Friday 27 January 2023



Title: A Blaze Of Fire
Series: Fated Fae Elementals
Author: Karina Espinosa
Release Date: 4th November 2022

BLURB from Goodreads
To protect the ones you love, who would you be willing to become?

Striking a deal with Alec, an Unseelie High Fae, I agree to follow him to the Fae realm and seek sanctuary in the Unseelie Court. Staying hidden in the human realm is no longer an option if I want to keep Ansel and my mother safe. But revealing my identity came with a whole host of problems.

As the carrier of the orb, I have the power of all of the elements, except they’ve been dormant for twenty-five years. The Unseelie King is anxious for me to learn how to use my powers, but when I learn an ability that should be impossible, I’m no longer the safest person in the Unseelie Court.

Tensions rise as I’m separated from Ansel and grow closer to Alec. Is anyone really as good as they say they are? Or are they all just as bad?

Goodreads Link

Violet is now at the Unseelie court in the fae realm with only Alec to rely on, she has little choice but to trust him and those he tells her she can. After meeting the King, 'Lady' Violet is shown to her own room. Violet is definitely impressed, though despairs at the revealing attire she is expected to wear. To help her dress appropriately for each event she is expected go attend she is given a handmaid called Rosemary. Though Alec is in a room nearby Violet is also assigned her own guard called Rook.

Violet begins training with fire (in more ways than one!) her biological father Kazimir who still doesn't know he is her father. Kazimir forces Violet to use her emotions to manifest her elements despite Alec warning her against going down this route.
Next up is training to use air with Calypso, though due to the no nonsense almost "tough love" way of training with Kazimir Violet has already summoned Air and used it to save herself! Kazimir seems almost sorry to be passing Violet over to be trained in her next element. He offers her a few words of advice that suggest he may have a slight soft spot for Violet. Violet immediately realises that Calypso's training really is the polar opposite to training with Kazimir, it's all about breathing, calm and control.

Violet sees the darker cruel side of the unseelie when she opens her mouth in the wrong place and ends up going out to collect taxes. Violet is horried that the poor people in the villages are forced to hand over food they themselves need to an already rich King. She is even more shocked by those offering their daughters and then by one man who refuses to hand over his young daughter who ends up being publicly lashed. Violet cannot stand by and do nothing and Alec ends up covering up the evidence of her helping the poor villager.
When the tax collecting party is attacked by wraiths, Violet refuses to leave three of their travelling party behind to fight to their deaths as a distraction. Violet ends up publicly revealing another power she has which puts her in even more danger from those in power.

I love the interactions between Violet & Rook and Violet & Rosemary at first she is wary of them but soon learns she can trust them with her life. I think Kazimir, the tough warrior, loyal only to the King is developing a tiny soft spot for Violet but what is he going to do when he finds out the truth about who she is?

It turns out that Violet isn't the only one willing to become something or someone else to protect someone they love. Strangely it's the same person being protected in each case. Is the person worth protecting? At the beginning of this book I would have said yes but after the cliffhanger at the end I'm honestly really not so sure!

It seems Violet can either please the Unseelie fae or the Unseelie King but not both at the same time. Lots happens in this book, Ansel cannot bear not being able to see Violet and in his mind to protect her he reveals things about her to the Seelie Queen and gets himself sent to the Unseelie court as the Seelie Queens representative. It's not long before Ansel & Violet are getting hot & steamy in her room and a cupboard!! Violet does like Ansel a lot and yep, enjoys getting steamy with him but theres also sparks and sizzle aplenty surrounding Violet & Alec. Which brother would be the better match for Violet, and perhaps more importantly which brother can she trust!!

Theres so much more to come from this series, what will Kazimir do when he realises his blood connection to Violet. I keep flitting between which brother I prefer.....I guess that's what Violet is doing too. After the revelation of why Alec became Unseelie and after the cliffhanger I am strongly leaning towards Alec!! Though I am also becoming a little partial to Kazimir!! 


