Friday, 15 November 2013

Latest Historical Review - Regency Romance & Murder Mystery

 


 
 
Reviewed by Fran
 
1812, England:

Annabelle Lady Marchant has seemingly acquired psychic foresight, but is it a gift or a curse? Foresight is one thing, to fail in predicting the course of imminent murder another, thus the sceptics have seized the day and Annabelle is no longer the belle of London society. Nonetheless, the widow of the deceased, undaunted by gossip, has sought Annabelle's help in setting free a restless spirit within her Cheshire home. Her son, Rufus Earl of Terrance, faced with the dire task of proving himself innocent of having murdered his father, is already en route to Cheshire. So too, is Annabelle.

The manner in which Annabelle and Rufus happen to cross paths sets precedence for friction and future altercation, and he's damned if he'll have the psychic witch under his roof. What is more, the earl, rightly or wrongly, has acquired a rather unsavoury title from amidst his estate workers and estate tenants. Steadfast in standing her ground, Annabelle determines his behaviour as outlandish and crude, and all rather amusing when she and his mother outsmart him. As time passes the sparks between Annabelle and Rufus become less prone to scorching each other's pride and prejudices, and instead fires of the heart burn with equal measure. Even as love takes hold neither is willing to concede defeat in either of their individual quests. Spirits of the dead are all the while revealing hidden truths with unsettling frequency, until the villain is finally unmasked. A beastly Scandal is a delightful tale involving murder, mystery and paranormal elements that are sometimes amusing and often heart-rending.
 
 
Amazon

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Latest Historical Review

 
 
 
 
Reviewed by Nigella.
 
 
Lord Love a Duke.
It would seem - though I cannot be sure - the author set out to allude to the old English idiom ‘Lord Luv a Duck' within in her title. At least, I hope that was the overall intention. The idiom itself ‘Lord Luv a Duck‘ means ‘stunned or dismayed!’
 
The novel is almost literary word perfect. However, the essay style of the text left a little to be desired, as did head-hopping from character to character. Again forgivable because the novel is well written. The dialogue is crisp and humorous. The overall plot is a tried and tested popular Regency storyline. Fortunately Ms Reynolds spins a good and original yarn, in which the young duke of Dorset lives in hope of seeing his sister betrothed. In order to achieve his aim he plans a country house party and invites potential suitors for Miranda to choose from. His sister is a feisty minx and has plans of her own to outwit her brother. At the start of this novel I found the duke's situation and that of his sister rather amusing.  Sadly, at the point where I began to warm to the duke’s capricious sister Miranda, she shouts 'Bugger off!' to her brother. This incident spoilt the read and threw me out of the Regency era. Unwilling to cast the novel aside I did read on as the duke's family, friends and guests are gambolling along in horse drawn carriages en route for Sussex. All are destined for a country house. On arrival Miranda schemes and conjures pranks in order to humiliate her brother. Her friend Lady Juliet is little better. Goaded by Miranda, Juliet exploits all avenues to play further silly jokes on Miranda's brother. Miranda in the meanwhile outsmarts ardent suitors and Juliet falls madly in love with the duke. The duke is likewise smitten and idolises Juliet. And there comes the happy ever after! The rest of the characters are adult in nature and the end is fittingly sweet. I rate Lord Love a Duke as a rollicking sweet YA Regency romp.
 
IMHO Lord Luv a Duck stunned and dismayed with Miranda's first 'bugger off!' Miranda sadly swore time and time again and all sense of her as a titled Regency lady fell by the wayside.       
 
 
Amazon


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Latest Contemporary Romantic Suspense

 
 
 
 
Reviewed by Charlotte.
 
This is an American FBI based romantic suspense. We’re given a female agent - a complex stalker, and a classic covert romance budding between fellow agents. Thankfully that’s not all the author has given the reader. The heroine, Jess, has emotional problems linked to her past. Her love interest, Tom, similarly has a past he would rather forget. Neither reveals their covert feelings for one another, and I rather liked the way the author enlightens the reader to their innermost thoughts. This could easily have turned into a tired old cliché plot of agents shooting their way through crisis after crisis, then falling in love and straight off to bed. Ms Ford, though, luckily spins a little magic into her story with a dead agent brought back to life. And so the plot thickens. But who is watching Jess besides a dead agent, and who is stalking her? The more Jess puzzles over gathered evidence the more she fears the outcome. What is worse, the killer knows her name. Ordered off the case, Jess retreats to a safe haven. Jess is far from safe. Tom is far from safe. And the hero of the day is far from the expected hero. Well done Ms Ford for putting a jolly good twist in this tale. As a debut novelist I sense Ms Ford’s writing will grow with each new book she undertakes to write.
 
