Christmas Awards 2011

Tuesday 31 March 2009

Lord Braybrook's Penniless Bride

Elizabeth Rolls

Lord Braybrook’s Penniless Bride

Harlequin Mills & Boon Historical

ISBN 978-0-263-86777-0

Paperback £3.79

This excellent Regency features a character that has appeared in previous books by an outstanding author. Christy Daventry is on the point of being cast penniless into the street because her charming rogue of a brother has sold the house. When Julian, Lord Braybrooke, comes to investigate rumors about her brother, he finds her peculiarly endearing and driven by an impulse unlike himself offers her a post as governess to his half-sister and companion to his stepmother.

Christy knows that as a governess and companion she can never be a part of the family nor is she one of the servants. She must live an in-between life, neither one nor the other, but Lady Braybrooke is so kind that she finds her herself drawn into an enchanted circle, which is dangerous. She is falling in love with her employer but he sees her as mistress material. When he proposes because of a disastrous kiss that causes a scandal, Christy feels that he can never love her. Can she ever hope to find true happiness?

This is a highly sensual and passionate tale. I found it compelling, keeping the reader glued to the page to the very last word. Another excellent story from this acclaimed international best selling author. Five red roses. Linda Sole

Monday 30 March 2009

Slave Girl

Slave Girl by Sheniqua Waters

Red Rose Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-60435-185-9

Pages: 320

Cairo, Egypt & Constantinople 1452 AD

Laila has always been happy living with her mother and aunts. Being able to go down by the Nile River where she has a special place to sit and look out over the river. On this particular day her mother told her not to go but she needs time to herself to think about the argument with her mother regarding it being time to wed. Laila doesn’t like the boy that her parents picked for her as a child. She wants someone that will love her and someone she has a chance at happiness with.

Thinking the worst occurrence to worry about in her life is her impending marriage. Events have taken a turn for the worst. Taking a short nap by the river and thinking about what her mother has said has gotten her into big trouble. Waking up she finds a man, a slave trader, standing over her who is looking for potential victims. As soon as he sees her he begins anticipating a big profit when he sells Laila as a slave. Not understanding at first what he is after, she soon finds herself in a great deal of trouble. The man is about to take her and make some money by selling her as a slave in the slave markets.

Kudar al Numan is trying to help out his father by delivering a message to his father’s friend and guest, Ibrahim, the Emir of Karamania. While trying to deliver the message to Ibrahim, who is at the slave market to find a new slave for his daughter, Zora, Kudar is literally run over by a girl running from the slave platform. While trying to protect the girl from being injured in a fall he gets his first look at Laila.

Kudar never anticipates seeing the slave girl again but soon finds out that she was bought by Ibrahim. Seeing how badly she is treated by Zora he decides to try to rescue Laila so she is not further abused. Thinking that by rescuing her from her owners, Laila will be grateful to him and would be willing to do anything to show her gratitude. He soon finds that she might be grateful but that doesn’t mean she will go to lengths beyond what she feels is appropriate to repay him.

Laila is about to teach Kudar that there is more to life than just his wants. He is about to learn that he has to take into consideration what others may want or need. They are both about to learn a lesson in love that neither one saw coming. But they are going to have to decide if what they have is going to be worth the fight it is going to take to hang on to it.

Will their love be able to stand against all obstacles? Or will it fall victim to the sense of family tradition and expectations? Only time will be able to tell.

This is a great book that is set in a time of turmoil. The story is full of a time and place that is rich with history and that takes you to the era and lets you see that time period come to life. This book is worth reading for the history alone but is made more intriguing by the characters as they determine what is more important – what they want or what the traditions of the day are. Kudar is a sympathetic character as he decides if he is going to go along with the traditions of his family or do what his right for him.

I give this one 4 red roses.

Sunday 29 March 2009

Interview with Mistress Rae

An Interview with Mistress Rae

Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Editor/Publisher of Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine (which landed 2nd place at the P&E Readers Poll for 2008--I’m so proud of it! Lol!) http://BloodTouch.Webs.Com/darkgothicmagazine.htm and I also publish a bi-annual anthology comprised of members of my Gratista Vampire Clan Yahoo Group-- http://Bloodtouch.Webs.Com/clananthologies.htm. I’m always busying myself with writing projects. I recently got married in October last year, and have 2 four-legged kids, Hades and Chaos--and they were named that for a reason, lol!

