Christmas Awards 2011

Wednesday 30 April 2008

The Roguish Miss Penn


Miss Katherine Penn is the daughter of a Professor of Divinity at Trinity College Cambridge, Mr Julian Penn, since being widowed he spends most of his time at the College. His son and daughter hence see little of him and such things as pin money for his daughter’s clothes and her come out, seem of little consequence in his busy college life. He has installed his sister at his home, as chaperone and companion to his daughter, thus relieving himself of much of the burden of parenting.
Katherine is a budding playwright and has just finished a Gothic Melodrama, which her brother Teddy is plaguing her to let him produce, at the coming Sturbridge Fair in Cambridge a well known and popular event.
The Universities of Cambridge are much against theatricals and only allow them once a year at the Fair. Katherine is worried that her father will find out that she writes, as in his opinion young Ladies need no further education than to learn to be wives and mothers. She wonders how and where she is supposed to meet her future husband, as she has not been allowed to visit her Great Aunt in London for a season, although she has been invited numerous times.
All of these problems Katherine is relating to the family Donkey as she drives with her pet Goose Gabriel, to Fairfax Hall. Having been assured that the owner is not in residence, by her friend Miss Amelia Bonner whose Mother knows all the local news. When they arrive in the grounds of the Hall, Katherine leaves the Donkey cart under a Large Oak tree and lifts Gabriel out of the cart and shoos him towards the pond. Then she begins to collect flowers, which grow in abundance near the pond, for pressing. Suddenly a voice breaks in on her peaceful gathering, asking her if she has flowers enough? Startled Katherine looks up to see a very attractive man watching her, she tells him that she often comes to the pond for the flowers and brings her pet to swim. She is told that she is trespassing, but when she gets near to the pond to call Gabriel a large dog jumps up at her and she falls into the water. Soaking wet and entangled with pond weed, she is annoyed when she sees the man is trying not to laugh at her and sharply asks him to help her out of the water, which he does. When however he sees she is shivering in her wet muslin gown he becomes concerned and takes her to his home, which is Fairfax Hall. At the Hall she is taken to the plunge bath room and invited to have a warm bath, by Lord Phillip Ramsey’s widowed sister Mrs Gisela Cheney, afterwards she is given fresh clothes to wear and a warm drink to insure that she takes no harm from her ducking in the pond.
Gisela Cheney proves to be a delightful lady and invites Katherine back to take tea the following day. Katherine’s father is also invited to visit the very fine library, which is part of Fairfax Hall. This begins a series of visits to the Hall by Katherine and her Father from which many adventures unfold. Katherine will stage her play at the Sturbridge fair with the help of Lord Ramsey, she will also find she has an unknown cousin who arrives unexpectedly and events will become involved. Katherine will be in some danger not only from her own wayward heart but from unknown persons who for some reason wish her out of the way. Watch this interesting book unravel and enjoy the journey. There are some usual events in here, a book that is a little different. I award five red roses. AS

