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The Daughters of Red Hill Hall – Kathleen McGurl -4* Review

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Historical Blurb

When Gemma discovers a pair of ancient duelling pistols encrusted with rubies in the basement of the local museum, she is immediately intrigued…

On a fateful night in 1838 two sisters were found shot in the cellars of Red Hill Hall. And when Gemma begins to delve deeper into their history she begins to realise that the secrets of that night are darker than anyone had ever imagined.

As the shocking events of the past begin to unravel, Gemma’s own life starts to fall apart. Loyalties are tested and suddenly it seems as if history is repeating itself, as Gemma learns that female friendships can be deadly…

Historical Buy Links

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Historical My Review

The Daughters Of Red Hill Hall: A gripping novel of family, secrets and murderI enjoyed reading ‘The Pearl Locket’ and ‘The Emerald Comb’ and like those books, this story has both a historical and contemporary setting, which intertwine in an interesting way.
The historical story of Rebecca and Sarah, ‘The Daughters of Red Hill Hall’ is full of mystery, menace and is often poignant. The contemporary tale of Gemma and Nat curiously reflects the past, whilst revealing the secrets of ‘The Daughters of Red Hill Hall’.
The prologue of the story sets the scene for what is for the most part a tragedy but thankfully the ending of the historical tale is hopeful. There isn’t a fairytale happy ever after but definitely a realistic ‘let’s make the best of what we have.’
Weak male characters categorise both stories. I enjoyed the mystery and menace of the historical story, unfortunately not present in the contemporary tale. Overall it was an engaging read.
I received a copy of this book from Carina UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.


The Daughters Of Red Hill Hall: A gripping novel of family, secrets and murder
by Kathleen McGurl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Daughters Of Red Hill Hall A gripping novel of family, secrets and murder by Kathleen McGurl

Kathleen McGurl

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3* Review: Defying The Earl – Annabelle Bryant (Regency Charms series #1)

cover65273-mediumHistorical BlurbGame…

Matchmaker Wilhelmina Montgomery helps cupid’s arrow find its mark in the drawing rooms of the Ton, effortlessly pairing even the most unlikely couples for a discreet fee. Perhaps not an appropriate pursuit for a lady…but with an ailing sister to care for, it’s Whimsy’s only hope at securing their future.

Set…

Meanwhile, penniless aristocrat Valerian St. David, Earl of Dashwood is society’s favourite matchbreaker; assisting those who want to escape engagement without being sued for breach of promise. Cynical, yes…but with no intention of falling in love himself, Valerian considers himself ideally suited to the role.

And match!

When Whimsy discovers that Valerian has set out to break the very engagement she has been painstakingly arranging, she refuses to allow this mysterious saboteur have his way. Yet she didn’t expect to find the handsome Earl so distractingly alluring. And suddenly, it seems that the Ton’s last two loneliest hearts are in danger of finding their match…in the most inopportune of places.

Historical Buy LinksAmazon UK

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Historical My ReviewDefying the Earl (Regency Charms - Book 1)‘Defying the Earl’ is a light hearted story set in Regency England. Matchmaker versus matchbreaker is an interesting premise. Interwoven into the story is the charm bracelet, the Regency charm. There are plenty of plot twists and connections between the characters but the story does seem a little contrived. The story’s pacing is a little slow in parts and more historical details would give the story greater depth but with well written characters and an ending that ties up all the loose ends; ‘Defying the Earl’ is a gentle introduction to Regency romance.

Defying the Earl by Anabelle Bryant
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Defying the Earl (Regency Charms, #1) by Anabelle Bryant

Anabelle Bryant

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5* Review: The Pearl Locket – Kathleen McGurl

23484425Historical BlurbWhen Ali inherits her great-aunt’s house she immediately moves her whole family in, despite the warnings that there is something strange about the place. Unfazed, Ali begins redecorating, going through the rooms, making each one her own with the help of her daughter, Kelly. But when under the wallpaper in Kelly’s new room they discover a scrawled message from 1944 Ali begins to question the history of the house as she knows it.