What do you write?
Dark paranormal romance, and horror. Occasionally I do dark humor as well. I define ‘dark paranormal romance’ as not always being some big, bed of roses where everything MUST have a happy ending; that’s not realistic to me. There’s elements of suspense, tension, conflict and horror around the romance parts. I’m not saying my stories don’t have happy endings to situations they deal with, because they do. I try to keep it an even mix of everything, lol.

Why do you write?
For the LOVE of it! Lol. It’s my escape from mundane reality. It’s awesome to have an audience too, of course! I love hearing how much people like what I write!

What are you writing now?
I’m currently working on my latest dark paranormal romance series, “ABRAXAS”, which starts when a young woman is attacked in an alley by vampires. This ‘awakens’ her newfound abilities, and introduces her to a dark world within her city, and to a stunning gentleman who shares the same powers as her. To her surprise, though, he’s twice her age. She also inherits a ‘family’--a lively medley of young adults who reside in his mansion. They encounter all sorts of demons, witches, even zombies. As the series continues, more characters will be introduced, including more vampire clans and creatures. You can find free downloads and read excerpts and trailers at http://BloodTouch.Webs.Com/abraxas.htm

What kind of clothes do you like to wear?
Anything black, or a combination of black and burgundy, or black and purple. You might catch me haunting a Hot Topic store on occasion. Mostly I like to make my own Gothy clothes.

Are you in love? Have you ever been?
Yes, I’m in love with my hubby, lol. Love has been a tough road for me; my previous failures-for-boyfriends proving themselves to be very destructive dream-killers, which stunted my ability to ‘love’, and gave me very jaded views on it. Too bad I didn’t meet my hubby sooner!

Do you have a dream lover – and what does he or she look like?
I’ve encountered ‘dream lovers’ only twice in my life. Once in my twenties, and again just last year. Their looks are too ethereal to describe, but one thing that stands out was their eyes, almost glowing, and very piercing. And both had dark hair. While with them, I felt what I believed to be true love and joy, and after waking up, I felt a great sense of emptiness and loss as I never encountered them again.

What kind of comfort food do you like best?
Vanilla ice-cream, strawberries and whipped cream, and those gold-foiled, Ferrero-Rocher chocolates! If I don’t watch it, I can eat half a box in one sitting!

What makes you laugh? Cry?
I can’t think of any specific thing that makes me laugh. It’s something usually on-the-spot. Death makes me cry. An innocent getting hurt or killed makes me cry. The way humanity acts towards each other these days makes me cry.

What do you do to amuse yourself when not working?
I love watching old horror movies--I’m a big Vincent Price fan, lol. A lot of Roger Corman’s movies that starred Price have certain quality, style and ‘class’ that is sorely lacking in today’s so-called ‘horror’ flicks!

What is it in a man or woman that turns you on? The clean version please!
Their kindness, the way they treat me, their wit and intelligence.

What do you hate about life?
The continuing racism, bigotry, prejudices, political lies and wars. That’s MORE than enough to get under my skin.

What do you hope to achieve in life and when will you know that you have been a success?
I’d love to get one of my books made into a movie or television series, lol. That would definitely be a sure sign of success!

What are you going to write next?
Even I don’t know that yet, lol. I’ll just continue with my ABRAXAS series until my muse tells me to stop!

Wednesday 25 March 2009

Lady Sabrina's Secret




ISBN9 978-0-7090-8657-4

Mrs Deborah Marchant, twenty seven years old and a widow for three years, struggled to fight her tears. It was a wild, windy day in March and Deborah was watching the angry sea. The bitter March wind whipping up enormous waves, it was on just such a day that her young ,Navel Captain husband and his entire crew, had been cruelly snatched by the relentless sea, after only three gloriously happy years of married life. Their dreams of filling the Manor with lots of happy children had died with him and so had the Marchant name, as there were no boys in the family to carry on the line. Wheeling her horse around she rode wildly back to the village and the sanctity of her home, ST Mary Magna.

Every one in the house knew their mistress’s sorrow and they all felt very sad for her, especially as it was the very day on which the tragedy had happened, three years before.

