a brief respite.

Duty is the other currency of the Highlands. He's the son of the laird, and he'll have to settle down or risk leaving the clan in a fight when he dies.

Still, he's not ready to steal a bride. Even when his fool cousin takes one and needs rescuing. Rolfe isn't going to get involved beyond making sure his cousin survives. That's his plan. And it's a firm one. At least, until he lays eyes on Annis. Rolfe has seen his share of pretty women.

Annis is different. Her allure is something he can't put into words or ignore, it would seem.

By the time he escorts them to his cousin's stronghold, all Rolfe is thinking about is how to steal Annis away.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



Annis knows her only value is her bloodline.  She has been bartered as a bride and now she is widowed that same blood will see her stolen and made a captive more than once. For women of that era marriage and breeding heirs is sometimes the only worth they have,  especially when they are used to make alliances. 
Rolfe Monroe is sent by his aunt to stop his cousin from doing something stupid.  Capturing brides is seen as a normal way of life in Scotland.  An English one with Royal blood is very valuable.  
This is a Highland / historical romance with fabulous characters.  We actually get two brave heroines. One of which I think will be the main heroine in the next story.  Our hero is a dutiful son who wants to please his father but sometimes a man has to follow his heart. 
Lots of twists and turns to this story,  and a teaser for the next book at the end.  
Great fun. 


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Mary Wine has written over twenty novels that take her readers from the pages of history to the far reaches of space. Recent winner of a 2008 EPPIE Award for erotic western romance, her book LET ME LOVE YOU was quoted “Not to be missed…” by Lora Leigh, New York Times best-selling author.

When she’s not abusing a laptop, she spends time with her sewing machines…all of them! Making historical garments is her second passion. From corsets and knickers to court dresses of Elizabeth I, the most expensive clothes she owns are hundreds of years out of date. She’s also an active student of martial arts, having earned the rank of second degree black belt.

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06/05/2021

Duke of Arrogance (Dukes of Distinction #4) by Alexa Aston. Historical Romance Release & ARC Review.

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A woman spurned by the ton . . .

A duke harboring an appalling secret . . .

Life radically changes for Arabella Jennings, the daughter of an Oxford don, when her father becomes the Earl of Barrington. She’s an intellectual who would rather be discussing Shakespeare’s works but now finds herself navigating the vicious waters of Polite Society.

Jonathan Sutton’s twin dies, making him the new Duke of Blackmore. Pledging to live for both himself and Arch, Jon becomes one of London’s leading rakes, breaking rules and bedding women as his brother would have done had he lived.

Jon meets Arabella the first night of the Season and decides this woman, so different from every conquest he’s made, might help him from the abyss he’s sunk into.

Can a bluestocking with a quick wit tame the disreputable Duke of Arrogance—and save his soul?

Find the answer in The Duke of Arrogance, Book 4 in the Dukes of Distinction.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



Jonathan Sutton loves his twin brother. He would willingly die for him,  or kill for him.  Arch is the heir and Jon the spare,  which means their father is only interested in Arch and ignores Jon when he isn't criticizing him. 
A terrible tragedy means a new Duke with a heavy burden to carry. 
Arabella Jennings is the daughter of an Oxford Don who suddenly finds himself an Earl.  The big changes in their lives will take all her intelligence to find a way through. 
Polite society can be harsh to those who don't fit in. 
Our hero has done his best to live the way his brother would want,  but now it's time yo be himself. 
Our heroine finds that her education doesn't help her navigate her new surroundings. 
There are wonderful characters in this historical romance.  Some of the secondary ones you might have met in previous books.  You can still easily read this book as a stand alone without spoiling the others in the series.  
I have thoroughly enjoyed this and the previous ones and will definitely read the rest of the series.  
Great fun. 


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Alexa Aston’s historical romances use history as a backdrop to place her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire for one another grows into the treasured gift of love.

She is the author of The Knights of Honor, a medieval romance series that takes place in 14th century England during the reign of Edward III and centers on the de Montfort family. Each romance focuses on the code of chivalry that bound knights of this era.