The Pilfered Plume



It was June and the new nineteenth century had begun, it was just a year since Linnet Carlisle had fled from London with a broken heart. She had been the welcome guest at the Lakeland residence of her great-aunt Miss Edith Minton. Ivystone House was in a picturesque setting between high fells and a beautiful lake.
Linnet had been visited regularly, by her dear friend Venetia Lady Hartley, a very rich and beautiful widow of Lord Hartley, who she had married at the age of only nineteen years. It was not a happy marriage and it was a great relief to Venetia when her Lord died only one year later, she was now a very merry widow and a famed hostess. On one of these visits to Linnet, Venetia had brought her half brother with her. He was a handsome and charming companion and soon Linnet discovered her heart was no longer broken, she had fallen for the charms of Benedict Gresham, who had recently returned from madras. Both Bededict and Venetia tried in vane to entice her back to London. But the fear of coming face to face with the man who had broken her heart was still too raw. Linnet had no desire to meet Nicholas Fenton, Lord Fane, who had preferred the charms of the most famous courtesan in London, a certain Miss Judith Jordan, to her own.
The expected visit of Venetia and her brother was due and Linnet was indeed looking forward to it. Her Aunt, Miss Minton was not an admirer of Benedict Gresham, she put him down as a fortune hunter sure that he was only after Linnets fortune, but she was too wise to voice these suspicions too widely.
At last the two young people arrived and Linnet was happy to be courted by Benedict, he was very attentive and so kind that when he asked her to go back to London with him, this time Linnet agreed.
They were just a short way from Carlisle House now and Linnet and her Aunt were heartily glad that the journey was almost over. Linnet was glancing out of the window when she saw Nicholas he was riding a superb Arabian horse and looked extremely aloof and aristocratic but also very handsome, the sight of him made Linnet’s heart flutter and she, much to her annoyance trembled as he turned his head and saw her. Removing his hat he gave her an exaggerated bow, a twisted smile on his lips, she turned away as the carriage swept past him. Linnet knew that she would have to face him, but this was too soon.
Venetia soon visited Linnet and was full of plans for her entertainment, always including Great Aunt Minton in the plans. But Miss Minton declined saying she was too tired from the journey to take part in any expeditions, declaring that as a widow Venetia was well able to act as chaperone to Linnet for a day or two.
That evening much to her discomfort a letter was delivered to Linnet, Nicholas was intending to visit her, she panicked her Aunt had not left her room all day and she would not see Venetia or Benedict until later there was nothing for it she must face him alone.
The meeting was not a success Nicholas was angry that she had left London the previous year in such a hurry and obviously believed the worst of him without listening to him. Nicholas asked if Benedict had visited her when she was staying with her aunt in the Lake District, she said he had, which angered him and he demanded to know what Benedict was to her. Linnet would not answer him at first but then said that Bennedict was a very close friend They exchanged many angry words and Linnet rang for the butler to see Lord Fane out, just as a carriage stopped outside, with Venetia and Benedict in it.
Nicholas saw the carriage and strode from the room and out of the front door giving the Hartley’s a curt nod.
The evening at the theatre was spoilt for Linnet when she saw Nicholas with the Jordan woman enjoying the show.
There are many twists and turns in this Regency book and I hope that I have given you a taste for it, it is well worth reading for those who love this genre and I am sure you will enjoy this delightful story. I award this book 5 Red Roses. AS


Cotillion by Georgette Heyer

Casablanca Press/Sourcebooks Inc

Regency Romance

October 2007


288 Pages


Georgette Heyer is arguably the best writer of Regency romantic fiction. She’s inspired a legion of writers and still has the power to hold generations of readers absolutely spellbound with her captivating tales of intrigue, humour, passion and romance.

Undoubtedly, one of her finest books is the delightful Cotillion which tells the story of Catherine ‘Kitty’ Charing, a young orphan who is set to inherit a fortune for her guardian, Mr Matthew Penicuik, providing that she weds one of his great-nephews. But how could she possibly opt to marry an irascible rake like Captain Claud Rattney? Or Lord Dophinton, still tied to his mother’s apron strings, Or the useless Frederick Standon when she’s passionately in love with the dashing Jack Westruther? So Kitty hatches a devious plan which would propel her into the arms of the man she thinks she’s in love with.

But things never go quite as expected…

Georgette Heyer’s books are as wonderful today as they were when they first published. Rich in humour, romance, period details and wonderful characterization, Georgette Heyer’s Cotillion is another classic by the grande dame of the Regency romance!

Five red roses. JB

A Daughter's Secret

A Daughter’s Secret by Anne Bennett

Harper Collins


March 2008

HBN 9780007226047


A Daughter’s Secret is a gritty Birmingham saga spanning 50 years of sacrifice, heartbreak, fear, passion and survival.

For fifteen year old Agnes Sullivan, life is one long struggle. She is at the beck and call of her vicious mother, Biddy, who treats her with all the disdain of an unpaid servant, does the work of two men on the family farm and has few friends other than her brothers. When Agnes’ father arranges for the child to have Irish dancing lessons, Agnes is over moon. Finally, she’ll have the chance to get away from the farm – even if just for a little bit – and be happy. But tragedy soon strikes when the dancing master takes a shine to her and rapes her. But the shocks just keep on coming when she finds herself pregnant.