Friday 20 January 2023


 Inspired by the real-life Boxing Baroness, acclaimed author Minerva Spencer sparkles with this brilliantly imagined story of her romance with an infuriating duke in the first of a witty, Regency-set, feminist series exploring the role of women in a rigidly patriarchal society. A new generation of readers and Bridgerton fans will delight in the rapier sharp wit, sexual fireworks, and thought-provoking entertainment of The Boxing Baroness. 

Title: The Boxing Baroness
Series: The Wild Women Of Whitechapel
Author: Minerva Spencer
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction
Release Date: 25th October 2022

BLURB from Goodreads
Magnetic and educated, Marianne Simpson has the manner of a lady and the looks of a lover, not a fighter. Neither of which explains her occupation as a boxer in her uncle’s circus, Farnham’s Fantastical Female Fayre. Nonetheless, when St. John Powell, the exquisitely handsome Duke of Staunton, begins turning up at her shows, she finds herself dangerously distracted by the powerful peer’s mysterious presence. With her safety at stake, Marianne’s days in the ring are numbered. But how long can she fight her attraction to the man the ton calls Lord Flawless?

St. John Powell doesn’t just want Marianne Simpson, he needs her … to rescue his brother, who is being held for ransom by a treasonous English baron—the man all of Britain knows as the Rake of Rakes.

No matter how little Marianne wants to see her duplicitous ex-lover, the man responsible for the humiliating nickname the Boxing Baroness, St. John must convince her. Even if it means climbing into the ring with the beautiful boxer and taking everything she’s got . . .

Goodreads Link 

I read a sample/excerpt of this book which initially caught my attention and piqued my interest and made me want to read more.

There are two central characters in the book, first of all theres Marianne Simpson, 'generously' taken in by her Uncle Baranabus when she was very young. Despite being a performer and showman of little means and wealth her Uncle sent her to a posh finishing school Miss Nolans Academy for young ladies in an attempt to give her a good start in life. Sadly when Marianne becomes emotionally involved with Baron Dominic Strickland and marries him he does the dirty on her when it turns out he is already married! Marianne returns to her Uncle and his show. He runs a group of female acts collectively called Farnhams Fantastical Female Fayre. Marianne ends up training to be a female boxer or pugilist as it is called in the book.
Marianne is really good at boxing too though her notoriety thanks to Baron Strickland is a constant shadow over her, people don't forget quickly, and when she can't shake it off Marianne works with her nickname of the Boxing Baroness. Marianne is kick butt, straight forward, honest and isn't afraid to voice her opinion. She doesn't take well to the unwanted and persistent attention she is getting from Lord Flawless the other central character. His correct title the Duke of Staunton, but whose nicknames are Flawless, Lord of Flawless and Duke of Flawless. The Duke starts showing an interest in Marianne, turning up to watch her box, sending notes to Marianne. Determined to ignore the Duke's notes she just throws away without even opening them. What on earth could he want with her that she is willing to go along with? She doesn't want to be his Mistress, she wants to be left alone.
Things change when they get together to deal with their common enemy Baron Dominic Strickland. Strickland has sent word he knows where the Duke's missing brother Benjamin is but he will only meet to discuss/divulge this information to the Duke is if Marianne is present.
This ends up with the Duke and two of his friends going undercover at Farnhams Fayre. Initially making these posh men do manual labour amuses Marianne, then she starts having feelings for the Duke, whom she cannot avoid as he is masquerading as her trainer.
Theres lots of detail, mystery and intrigue in this book. The plot certainly keeps you on your toes. Theres the mystery of why Baron Strickland wants to see Marianne, then theres the conundrum of who Mariannes biological parents are. Of course theres some romance between the undercover toffs and some of the women of Farnhams Fayre. The most sizzling moments being between Marianne and the Duke of Staunton, or Sin as his inner circle call him. He certainly turns into a sin that Marianne has great difficulty resisting even when she knows when they inevitably part ways she will be the one with the shattered heart.
Theres lots of preconceptions in the book, Sin, and his friends Guy and Elliot think they can easily do the manual labour required of them whilst they are undercover, it turns out to be harder than they think. They may begin looking down and pitying these women but as they work alongside them they come to respect how hard these women trade and work.
Theres quite a few surprises for Marianne to discover about her heritage. I did kind of guess her mother's identity just before it was revealed and then the grand surprise/shock/reveal of her biological father. Theres plenty of action, plot intrigue, mystery, and some betrayal to be revealed along the way too.
Although some things are wrapped up in this book I have discovered it is just the first book in a series called The Wild Women of Whitechapel. The Boxing Baroness is described as a 'witty Regency historical romance' and to be totally honest no where in the region of my usual genre book style but i really did enjoy it and it honestly made me want to read more by Minerva Spencer especially this series. I already feel intrigued by the sample excerpt I read at the end of this book about the Duelling Duchess Cecile Tremblays story......