A native Texan, Alexa lives with her husband in a Dallas suburb, where she eats her fair share of dark chocolate and plots out stories while she walks every morning. She enjoys reading, watching movies, and can’t get enough of Fixer Upper or Game of Thrones. Alexa also writes romantic suspense, western historical, and standalone medieval novels as Lauren Linwood. 


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30/04/2021

The Viscount's Heir (Heirs of Cornwall #2) by Veronica Crowe. Historical Romance Release & ARC Review.

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The Viscount’s Heir: Book 2 of the Heirs of Cornwall Series tells the tale of two stubborn personalities determined to escape the matrimonial trap.

Allayne Carlyle, the only son and heir of Viscount Rose, is in a conundrum. All his friends are happily married, and his mother has decided it is time for him to do the same deed. But Allayne has no intentions of entering the parson's mousetrap. He is wealthy, handsome, and free. The world is at his fingertips. He is not done sowing his wild oats, and frankly, he wants to keep sowing said oats for the next decade. Or two. Why would he want to get leg-shackled, when there are too many alluring widows to bed, and even more beautiful actresses to pursue?

Lady Alexandra Davenport, the only daughter of the Earl of Weston, is in a similar predicament. She has been cleverly avoiding the matrimonial trap, but now that her twenty-fifth birthday has come around, her father has finally put his foot down. He had threatened to confiscate her most treasured possessions: her horse and her pistols if she does not come around and accept one of her many suitors. But Alexandra is in no haste to get betrothed. She would rather spend her days participating in her charities, practicing her shooting and fencing skills, and if truth be told, she could not bear to leave her father and live elsewhere with a husband she doesn't truly adore. Why would she want to marry some wretched man who would take her money, when she is happy and content where she is at?

Unbeknownst to our hero and heroine, their parents have been scheming. What will happen when these two stubborn personalities collide? Will they chase each other with a hatchet, or will the sparks fly?

Join Allayne and Alexandra, as they conquer the mystery of that little word, they have been trying their best to avoid: Love. 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



Allayne Carlyle always trying to avoid his mother's matchmaking ideas.  She has coerced him into going to a house party where he will not know anyone. He will soon foil her plans for him.  Our light-hearted hero may soon regret his spontaneous idea. 
Lady Alexandra Davenport is happy as a spinster.  Her life in the country with her hobbies and her father suit her fine.  Her father however is blackmailing her into accepting that she will marry, or else!! Our heroine is looking for a harmless adventure. 
This is a very funny historical romance, full of crazy characters.  A prank that starts innocently could prove life changing.  The story takes quite a few twists and turns.  
Really great fun. 
A special request to our author, 
Please can we have Diana Radcliffe's story when she gets older.  What a great little girl. 


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Veronica Crowe is the author of the Heirs of Cornwall series for Dragonblade Publishing.
If you like laugh-out-loud Regency romance full of romantic entanglements, hilarious misadventures, profound, heartfelt moments, and grand happy endings, this series is for you!

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27/04/2021

Highland Warrior (Sons of Sinclair #2) by Heather McCollum. Historical Romance Release & ARC Review.

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Joshua Sinclair was once the fiercest and most notorious warrior of the mighty Sinclair clan of Northern Scotland. But now there’s nothing and no one that can make him take up arms again. Except a beautiful woman, it seems.

When Kára Flett, daughter of a fallen Norse chief, finds herself unexpectedly sheltering the strongest, most brutal warrior in the land, she throws together a risky and outrageous plan to bring him to her side. Threats of violence bounce right off him. Offers of gold seem to entice him even less. Desperate enough to use the pleas of the village children to sway him, she’s shocked when he’s completely unmoved. There’s only one tactic left for her: seduction.

Her hasty proposition falls completely by the wayside, though, as she and the Highlander come together in a carnal inferno. But bringing him into her life also brings his enemies to her clan’s doorstep—the very clan Kára is trying to protect. And as their feelings deepen, Joshua will have to decide between duty and love once and for all.