Knowing that her parents won’t support her, Agnes decides to flee away from Buncarna, in Ireland, and start a new life in England. But little does the poor Irish girl know, that she’s exchanging one prison for another, because once she sets foot in England, she inadvertently steps into a dangerous world of blackmail, prostitution and murder…

Anne Bennett has written a harrowing tale of a young girl’s struggle for survival that will tug at your heartstrings and leave you eagerly turning the pages of this mesmerizing historical saga. Anne Bennett writes in such an engaging and compelling manner, that readers cannot help but be engrossed in this spellbinding tale of misfortune, murder, fear, and ultimately, happiness.
five red roses/ JB

Tuesday 29 April 2008

Featured Author

Raven's books are all available from Red Rose Publishing and fictionwise.

Author Raven Starr is a best seller with Red Rose Publishing. She has a new short coming out in a Sheikh anthology with RRP soon. Her title is Thieves In The Night.

Francine On Fire

Francine On Fire/ Sloane Taylor/Aspen Mountain Press/157 pages/ebook

Francine is on a trip to Germany to help her friend Teddi with a charity affair. Walking into an ice-cold room after the long flight from America, Francine is confronted by the sight of a sexy young man fixing the air conditioning. For a moment her body responds but she dismisses the wild thoughts. Little does she know that Heicke is having similar thoughts himself. Francine doesn't want to get involved, even though her need is aroused when they are caught in a rainstorm on the golf course. The tension builds every time they meet but trouble is brewing in the form of a spiteful woman. If you want to find out what more lies beneath the surface you should read this for yourself.

This is a sexy, very readable and enjoyable romance. I award 4.5 red roses. Morna.

Monday 28 April 2008

A Pressing Engagement



ISBN 978-0-7090-8386-3

It is June 1790.

A young couple have just been married by a vicar, in the village of Bythorne. A marriage attended only by the vicar and his wife. The ring on the young girls finger is a Talisman ring, which has been in the young man’s family for generations. He promises her a gold ring soon but she smiles and tells him that this ring will be all she will ever want and together they set forth on their journey to a new life, unbeknown to either of their families. We hear no more of this young couple for many years.
March 1815.
Jared Talent was pushing his horses hard when suddenly the leader faltered pitching the curricle off balance, cursing beneath his breadth he managed to pull them to a standstill and jumping down examined the leader, who had thrown a shoe. He cursed again; he had only five miles to his destination but now must delay to have the horse shod. Jared knew that the Green Man was but a half-mile away, the ostler there would no doubt attend to the horse immediately for a reward from a member of the area’s most wealthy family. On arrival at the Inn it was proved to be so and Jared went into the inn to wait.
The Inn tap-room was very busy and the coffee room also was full, but spying a place at a table where a young, heavily veiled lady sat alone at her meal, he reluctantly began to move towards her table, then he saw small-unoccupied table and sat there instead. He glanced at the lady but she was so heavily veiled that is was difficult to estimate her age; he looked away as the waiter asked for his order. Jared decided on bread and cheese with a slice or two of beef and a glass of ale. While eating he thought about the message, which had brought him at such speed to be at his Grandfathers side. The old man had been well and healthy when he had left him but two weeks ago, how had a mere cold in the head apparently brought him to his deathbed?
Suddenly a man entered the room and sat down at the table with the young woman, he was a rough looking character but the young woman seemed to sway towards him intimately, which surprised Jared, then she giggled and he realised that she was slightly drunk. When the man pulled her to her feet and began to lead her from the room, Jared was disgusted by her state, especially when she fell against him as she was led from the room.
Once again back in his curricle and bowling along at a good pace he heard a sudden loud noise, he pulled up his horses he was sure that it was a gunshot he had heard. He jumped down from his curricle and saw a slight figure running towards him, there were it appeared, two larger figures in pursuit. Then he realised that it was the young woman from the Inn, seeing her face he was surprised that she was much younger than he had suspected back at the Inn. She was obviously very frightened and desperate, she stared at him and then collapsed at his feet. As he lifted her into the curricle she struggled and kept saying no, no, no. Jared had no option but to take her with him to his Grandfathers home, his opinion of her was pretty low, she was a tart he was sure but even so he could not leave her on the highway.
The next day the young lady, who is Diana st Aubin, awakes in a strange room she is suffering from a severe headache. She is summoned to attend a meeting with Jared Talent; she has very little memory of the previous night and is astounded at his attitude towards her. He is very rude to her and treats her as a low class female, even accusing her of stealing his purse at the Inn. Dianna is furious and demands that he lets her go as she is on the way to meet her young brother, having just arrived in England from France where she teaches in a young ladies seminary. He laughs at her but offers her a good reward and help to find her brother if she agrees to pretend to be betrothed to him for what he believes to be a very short time until his Grandfather dies. Will Dianna agree to this preposterous charade? Does she really have any choice? She has no money and no belongings and is entirely alone in England until she can find her brother.
What is the story behind Dianna’s plight? Is Jared correct in his assumption of her, or is he entirely wrong, where is the young brother? Watch this excellent story unfold, enjoy it’s twists and turns; it will hold your interest through to the very last page. I really enjoyed this regency romance and think it a must for lovers of this genre. I happily award this book 5 red rose. AS.