Friday 13 January 2023



Title: The Second Death Of Edie and Violet Bond
Author: Amanda Glaze
Publisher: Union Square & Co, A subsidiary of Sterling Books
Genre: Teens, YA, Historical Fiction
Release Date: 4th October 2022

BLURB from Goodreads
Sacramento, 1885
Edie and Violet Bond know the truth about death. The seventeen-year-old twins are powerful mediums, just like their mother—Violet can open the veil between life and death, and Edie can cross into the spirit world. But their abilities couldn’t save them when their mother died and their father threatened to commit them to a notorious asylum.

Now runaways, Edie and Violet are part of a traveling Spiritualist show, a tight-knit group of young women who demonstrate their real talents under the guise of communing with spirits. Each night, actresses, poets, musicians, and orators all make contact with spirits who happen to have something to say. . . notions that young ladies could never openly express. But when Violet’s act goes terribly wrong one night, Edie learns that the dark spirit responsible for their mother’s death has crossed into the land of the living. As they investigate the identity of her mysterious final client, they realize that someone is hunting mediums…and they may be next.Only by trusting in one another can the twins uncover a killer who will stop at nothing to cheat death. 

Goodreads Link

First of all I loved the cover, the colours and image, mysterious, hinting at something 'otherworldly' it would have me reaching for the book on the shelf wanting to learn more about the book.
I really enjoyed the interesting plot about the two girls being able to communicate with the other side, the era of men being in charge and there's the mention of the suffragette movement and its speakers. Theres lots going on, the girls and their gifts, the other women on the tour with them doing what they have to do to 'dumb down' their talents, the asylum with its shady goings on. The corruption where those with money or a bit of power turn a blind eye to using those less fortunate to further their own cause. There is also tha camaraderie between the different show acts, the way they cover for each other or look after each other at certain sections in the book. Of course theres some humour, the bicycle riding that Ruby, Edie and Violet get up to. Theres also some romance thrown in, Ruby disappearing on regular dates with various males, Violet being courted and of course Edie and her more gradual what starts out as mutual irritation, then friendship and finally romance.

I felt that this book really was a slow, slow burner to begin with but looking back having finished the book it perhaps needed the slower build up to the 'action'. It has all the snippets of information that you may think are somewhat irrelevant or 'image building' just pieces to help you visualise surroundings but once the pace picks up and gets in the nitty gritty parts of edge of your seat action, you remember those smaller snippets and the add an extra level to the whole story. It makes the book multi layered and all the more enjoyable to become immersed in to read. The backdrop and era of the setting of the book made it all the more of a 'believable' read. If some of these things were happening why not all!
The book takes you through a whole range of emotions. I found the subject of the veil, death and Violet & Edie dealing with it deeply fascinating. I found all the information about the different herbs and their uses really interesting, and engrossing to read about.
I adored the close relationship between the spiritual sisters. So strong together but when Violet wants to pursue acting Edie is immediately willing to encourage her sisters dream and step back to allow her to grow and shine despite it meaning loosing the life together they have so carefully built. The twins may not be identical to look at but they certainly have identical thoughts when it comes to saving each other from anything they are up against. The non verbal way the girls had of communicating was written into the everyday and the high action scenes so well and subtly, so totally believable.
I loved to character of Lawrence Everett, a skeptic when it comes to Violet & Edie's gifts. He is a perfect partner to Edie, helping her investigate the Asylum despite the dangers. Edie and Lawrence really do have to learn to trust each other fairly quickly.
I felt so broken and teary at the end of the edge of your seat stuff, the interactions between Edie & Violet willing to sacrifice everything for each other I also thought the final moment between Edie and her father were so touching too.
I enjoyed the 'Three Month later' chapter, kind of an epilogue that tied up all the loose ends whilst hinting at what was in store for Violet and Edie.