 
Amazon


Monday, 21 October 2013

Latest Contemporary Review





Riding a Strong Wind by Robertson Tait

Reviewed by Fran.
 
In this diverse collection of contemporary short stories and that of a novelette, a romantic whirlwind takes hold to whisk a reader through airport lounges, sporting activities, and a scary adventure as the varied and delightful stories unfold. From Amsterdam to Rome to Scotland and notable beach resorts: the journey brings to life the places; the scenery and atmosphere; the-eyes-across-the-room scenarios; and of course love, the ever enduring ingredient for any great romance novel. All the stories equal merit in their own right, and my particular favourites happened to be that of Barra (Scotland) and the Amalfi incident (not unlike a return visit for moi to the delights and perils of this region), but which of these delightful stories will stand out for you and make you laugh, near cry or just sigh? This is a perfect book for beach, late night, or coffee break reading.
 

Monday, 30 September 2013

Repost of Historical Review - Republished Edition!

 

 


Reviewed by Fran

Set in 1780, Ranulph Lord Charing, is the ideal hero. Tending arrogant, a man of means with a mistress to boot, of hawkish good looks and superb horseman, he suddenly finds himself attracted to the delightfully charming Celeste Armitage. Torn between duty to a long-standing mistress and desire for young Celeste, he commits the unthinkable in wild moment of rash indulgence. News of his interest in Celeste soon stretches beyond the confines of Hazeledene House: thus listened to with vindictive intent by his mistress.

 

Forced by circumstance of a dead man’s debt and his mistress’ cunning, Ranulph has no choice but to sacrifice his own happiness and that of Celeste’s. And, without spoiling the plot, I can tell you there are twists and turns aplenty as truths come to light and debts are settled, though not without heartache and much soul searching as Ranulph sets out to counter his mistress’ hold upon him.

 
Amazon

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Latest Historical Review

 
 
 
The Dark Marquis – Regency Romance & Murder Mystery Series
 
 
Reviewed by Suzy.
 
A well-written intelligent Regency Romance. It was a refreshing change to read a romance where the opening scene is missing the ubiquitous angst driven heroine bleating and berating the hero. Ms Howarth instead focuses reader attention with a duel at dawn and a chilling outcome. The hero survives his injury as he must for the story to continue. The death of his opponent however is totally unexpected. The action-packed scene sets the pace for further macabre deaths leading to a deeply disturbing murder mystery, with several of the leading characters as the prime suspects. All have committed vile deeds in the past. Heartfelt defence put forth failed to exonerate their actions. Although the heroine [Estelle] has a feisty nature she’s loveable and vulnerable as all women were to the rules and regulations of Regency society. Mistresses within the haute ton conducted themselves in discreet manner. Mistresses from the lower order of the ton crossed the divide at their peril. Estelle has no title. Lady Caroline does. One is a lady, the other not. They both want the same man. I really did like the Marquis of Rantchester. His love for Estelle touches the heart in so many ways and I forgave him his one misdemeanour while in company with Caroline as does Estelle. He redeems himself with true heroic gallantry and the seductive Lady Caroline meets with a suitable humbling end. Without a shadow of doubt I rate this Regency Murder mystery a five star read all the way from beginning to end. The characters are strong. The plot is tightly woven. The murders are cleverly linked leading to a surprise villain. The romance is enduring. The language of the narrative is unique in portrayal of Regency England 1819.  
 
 
Amazon

Friday, 20 September 2013

Latest Historical Review - A Traditional Regency Romance

 
Her Grace in Disgrace by Claudia Harbaugh
The Widows of Woburn Place Book 1
 
 
 
 
 
Reviewed by Charlotte.
 
 
Her Grace in Disgrace is a first-class debut novel bearing elements of literary merit. The dialogue is crisp, the prose Austenesque in style. However there are inevitable downsides with omniscient head-hopping and a larger than average cast of peripheral characters. Throughout the convoluted storyline it becomes abundantly clear characters are destined to star in future books. The opening chapter starts well in lending reader sympathy to the recently widowed heroine. Her downfall during the reading of her late departed’s will is heart-rending, until it is later revealed her status as duchess came to fruition by feminine guile. From that point onward I quite disliked Isobel. She never really redeemed herself in my eyes, not even as a miraculously reformed benefactor to downfallen widows. Her scheming ways and blatant abuse of her would-be suitor and close friend Lord Saybrooke, simply damned her. I kept hoping and praying a nice girl would steal his heart and spirit him out of Isobel’s reach. Alas the sick fool lost all sense of reason in a fit of jealousy and succumbed to the inevitable. Needless to say my heart lay entirely with Lord Saybrooke, and may God save his soul from ruination at Isobel’s hands. Reviewer asides - There are many individual stories within this novel and really impossible to review each in turn. However, if you are inclined to multi-layered novels and a self-indulgent protagonist then Isobel is for you. I despised her. For all that said ‘Her Grace in Disgrace’ is a very good read.
 