Monday 21 April 2008

The Witch and The Wolf

The Witch and The Wolf/ Marly Mathews/Concept Publishing/ebook/261 pages

This book begins at the time of the French revolution and then cuts abruptly to Napoleon’s court some years later. Here, Arabella has some idea of bewitching Napoleon into helping her, but the Wolf decides to spirit her away from court. The narrative deals with the story of Arabella’s escape to her family in England and, earlier the capture of Sandrine, her mother. Pierre, Arabella’s uncle, wants Sandrine but she hates him. Later on he kidnaps her daughter Arabella and she has to escape to England once more. This time, grown up, she is rescued from a shipwreck by the Wolf – actually an English marquis with whom she has a love/hate relationship until the end of the book. Christopher Wyndham helps her through many escapades until Pierre is finally defeated through a mixture of Arabella’s magic and the Wolf’s anger and skill.

I thought that the story was intricate with tension and excitement and there was a good relationship between the hero and heroine. Award four red roses, Morna.

Getting Naked At The Hilton

Getting Naked At The Hilton/Dee Dawning/eXtasy Books/ebook/311 pages.

When Scott first meets Rachel he is feeling mad because a girl called Carol has stood him up. However, the sparks that fly between them as he dances with this incredibly sexy lady soon makes him forget the other girl. Rachel is as attracted to Scott as he is to her, but she has been badly treated by her former lover and she needs to put Scott to the test. Despite the lust they both feel, Rachel makes Scott get naked in her room in the Hilton while banning him from touching her as they talk and get to know one another. Naturally, this can’t last long and they indulge in the first of their passionate love making scenes.

Rachel is of mixed blood and her agent Lester hurt her when he ditched her for her white girl friend and partner in their singing act. When Lester sees Rachel with Scott he wants her back and promises a big contract. Scott wants Rachel to marry him even though they’ve only known each other a few days, but she thinks it best to wait until after the new contract has finished. Desperate not to lose her, Scott is determined to make her and Chloe famous. Lester isn’t going to take this quietly but his spite may rebound on him. This book has a happy ever after ending, but not quite what you would expect in the general run of things!

This is an extremely sexy book. Well written and amusing at times in its own way, this is a book for all those who love to read about sex. I give the book five red roses but warn it is for readers over eighteen and those who like erotica. Linda

Friday 18 April 2008


Mis-Staked/J Morgan/Champagne Books/ebooks/358 pages

This fantastic book is – according to him! – written by Stud L. Monkey and the tone is irreverent and extremely funny. Breathred owns the chimp, which talks and speaks of his master with affectionate contempt. At the beginning of the book, Breathred seems to be one of those unfortunate souls who can never do anything right. Perhaps because of his love for comic books, Breathred has decided to become a vampire slayer and has advertised to that effect. His first job leaves him out of pocket and with egg on his face. However, his girl friend Luna, with whom he has never yet got past kissing, recommends him for a job and they all team up to go looking for the Mother Vampire’s tomb – a high priestess of the Vampires and very dangerous. The legend says that if the Mother ever returns from the grave, she will wreak havoc on the world – but hey, who believes legends?

Leopold is a Vampire of about three hundred years old. He wants a sacrifice to bring back the Mother, because he hopes to take her power and rule the world despite being warned off by a senior Vamp. Breathred is meant to be the sacrifice, because he is a pure soul and very rare in this world. However, the first attempt to capture Breathred goes wrong, because he suddenly develops real Vampire slaying techniques and manages with Luna and Stud’s help to kill the two Vamps sent to get him. Nothing daunted, the friends join up with the team to discover Mother Vampire’s tomb. There are many mysteries in this story, not least – who or what lies in Breathred’s past?