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Joshua Sinclair,  known far and wide as the Horseman of War is using his expertise to teach Lord Robert Stuart's men.  It doesn't take long for him to decide it's not a job he enjoys.  He just cannot like or respect a man who treats people the way Robert does.  On his way home he learns who Lord Robert's enemies really are. 
Kara Flett has been thrust into the leadership role because of the capture of the previous one.  So many of her small community of Viking descendants have been killed or captured,  that there is very little chance of survival. They desperately need help and she will do anything to get it. 
A great story filled with truly heroic characters and lots of action. 
You can feel the desperation and frustration pour from the pages.  You will not guess how it will end. 
It is part of a series following all four of the Horsemen,  but each book can be read on it's own.  Be warned once you read one you will want to read all of them.  
Very exciting, I loved it.  


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Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical and YA paranormal romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology, much to her English professor’s dismay, and was a 2009 Golden Heart Finalist.When she is not picking her teen’s brain for authentic attitude for her YA books and finding time to write, she is usually found educating women on ovarian cancer symptoms. Ms. McCollum has recently slayed the cancer beast and resides with her very own hero and 3 kids in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.

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Letters to a Lover (Crime & Passion #2) by Mary Lancaster. Historical Romance / Mystery. Release & ARC Review.


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Will blackmail wreck their marriage? Or save it?

Welcome to Book 2 in the bestselling Crime & passion series by USA Today Bestselling Author Mary Lancaster.

When Azalea, the beautiful Viscountess Trench, receives a note threatening to expose her adulterous love letters unless she pays up, she faces even greater anxieties than most blackmail victims. Not only is her marriage a little too frail to withstand such revelations at this moment, but she can’t actually remember the adultery, let alone writing the letters.

In fact, there seems to be a great deal she can’t remember, which puts her at considerable disadvantage when facing down a blackmailer. In desperation, she turns to her sister Grizelda, recently returned from her honeymoon, to track down the culprit before her beloved husband finds out.

But Eric, Lord Trench, has grown tired of waiting patiently for his wife to come back to him. When he finds her in a bizarre assignation, he sees red, and demands that she gives him her trust and her love. If it is not already too late.

For worse dangers than scandal stalk Azalea and they will need to work fast if they are to save their marriage – and Azalea’s very life.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



Azalea,  Viscountess Trench suffered with "the baby blues" after the birth of her daughter.  That caused a rift between her and her husband.  Now she finds herself the victim of blackmail.  Did she do what the blackmailer says??  She can't remember, that is causing her to doubt her sanity. 
Eric,  Lord Trench loves his wife desperately, but they have drifted apart. He knows that something has changed and wants to fix it. 
This is a lovely historical romance that has a big mystery to solve.  Just how naughty has our heroine been in her "brain fog"??
Can our loving hero see past what might or might not have happened??? 
Really great fun,. This is the second book in this series but easily read on it's own.  I don't know if the rest of the series has the Tizlas involved,  if not I can see a possible series related to Griz and her husband's special talents being used by others.  
I loved every page and can't wait to read more.  


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Mary Lancaster's first love was historical fiction. Since then she has grown to love coffee, chocolate, red wine and black and white films - simultaneously where possible. She hates housework.

As a direct consequence of the first love, she studied history at St. Andrews University, after which she worked variously as editorial assistant, researcher and librarian. Although she has always written stories for her own entertainment, she began to make serious efforts toward publication in order to distract herself from a job she disliked. She now writes full time at her seaside home in Scotland, which she shares with her husband and three children.

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The Wolf Wore Plaid (Highland Wolf #6) by Terry Spear. Paranormal Romance Release & ARC Review.

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This Highland lass is a little too unpredictable, but maybe that's exactly what an overprotective Highland wolf needs in his life.

Enrick MacQuarrie has no time in his life to worry about anything beyond the duties of being the second-in-command of his Highland pack. Work always comes first. Until a movie being filmed at Enrick's castle results in an enemy clan bent on revenge, and Enrick is tasked with keeping his longtime packmate Heather MacNeil safe.