A package had been delivered for her that morning, which she had not yet seen. Her butler Brigg’s had given her a few minutes to compose herself on her return, before mentioning the package. He had taken tea to a sitting room for her and then he gave her the package. Deborah was surprised as it was from her brother who never ever contacted her by letter he was used to turn up whenever he felt like it, with no prior warning. Which was not very often because he was annoyed with her for still being in mourning after three years and refusing to join in any entertainments in London or anywhere else, preferring to live a quiet retired life in her beloved St Mary’s Magna, on the Dorset coast.

Deborah undid the package and was startled by what she read there, her brother was about to be arrested for theft and he had decided to disappear to avoid this, although he swore that he was innocent of the crime. But he wanted to safeguard the reputation of a certain lady he named only as Sabrina, the love of his life and as innocent as a babe, so he stated. Also in the package was a beautiful gold pocket watch, surrounded by pearls and diamonds and was inscribed with the message To My Beloved Richard my love always, the tenth of March 1811. Deborah frowned that was only one week ago, what could have happened? What had taken place in Bath, where her Brother had been staying with their lifetime friends, Henry and Jenny Masterson and their Aunt, Mrs McNeil?

Deborah was devastated by what she had read and after only a few minutes she decided that she must go to Bath to clear her Brother’s name and find out about this mysterious Sabrina, how she had no idea but she was determined to succeed. Her own misery pushed aside, she must not let her brother down, although he had not asked for her help, just asking her to keep his treasured watch safe at St Mary Magna.

The next morning Deborah set off for Bath, determined to solve this mystery. Upon reaching Bath her coach was involved in an accident with another coach which was being driven much too fast and was hogging the road. After exchanging very angry words with the driver of the other vehicle Deborah decided he was the rudest man she had ever met and hoped she might never meet him again. This was not to be unfortunately it was to become one of many angry meetings she was to have with the Duke of Gretton. The journey she was to have in Bath to try to clear her brother’s name was to be involved with intrigue and treachery and some heart break.

Can Deborah solve this mystery and clear her brother’s name and herself learn to live again. This novel grabs you from the first page until the last, I could not put it down, it has all the ingredients needed for a good Historical Romance, I loved it and cannot praise it too much. I award this book five Red Roses PLUS, it is a lovely story which I know I shall read again and again AS.

Saturday 21 March 2009

Lady Jane's Ribbons






London in 1820 was a somewhat divided city, there were riots in the streets, some supporting the Queen, Caroline of Brunswick, who had taken a low born Italian lover and had been exiled to the continent by her husband. Others supported the King, who was also guilty of taking lovers. The majority of the people could overlook the Kings lapses, but not so for the Queen. Caroline had been offered money to stay away from England but she had decided to return and claim her place as Queen of England.

The noise outside of Lady Jane Derwent’s bedroom window made her fling her bedclothes back off of the bed as she heard windows being smashed, it was a frightening experience especially as her brother Henry, was not in the house. She looked out of her window being careful to stay behind the curtains, the street was full of the Queen’s supporters, for she had just returned to England and was staying with Sir Matthew Wood, a neighbour of Sir Henry’s. As the crowd cheered, because the Queen had appeared on the Balcony opposite to Lady Jane’s window, Sir Henry’s curricle came smartly down the street. Jane held her breath, would his curricle be safe in this volatile gathering. But as the carriage drew to a halt and two men alighted the crowd turned and cheered them. Jane drew a breath of relief, but when she recognized her brother’s companion her heart stood still and she drew back from the window, hoping that she had not been seen.

The man with her brother was the very person she had flown from six months ago. She had been briefly engaged to Lewis Ardenly, but after receiving a visit from Lewis’s mistress, Alicia the Duchess of Brantingham informing her that he had only offered for Jane because it was his dying father’s wish, she had ended the engagement and retreated home to Cheshire, to mend a broken heart.

Jane caught her breath she knew that she must face Lewis sooner or later but on her very first day back, it was too much. However she realized that they must have seen her light through the open curtains, so she dressed quickly and descended the stairs, her heart pounding in her chest. She knew that she still loved him and always would, no matter what he had done, but he must never be allowed to guess it.