Her family has always seemed so picture perfect, not a blemish or a secret to be found. Yet, this discovery throws her into confusion and Ali begins to question exactly what she knows about her family and the mysteries they have kept.

Historical Buy Links
Amazon UK
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Historical My Review

The Pearl LocketThe Pearl Locket’ is another delightful time slip story, which connects England 2014 with war torn England in 1944, when Joan met Jack and for a little while they found true love.

Ali wants to sell the house she inherited from her great aunt, even though it’s close to the seaside and much bigger than the rented accommodation where they currently reside. Pete her husband has other ideas and persuades Ali he can renovate the house so they can enjoy living in it, or sell it at a profit if they decide to. Ali agrees, with some reservations and the family move in.

Ali doesn’t worry about her daughter Kelly’s current obsession with the 1940’s until the past impedes on the future and threatens their family unity.

Joan and Jack’s wartime romance is poignant and gentle a reminder of sad times and sacrifice. The story within a story unfolds seamlessly and informs the present dilemma Kelly and her great grandmother Margaret experiences.

Kelly is sensitive to the house and its echoes of the past but Ali and Pete don’t understand what she is going through, until she takes drastic action. Kelly’s life parallels Joan’s, in many instances carefully interwoven into the story. There are plenty of unexpected plot twists and the empathy you feel with Joan peaks when her world falls apart.

Like The Emerald Comb’‘ the relationship between the female lead and her husband is strained and he comes across as a selfish individual, through her eyes.

This is classy women’s fiction with vivid characters and imagery, which bring the story to life; both in the contemporary setting and the past. This absorbing tale got me reaching for the tissues close to the end but it’s worth the tears.

Tragedy tempered with hope, connects the past with present in a realistically satisfying way and makes a great ending.

I received a copy of this story from Carina UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Read my 5* Review of ‘The Emerald Comb’

The Pearl Locket by Kathleen McGurl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Pearl Locket by Kathleen McGurl
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3* Review – Second to Cry – Carys Jones (#2 Avalon Series)

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BLURBAiden Connelly is just settling in to life in Avalon following the shocking revelations of his first case. But it seems he can’t escape the ghosts of his past. His new case involves the Sheriff’s millionaire brother, Samuel Fern, and the paternity of one of his sons.

When the truth threatens to tear about not just one family but two Aiden must ask himself how far he is willing to go to protect the people he loves.

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Amazon

My Review -1

Second to Cry (Avalon, #2)The second in the Avalon series is a continuation of Aiden’s story. To give his young daughter a better quality of life, he leaves Chicago and takes his family to start a new life in Avalon. I haven’t read the first book in the series but the storyline and relationships were easy to follow, but you would understand the underlying emotion in this story better if you read ‘First to Fall’ #1 Avalon.

Aiden’s first case made him powerful local enemies and integration into the close knit community proves problematic for Isla, Aiden’s wife. Making excuses for his own shortcomings, Aiden magnifies Isla’s selfishness and shallowness. He ignores her loneliness because his mind is elsewhere with Brandy the woman he saved from a murder conviction. Aiden falls from his knight in shining armour pedestal in both his private and work life. These human frailties make him an interesting but not always likeable character.

There is an undercurrent of suspense and menace in this story but maybe not enough to make it page turning. There are some interesting flashbacks scenes that illuminate Aiden’s actions well and enough unanswered questions to make me want to see what happens next.

I received a copy of this book from Carina UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Second to Cry by Carys Jones

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Second to Cry (Avalon, #2) by Carys  Jones

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3* Review : Beautiful Revenge – JL Morris

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Untitled

Heaven is a place on Earth…

Well, kind of. Kaarl is a Demon who changed his ways, left Hell behind him and now works on Earth to save the souls Lucifer had sent him to claim. In Los Angeles he has wealth and power and in Heaven he has the chance for a new start. Being a Demon freshman in a university built exclusively for Angels has its challenges but other than that things are looking promising…

With Kaarl lost to the other side, Lucifer has found another way to prey on Humanity. He sends his daughter, Persephone, along with the terrifying Four Horsemen of Apocalypse to tear the Mortal world apart and bring it to the brink of starvation. While the Horsemen are forcing the Mortals to sin to survive, reaping countless souls in the process, Persephone is forcing her way in to Kaarl’s heart with her sights set firmly on revenge.