This extremely talented author goes into the kind of detail few others dare and brings tears to your eyes with his wicked humour – ranging from Breathred’s first awareness that he would like to do more than kiss his girlfriend to the chimp being mistaken for a filmstar. I loved the humour and feel it would make a great film. Be sure not to miss reading this brilliantly funny book! Besides the humour there is a terrific mystery to solve.

I am not sure that America appreciates yet the treasure it has in comic genius J. Morgan, but it will!

This book deserves a bouquet of red roses, Linda.

Tuesday 15 April 2008

Black Lace

Black Lace by Christy Poff

Published by Whiskey Creek Press

ISBN: 978-1-60313-045-5

233 pages

Reed is a hardworking firefighter that hasn’t had a lot of luck in relationships. After a one night stand with Lynne he has finally met Chelsea, the woman of his dreams. Chelsea is everything he has ever wanted and more.

Chelsea can’t believe the sparks that fly when she meets Reed. After their first date she knows Reed is what she has been searching for. Surprised at how fast her feelings for him have turned deeper she knows he is worth anything for a chance at a lasting love.

The problems start when Reed’s one night stand refuses to let him go. Reed is learning what happens to a woman that doesn’t understand when things are over. He has to find out how to protect Chelsea or he just may lose her for good.

What happens when a woman scorned has her sights set on you? One that has always been protected by her rich daddy and believes she can do whatever she wants. Reed is finding out the hard way. Now Chelsea is in Lynne’s sights and is in a great deal of danger. To find the happiness Reed and Chelsea want together they are going to have to find a way to get Lynne out of their life once and for all. But how far will they have to go to accomplish this?

Reed might lose everything that he loves, Chelsea and his job as a firefighter. He needs to find a way to make Lynne stop before it is too late. To stop her before her insanity consumes all. How far will one person go to protect all that he loves?

The story is very intriguing. The suspense doesn’t stop until the very end of the book. It will have you rooting for Reed and Chelsea as they deal with a nightmare that is almost unimaginable. You will be on the edge of your seat as you try to find out what will happen next and wondering who will come out the winner. This book is hard to put down once you start to read. Definitely a must have.

I give this one 5 red roses.

Friday 11 April 2008


Obsession by Jean Roberta

Eternal Press

ISBN: 978-0-9804581-6-9

171 pages

A book that has a little something for everyone. A compilation of several short stories that are very hot. Each story is stand alone and can be read in any order.

Lady of the Moon is the first story and is fun to read with all the different types of paranormal characters. Dragons and other paranormal aspects make it a truly interesting read.

Other stories are a little dark but still hold the readers interest. Whatever your taste in erotica this book will have what you want.

A few of the stories I would have liked to see a more conclusive ending. I would have preferred to learn how the characters resolve their predicaments and answer the questions that still remain.

I give this one 3-1/2 red roses.