Charles Moncarm Marquis of Bourrton, who was her brother’s closest friend, was very much in love with Jane and although she liked him as a friend, she knew she could not marry him as she was still in love with Lewis. During her time in London Charles was to ask her several times to be his wife, but she had not come back to London to be courted, she had come back to try to persuade her brother to stop neglecting his FiancĂ©e Blanche Lyndon in favour of his coaching madness. Jane was sure that Henry really did love Blanche but she knew that because of his seeming indifference to her, Blanche’s father was pushing a certain Lord Dursley, who was a known fortune hunter and libertine, in her way.

Henry’s madness for coaching was causing Blanche much unhappiness Jane knew and she determined to try to teach him a lesson. There was a coaching race to be run from London to Brighton, with a prize of £50,000 put up by Sir Henry Derwent himself. Mr. Chapman and Sir Henry Derwent were so far the only two entrants. Mr. Chapman was an unscrupulous person and played many dirty tricks on Rival coaching businesses, trying to put them out of business. Both of the contestants had new coaches being built and they were being kept very secret. How was Jane going to teach her brother a lesson she puzzled, without letting the unscrupulous Mr. Chapman win the prize. It was a question to which she must find an answer and quickly too if she was to save Henry’s engagement to Blanche.

There are many hurdles for Jane to negotiate before she can attain her goal. While she is trying to save her brother from his foolhardiness she also has to determine the needs of her own heart, life is not easy for Jane and she has many setbacks before she can at last find peace and hopefully happiness. This book is somewhat different and delves into the coaching lines which were the most popular way of travel in this age. I hope that you will read this book from a very popular author and enjoy it as I have. I award this book 5 Red Roses. AS

Friday 6 March 2009

A Modern Vampire

A Modern Vampire by Anne Ireland

Amira Press

ISBN: 978-1-935348-17-7

Pages: 57

Jenna Marsh has worked hard to become the head of her family’s business, Marsh Institute. Jenna has worked very hard for her family and the company. She knows as long as the company succeeds then vampires around the world will be able to live in the daylight and have fuller lives. Being a vampire herself she knows how difficult it can be to live in the real world. She has one problem that everyone is telling her to take care of. Someone is trying to find out the truth about their kind and that could lead to a lot of problems if the world finds out there really are vampires.

Vinnie Paige is a researcher who is being paid to find out the truth about vampires. In all his research about all things paranormal he has found some very old references to vampires. Vinnie is one the best researchers in this field. Vinnie has been trying to find out more information on the Marsh Company but keeps coming up against a firewall in their system. He has come close but so far hasn’t been able to find out what he needs to.

Jenna knows Vinnie is trying to get into their systems but is hesitant about permanently stopping him. There is something about him that keeps drawing her to him. But she doesn’t understand how a human can make her feel so strongly about them. As if that wasn’t enough to deal with she has a rogue vampire that is starting to draw attention to them. The vampire needs to be stopped but first she has to figure out who it is and get the evidence necessary to take to the council so the vampire can be stopped.

Now if only Jenna could get things to work out things just might start looking up.

This is a really good book that you hate to see end. It has a different twist on vampires that makes it new and fresh and brings new things to all things vampire. I enjoyed the way the author’s idea of how vampires came to be. This is one worth reading.

I give this one 5 red roses

Sunday 1 March 2009

His Captive Lady

His Captive Lady
Carol Townend
Harlequin Mills & Boon
Paperback 281 pages

Saewulf Bader is half Saxon, half Norman but he has given his loyalty to his Norman overlord, hoping to be made a knight and given land for his service. Asked to spy on the Saxons, who are his mother’s people, Wulf cannot help feeling a little guilty. When he sees the beautiful Lady Erica being threatened with a terrible retribution because of a bloodfeud, Wulf neglects his duty to save her. At first Erica does not want to be saved by a man she believes may be a Saxon bastard, but Wulf’s kindness and care for her win her heart.

However, once she discovers that he is a hated Norman there can be nothing more between them, even if she were to overlook his low birth. Is there any way in which the barriers between them can be overcome and will Wulf ever attain his ambition to be a knight.

This is a beautiful love story set in times that were extremely important for England and led to the laws and the country we know today. Well researched and written this book was entertaining to the last. This talented author has produced a book that deserves to be recognised. Five red roses, Linda Sole