Impetuous Heather MacNeil has had a crush on Enrick for as long as she can remember, but never any hope he'd reciprocate her interest. But a battle between the clans turns into something deeper between the two wolves, and Heather's wildness might be just the thing to teach Enrick that all work and no play makes for a very frustrated alpha.
 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



Wolf shifter, Heather MacNeil has worked hard these last couple of years to make her pie shop a success. There is a man from another wolf clan that she has always fancied but she knows he considers her far too wild for him.  
Enrick MacQuarrie is second only to his brother, the Alpha of their pack and is far too busy to keep checking on the beautiful, frustrating pie shop owner.  
Having a film company come to use the clan's castle and lands is going to cause lots of problems,  but also be great fun and lucrative. 
This paranormal romance has got everything you could ask for.  Sexy Highlanders who are also shifters,  a dangerous rival pack to cause trouble and lots of action and giggles. 
Our author gives us fascinating characters that are easy to get involved with and a wonderful story.  
This is part of a series but easily read on it's own.  
I loved it.  


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Love, love, love romance, the paranormal, hunky Highlanders with their delicious brogue and hot kilts, so Terry Spear writes about those hunky Highlanders both in medieval times and as wolves in contemporary times. Jaguar shifters too! And young adult urban fantasy. And romantic suspense.

She grew up reading mystery, adventure, mythologies from around the world, ghost stories, the paranormal, fell in love with Dracula and Wolfman, and felt they needed loving too. Everyone should have someone to love. Which means her stories always have a HEA.

USA Today Bestseller residing in Central Texas from Sacramento, California who creates award-winning teddy bears too!

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A Wolf in Duke's Clothing (Shapeshifters of the Beau Monde #1) by Susanna Allen. Historical / Paranormal Romance, Release & ARC Review.

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A delicious mix of Regency romance and shapeshifting adventure from author Susan Conley...

Alfred Blakesley, Duke of Lowell, has long been an enigma. No one dares to give a man of his stature the cut direct, but there's simply something not quite right about him. What would the society mamas say if they learned that the something they sensed was the fact that Alfred is a wolf shifter...? He's been looking for his mate for a long time, but not just any young lady will do for him, or for his pack.

Felicity Templeton has one goal: to remain unmarried. If she can manage that until her twenty-fifth birthday, she stands to inherit a large fortune. But when she meets Alfred, the dashing duke is determined to have her for his very own...and a wolf who's a duke can be very persuasive..

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Alfred Blakesley,  Duke of Lowell has spent the last five years searching the world for the one woman to be his Duchess.  The reason it's so difficult is because he's a Shape shifter and needs his true mate.  His only hope now is a human woman,  so it's the society balls of the ton he must attend.  
Felicity Templeton is forced by her uncle and cousins to attend society events in the hope of finding her a husband , but hiding behind the potted plants and wearing unflattering gowns has saved her so far. 
Our heroine has her life without a husband all planned out,  and just a few more days before she can claim it.  
Our hero is a typical Alfa Wolf and will let nothing or no-one stand in his way. 
This is the first book in a new historical/paranormal romance and I'm already addicted.  The "Pack" is full of fabulous characters.  I had fun trying to guess what each one was in it's other skin. The story is so much fun,  I can't wait to read the next one. 


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Susanna Allen also writes as Susan E Conley.

All King Edward’s Horses Carry Many Brave Fools

— Mnemonic for the letters used at strategic points in the horseback riding arena for dressage tests, as told to me by one of my instructors


Horsey memoirs have been written by trainers, by whisperers, by breeders of thoroughbreds, by women who’ve rediscovered riding after a childhood in the saddle. These books are informative and provide an insider’s point of view on all aspects of the horse business, but what happens when an outsider decides to get a look in? What happens when a grown woman goes pony mad?

After leaving my marriage to an active substance abuser, I was desperate to move forward. Despite hours of Al Anon meetings, and volumes of self-help books, I wasn't convinced I was any closer to the kind of clarity I wanted in order to live a life free from fear and enabling. Completely to my surprise, I found the synthesis of everything — every meeting, every book, every therapeutic hour — on the back of a horse.

From my first lesson — in which I was too terrified to trot — to now, over twelve years later, when I’m participating in showjumping competitions and riding dressage tests, Many Brave Fools describes not only what it is like to take to the saddle in one’s forties, but also how the lessons learned in the arena can be applied to real-life issues.