Thursday 3 April 2008

The Unaccomplished Lady Eleanor




This story begins in Nottingham in May 1815, Lady Eleanor Myres has been made very miserable by the appearance of her new stepmother Hester at the family home, Merryoaks.
Eleanor and her father had been very close for as long as she could remember, her mother having died when Eleanor was but eleven years old. They had shared poetry together, debated on the politics of the time and ridden together putting, all the less important details such as young ladies accomplishments, fashionable clothes and the more gentle arts taught to young ladies, to the back of their minds. But to Eleanor her life had been perfect, until her dour stepmother had moved into their home and spoilt everything. She had informed Eleanor that with a total lack of any of the accomplishments a young lady would need to find a husband she would likely be an old maid. To which Eleanor had replied that she was quite happy to remain unmarried and live at Merryoaks, Hester was not impressed with her answer and stated that she could not live with them forever.
So Eleanor was in a coach on her way to stay with her Godmother Lady Ormiston in Whitlock Castle, a grey and depressing place just a few miles from London.. Banished from her beloved Merryoaks to learn to be a lady ready to married off to any suitor that could be found for her, whether she liked him or not, the thought made her shiver.
The little that Eleanor could remember of her Godmother was not hopeful; it was of a booming voice and a terrifying elderly and stern lady. At last they had arrived and the coach drew to a shuddering halt, Eleanor peered out of the window to see the enormous illuminated castle cold and eerie surrounded by mist, the sight made her shiver and her heart sunk. Eleanor thought of the last time she had stayed at the castle, it had been six years before, when she was thirteen; she had broken her ankle when falling from a tree. Lady Ormiston had been exasperated with her tomboyish behaviour and had warned her father that he should take a stern hand with his daughter if she was ever to become a lady. After that stay they had not visited the Castle again much to her great relief. Eleanor’s heart sunk even lower and she felt her body chill, if only she could turn around and go home.
Standing in the great hall she was given directions to find her room, by Giles the stern looking butler. Staring around at the stately forbidding hall Eleanor wanted to run away, but to where? She had not been attending to the directions given to her so when Giles walked away with his last words ringing in her ears, Lady Orminston would expect her in the Drawing room in half an hour, she almost panicked, but pulling herself together she started forward to try and find her room wishing that she had paid more attention to Giles instructions. When she at last found her way she was pleasantly surprised in the room she had been given it was newly decorated light and airy, perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad here for a while after all. But this lightening of her spirits was not to last for long, on the way back to finding the Drawing room she some how managed bump into a very rude young man who it turned out to be is her Godmother’s nephew. He laughs at her as her Godmother berates her for being so clumsy. Eleanor hopes that she doesn’t have to see much of this young man, but as he lives at the castle that is a vain hope.
Things are to go from bad to worse as her Godmother embarrasses her in front of other guests in the evening. Pulling not only her old outdated clothes to pieces but also her character, Eleanor is very lonely and desperately longs to go home to Merryoaks.
Can Eleanor possibly find happiness at the dreadful castle and with the people who are living or staying there, will she be married off to the first man to ask for her hand, whoever he is? I have really enjoyed this unusual regency romance with some very surprising events and wholeheartedly recommend it to all regency lovers.
I award this book 5 Roses AS

The Secrets Of The Cave

The Secrets of the Cave
Phillipa Bowers
Piatkus Books
ISBN 978-0-7499-3879-6
262 Pages
Paperback £12.99

Betty Barnes has the same powers to ‘see’ as her sister Kate. However she dislikes living in the country and is a difficult child causing problems for their grandmother as well as Kate. At school she is rebellious and unhappy, some of it caused by the bullying over her sister because Kate is living in sin. Betty dreams of being on the stage and runs off to London after a quarrel with her sister, but life is hard for a young girl alone and she drifts into bad ways.

After being deserted by her lover and losing her beloved daughter in a terrible accident, Betty returns home to help when Kate is ill. Now she becomes aware of her duty to the cave. She is one of a long line of wise women who must care for the secrets of the cave. Gradually, Betty may find happiness and in time wrongs that were done her are righted.

This is a powerful, involving book that makes you want to keep reading right to the end. The author interweaves stories from the past with the present and produces a complex picture that commands your senses and haunts you when the book is done. Award, five red roses. Morna

Tuesday 1 April 2008

Bare Bones

Bare Bones by Aline de Chevigny / Red rose Publishing/ ebook

Joanna refuses to believe that Christian is dead. Everyone else may have come to that conclusion but she won’t give up the hope that he will come back home. To prove everyone wrong she goes to the last place he was believed to be alive. It has been almost a year since Christian disappeared while talking to Joanna on his sat phone. Joanna is even more upset since their last conversation was an argument.

Joanna has always thought of Christian as her best friend until he was suddenly gone from her life. Realizing that her feelings have always been deeper she sets out to find him – dead or alive.

Sensing she is being followed but not sure what or who, she tries not to let her fear show. She refuses to leave the woods Christian had loved without an answer. Talking to herself and admitting her feelings Joanna doesn’t realize she has been overheard.

While searching a clearing she finds an object that convinces Joanna that Christian was there at least at some point. It also shows her that he loved her too. With this evidence she is more determined than ever to find the answers she is looking for. Will it be the answer she is hoping for?

This was a fun book to read. The characters were very engrossing. This is a short story that is very entertaining.

I give this one 4 red roses