Faced with Lucifer’s wrath, Persephone’s schemes and the seemingly unstoppable Horsemen, Kaarl is running out of options and the Mortal realm is running out of time. The past he has been so desperate to bury may hold his only chance at the saving the realm he now calls home…

My Review 2Beautiful Revenge
The description of this novel attracted me; even though it was the second book in the series and I hadn’t read book one. Interesting, well written characters with great pacing and vivid imagery but it didn’t hold my interest like I expected. There was something missing for me, maybe because I’ve read lots of apocalyptic fiction. Kaarl, Gabriel and the Twins were believable characters but they were too predictable, I like quirky, mercurial characters in this type of story.
If you like urban fantasy it’s worth a read but I would definitely suggest you read the first book in the series ‘Selfish Beings’ before you read this.
I received a copy of this book from Carina UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Beautiful Revenge by J.L. Morris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Beautiful Revenge by J.L. Morris

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5* Review Hopelessly Devoted to You – Jill Steeples

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Meet Ruby’s fiancé, Finn. He’s gorgeous, thoughtful, successful and adoring – pretty much everything anyone could ever want in a man. In fact, he’s perfect. The catch? He’s just not perfect for her. But when Ruby finally plucks up the courage to come clean, Finn’s so furious that he misses his footing as he runs down the stairs – and suddenly, it’s not just his heart that’s broken!

When Finn wakes up, he can’t remember a thing. Not that Ruby dumped him – not even that they were ever engaged! It’s on the tip of Ruby’s tongue to come clean, but somehow, it never seems to be the right time… And as the weeks pass, she sees a new side to Finn. Arrogant and a shameless flirt, he’s irresistibly bad, and the chemistry between them is explosive!

It’s not that Ruby’s lying… she’s just withholding the truth. And seeing as things are going so well, perhaps there’s no need for Finn to have his memory jogged… The trouble is, there’s every chance that Finn might remember for himself!

My Review -1 Hopelessly Devoted to You‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’ is an insider’s perspective on Finn and Ruby’s outwardly wonderful relationship. The perfect facade hides a maelstrom of angst and poor self esteem from Ruby’s point of view.

Ruby is an interesting character; her poor self image and lack of confidence are immediately obvious. This makes her hard to warm to initially but this changes as you appreciate how much emotional baggage she is carrying. Finn seen through Ruby’s eyes appears to be the ‘perfect’ man for a ‘Stepford Wife’, which she will never be.

Ruby’s and Finn’s imminent marriage is the ‘Elephant’ in the room’. Ruby’s fears about her happy ever after with Finn force her to act. Pushed by Laura her BFF she finally tells Finn what’s on her mind. He is devastated and leaving in a red mist he has an accident, which changes their lives forever.

Ruby’s true character shines through after the accident. Finn is sexier and less driven when he awakes, as if he was doing what was expected before the accident but now he can be his true self. Elements of Finn’s amnesia are extreme but acceptable in a fictional world. Ruby falls in love with Finn again but she is on borrowed time. What happens if he remembers she dumped him? Ruby finds out you don’t appreciate what you have until you lose it.

The imagery in this story is lovely and there’s plenty of heat when Finn and Ruby rediscover their passion. I liked how Ruby’s career developed through the story once she found the right motivation. The plot twists are clever and the pacing perfect. It’s easy to lose yourself in this story where real love shines through in adversity.

I received a copy of this book from Carina UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Hopelessly Devoted to You by Jill Steeples

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Hopelessly Devoted to You by Jill Steeples

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