Thursday, 19 September 2013

Latest Chick-Lit



Reviewed by Francine
In this Christmas Romance novella seasonal cheer abounds, until Trish Ackerly spies a demon from her childhood standing outside gawping at the festive display fronting her bakery shop. Although murderous thoughts instantly leap to mind, as he steps inside she bottles-out on courage and leaves her partners' in pastry crime to face Ian Rafferty, hunk extraordinaire: the very cause of childhood embarrassment and heartache Trish would give almost anything to avenge.
Lo & Behold it is her artistic ability that has caught Ian’s eye rather than that of chocolate Yule logs and Christmas sweetmeats. Hence, the chance to enact revenge soon wins in the “shall-I, shan’t-I, dare-I stakes” because Trish bears no resemblance to the butt of his past teasing ways, and when he fails to recognise her she’s raring to cause Rafferty grief in a way he won’t forget in a hurry. Needless to say emotions run high for Trish in fulfilling Ian’s commission to render his house with festive cheer, and while he fails to equate the glamorous Trish Acker (nom de plume) with Patricia Ackerly the girl now woman torments him big time. Believe it, this is a delightfully funny and entertaining read with a lovely little twist!
This novella is due for release Nov 1st 2013 - point of sale to follow.


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Latest Historical Romance

 
 
 

Reviewed by Francine

This is a fast paced romance and the author avoids the pitfalls of tedious blow-by-blow accounts of domesticity and duly throws the reader into the emotional world of a young love-struck teenage Danielle, and of Marie who with the gift of foresight predicts heartache for Danielle in the near future. And true enough the love of Danielle’s life, Etienne Blouin, an honourable young man whom recognises her willingness to succumb to his inner desires is tempted by her blossoming charms. With much regret and steel resolve he knows he must walk away for he cannot dare ask for her hand nor provide for her in the manner to which she is due.
The story then leaps forward ten years, and Danielle de Cherbourg is living a privileged and extravagant lifestyle of a countess, or is she? Nothing is quite as it seems for her husband’s seedy murder reveals the extent of his gambling debts, and although Danielle is forced to don widow’s weeds her heart has always pined for Etienne. Unbeknown to Danielle, Etienne returns to honour a promise made in secret and willingly steps up to pay her husband’s debts. Vexed by his seeming indifference and heart again broken, to her chagrin her aunt has set in motion an arranged marriage to a man Danielle despises. But, whilst travelling by coshe highwaymen save her from the plight of her impending marriage only to cast her into another more terrifying likelihood and dark void of unconsciousness. Upon her awakening aboard ship she fears the worst, and believes the captain is a trader of white slaves to the Turks: a fate worse than death. So is her doom that of a sex slave to a Turkish merchant or Sultan? Buy the book and find out.
 
 
Amazon


Monday, 9 September 2013

Latest Historical Romance


 
Charity's Heart by Sophia Diana Gabel 


Reviewed by Nigella.

The author describes with great flourish how dark and dangerous the streets are in her Victorian England of 1888. I like the way Ms Gabel puts forth the chilling reality Jack-the-Ripper is at large on the streets of London. It adds extra thrill when Charity Llewellyn who hails from a good upstanding family is also out and about in rebellious mood and cursing her betrothal to Mathias Baptiste - a man she cannot love and will not love ever in her lifetime. A few unsavoury characters soon add extra thrill and there are times when Charity fears she has stepped too far out of her comfort zone. Her adventurous spirit is doomed when her clandestine soirees are discovered by her father and he then employs a bodyguard to watch over his daughter. Out of boredom Charity turns her attention to Sutton who is as mysterious as the Ripper and she leads him a merry dance until her fiancé decides it is high time Charity is taught a lesson. Mathias Baptiste is a vile and brutal creature with few scruples and lethal morals. Charity loathes Mathias so much she would rather die than be wedded to the hateful man and her wish is all but granted. This story is steeped in mystery and I don’t wish to spoil the plot so it seems sensible to stop here. I did like this novel but will say I found the blow-by-blow metaphors of domestic life in the Llewellyn household a little tedious. IMHO the pace of the novel slowed to a crawl throughout the overly descriptive familial of Charity’s home life.

Amazon

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Latest Historical Time-slip!






The Prodigal Son by Anna Belfrage.
Reviewed by Francine
 
Set within the 17th century this book stands alone despite being book 3 in The Graham Series.
It’s 1665 and all thanks to his 21st century time-slip wife Alex (Bk1), Mathew Graham has returned home to Ayshire (Scotland) post deportation to the colony of Virginia, only to find life under Charles II is not quite as imagined. Religious strife is rampant, and outlawed by refusal to swear absolute fealty to Charles and the Church of England life has become Hell on earth for Scot Presbyterian ministers. In defiance of crown dictate Mathew shelters and provides succour to the runaway ministers. One in particular of notorious voice and with a price on his head causes much anguish for Alex.

Whilst Mathew engages in risk-laden ventures across the moors, Alex faces a stark reality from his past life that will surely change hers and no doubt that of her children, for when Mathew’s ex wife thrusts Ian into Alex’ care the lad bears a remarkable resemblance to Mathew. Although once thought of his own son until told otherwise, both Mathew and Alex are thrown into emotional plains of uncertainty over Ian’s true lineage. All the while their love for each other is tested, not by the boy, but by events that unfold and threaten to tear them all apart. Ms Belfrage has most definitely placed an emotional minefield before her characters of which Mathew and Alex tread with great fortitude, their love knowing no bounds. This book although full of roller-coaster emotions in a romantic sense, the historical facts blend unobtrusively with the backdrop of the time depicted, so too the brief insights to Alex’ previous 21st century existence.
I will say this, which demonstrates the power of some novels to draw forth tears, there is one incident that left this reader as bereft as that of Mathew and Alex.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Latest Contemporary Review

 
 
 

 
 
All About Charming Alice by Arlene Culiner
 
Reviewed by Charlotte.
 
I really liked this book. It's a sweet small-town American tale about a young woman who rescues creatures in need.

Whether half-starved dogs or sick snakes, Alice will see right by them. She's feisty, sharp-eyed and very sharp-tongued when people try foisting animals onto her for no good reason. No one is safe from her critical eye. And a stranger rolling up on her doorstep with a flash motor and doe-eyed dog at heel, he’s plain asking for trouble. While Jace is no ordinary stranger, Alice is very much an extraordinary backwoods girl. And while Alice sees only a smart mouthed city slicker standing in front of her, and verbally shreds him about a dog he wants to offload. Jace steps up and takes the brunt of Alice’s wit and sarcasm on the chin like a man. Throughout an altercation her contours and the backwoods architecture of her ramshackle home stir his curiosity. Jace wants to know Alice better. Of course Alice and Jace are doomed to fall in love, and what I loved about the opening chapter is that a hairy dog plays cupid.
 
 

Monday, 26 August 2013

Latest Historical Release - The Lion's Embrace

 
 
  
 
 


Reviewed by Francine Howarth
 
It’s Algeria 1845 and Harriet Montague has a dilemma. Although her father is a dedicated archaeologist and highly intelligent man, he nonetheless tends to place quests for historical truths and that of discovery before any thought to his safety: even when venturing to far distant lands. Inevitably having placed his trust in others to watch his back and without question, has led to his capture by Tuareg tribesmen thus posing a nightmare for his daughter. Forced to engage the services of a guide in order to follow her father’s trail in the hope of securing his release, she quite naturally looks to her fiancé for support and companionship for the arduous journey ahead. Unbeknown to Harriet, Archie is not all that he seems any more than that of Lucas Saintclair, guide extraordinaire.
 
The very fact that Harriet is no shrinking violet in the face of adversity warns Lucas of trouble ahead.. Nevertheless he still doubts her ability to survive more than a few kilometres across rough terrain and, that his chance will arise to send her back whence she came with a suitable escort. She proves him wrong, and by horse or by camel or whatever, he’s soon tempted to present her with a mule for her persistence in annoying him at every turn. To Harriet’s chagrin Lucas seems more akin to the native properties of the Barbary Coast than that of a gentleman, and further qualities are markedly different than those of her fiancé Archie. Lucas stirs feelings to which she dare not succumb, no matter how tempting his attentions upon her. Thus Harriet and Lucas are on course for a sensual collision that will change her life forever. Throughout shared adventure, heartache and the solving of a complicated mystery Harriet’s life then suddenly changes for the worst. Nothing was quite as it seemed, and putting her trust in others has dealt her a deadly hand and a devastating twist of fate.
 
Back in England and soon to be married against her wishes and no feasible way out, a growl from the bushes denotes a lion of a hunter can be as real as though he had never left her side, albeit imagination and love for a lost one has brought the past to momentary life. Or has it?

Amazon

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Latest Historical Review

Romance


Reviewed by Fran

Although I am far from a fan of first-person narrative, I do love the period of the English Civil Wars. Therefore, I decided to lay aside the fact Royalist Rebel is written wholly from the viewpoint of Mistress Elizabeth Murray. I'm glad I did because Ms Seymour paints a vivid picture of life at Ham House. Given that Elizabeth's earlier (un-chronicled) life is the author's creation it blends well with known facts of the young woman's rise from relatively modest beginnings to that of wealth and title. It's a well-researched book in terms of the political scores and all credit to the author for a thoroughly enjoyable read.

I like the way Elizabeth Murray's story begins with highlighting her present circumstances and the staunch allegiance of her parents to the Royalist cause. All the while her haughty manner and fundamental belief the enemy consist of nothing but filthy (smelly) Puritan folk (of low-birth) seems to imply Mistress Murray is indeed ignorant to the fact members of the aristocracy are fighting on both sides of the great divide. Nor does she seem cognisant to the fact that not all Parliamentarian soldiers are of Puritan mindset. I confess there were times when I despised Elizabeth's conceited grandiose self image and her prejudiced outlook, but she's not a fictional character and I didn't have to like her to admire her unstinting desire to keep Ham House in the family.

As time moves on and Ham House is under threat of seizure by the Parliamentarian Sequestration Committee, (a method of punishing supporters or suspected collaborators of the Royalist cause), Elizabeth resists at every given turn, though is often forced to capitulate when events and circumstances are beyond her control. But, if something is wanted badly enough, then feminine guile to deceive Cromwell and feminine wile to gain a titled husband is worth the risk in the overall scheme of bettering her position within society and gaining a long for coveted title.
 
 

Latest Contemporary Review - The Green Hills of Home


 


The Green Hills of Home by Emma Bennet.

Reviewed by Emma Harvey

As sweet romances go this novel is a sweet as they come. Emma Bennet gives us Gwen, a young Welsh author desperate for money. If only Gwen can secure a three-book deal her dream might be realised and her beloved home won’t be sold from under her feet.  She loves her mam and adores the family dog Oscar and she can’t think what they will do if they lose all that is precious and dear to them. Miracle of miracles sweet Gwen is summoned to the offices of a London publisher. Oh crikey, she meets someone who helped her out of a rather awkward situation hours before and although handsome and kind he was a little gruff. Convinced John Thatcher doesn’t remember her she’s a little disappointed and that’s not all, he’s her editor. Little does Gwen know John Thatcher wonders whether he can work with her. John thinks Gwen is too damn attractive and does everything he can to prevent his having to edit her novel. His boss insists and John is forced to visit Gwen at home because she has a sick mam and a farm to look after. A city man at heart the countryside is at first alien to John and he suffers it the same way he suffers their working relationship. Friendship does slowly build between them and John becomes as confused as Gwen as love blossoms. All the while as a reader you’re left pondering who will tell the other of their feelings first. It’s an agonising wait for the romantic finale and when it does happen it’s a fitting end to a thoroughly sweet tale of a caring natured girl who will always put others first before herself. No way is this a Chick-lit
novel. The heroine is too selfless and adorable.  


Amazon

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Welcome to R.R.M.



I hope you enjoy browsing through the listed review pages.
NEW!
RRM Romance award.  


If you're a recipient of the RRM award you  may wish to add this to a book cover. 
However, its design is better suited for placing on blogs. Below is a transparent badge.

Charlotte, Emma and I will choose two books every six months.
 Contemporary and Historical  
All books must be reviewed by us [Suzy, Emma, Charlotte] during the six month period in order to qualify for the award. Our guest reviewers are at liberty to reommend a book for an award.
If you would like to enter your book for the RRM award then contact me: Suzy
 
  

This is how your RRM award will look if you choose to add it to your cover image. It will need to be added as transparent layer.


 Romance Review Magazine is all about romance authors and hard-penned romantic masterpieces, inclusive anthologies of romantic poetry. 

Become a guest reviewer


The main aim of this blog is to support writers, in particular  self-published authors. 

If you would like to join with us as a guest reviewer please check reviewer guidelines top bar.
 
We are extremely pleased to announce the titles of the first two books awarded with our very own RRM Award.
 
Authors can, if they wish, decline an award.
 It is after all merely our way of recommending outstanding reads.
 
Midnight Sky by Jan Ruth - Contemporary Romance
 
By Loyalty Divided by Francine Howarth - Historical Romance
 
 
 
 
 
Both novels received a unanimous vote for romantic content and well-paced authentic plots.
The characters were so believable they drew us utterly and completely into their worlds.       
 
Thank you Jan and Francine for two wonderful reads.