It definitely felt like a slow, slow starting pace with this book, setting the scene, then the pace changes slightly and you're slowly pulled further in with all the different characters and their individual back stories. When the faster pace and the 'action' starts it's full on and you don't want to put the book down!
I could honestly see this as a movie or TV mini series....I would watch it even though I have read the book already!

Friday 6 January 2023


“A smart, sexy rom-com that had me chuckling from the first page. I loved it.”—BRENDA JACKSON, New York Times bestselling author

Token is a rom-com perfect for our times. I can’t wait to see it on the big screen!”—KAIA ALDERSON, author of Sisters in Arms

Title: Token
Author: Beverley Kendall
Publisher: Graydon House
Release Date: 3rd January 2023

BLURB supplied by Harlequin Trade Publishing
She’s brilliant, beautiful…and tired of being the only Black woman in the room.
Two years ago, Kennedy Mitchell was plucked from the reception desk and placed in the corporate boardroom in the name of diversity. Rather than play along, she and her best friend founded Token, a boutique PR agency that helps “diversity-challenged” companies and celebrities. With corporate America diversifying workplaces and famous people getting into reputation-damaging controversies, Token is in high demand.

Kennedy quickly discovers there’s a lot of on-the-job learning and some messes are not so easily fixed. When Kennedy’s ex shows up needing help repairing his company’s reputation, things get even more complicated. She knows his character is being wrongly maligned, but she’s reluctant to get involved—professionally and emotionally. But soon, she finds herself drawn into a PR scandal of her own.

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Looking for a job sucked.

Getting laid off sucked even more.

Three weeks ago, Kennedy Mitchell found herself in both unenviable positions.

While searching for a new job in her field of expertise— marketing and five solid years of it—she’d accepted a four- week receptionist position to tide her over. Hey, student loans didn’t pay off themselves and they couldn’t care less about your employment status. But, as grateful as she was to have money coming in, she hated the part of the job that had her slapping herself awake every five minutes.

That also sucked.

It would be one thing if the place were a bevy of human activity (she generally liked people and they tended to like her back). Nope, that wasn’t even close to what she was dealing with. Per the visitor log, a grand total of six had passed through the first-floor lobby of ECO Apparel in the two weeks she’d been there. Three on one day alone. And during the hours when the employees were upstairs ensconced at their desks, the place resembled a ghost town. Seriously, she wouldn’t be surprised to see tumbleweed roll past the reception desk one fine windy day. Although, for a ghost town, the lobby was sleekly modern, all sharp angles, and glass and chrome.

Glancing down at her cell phone, Kennedy released a long- suffering sigh. How was it possible that only three minutes and not an hour had passed since her last five-minute check-in? This was usually when she prayed for one of two things: the power to control time, or another job.

Since the chances of either happening within the next seventy- two hours were zero to none, she grudgingly resigned herself to her fate and tapped the keyboard, bringing the sleeping monitor back to life, and the email from an interested recruiter back into view. Seven hours to go, and the jury was still out on whether she would make it until noon—much less to the end of the day. The ding of the elevator broke the lonely silence and was soon followed by the click of heels on the faux marble floors. Twisting in her seat, Kennedy spotted Nadine from Administrative Services striding purposely toward her, folder and purse in hand. She hastily closed out of her email and treated

the brunette to a bright smile.

“Hey, Nadine, is it break time already?” The pretty admin assistant usually came to relieve her for a midmorning break at ten. Currently, it was an hour shy of that, and taking a break right now would upset the monotony of her day. How would she cope with the upheaval?

“Mr. Mullins wants to see you in his office, and I’ll be filling in for you for the rest of the day,” her coworker announced abruptly.

Kennedy stiffened and her eyebrows rose at the hint of annoyance and resentment threading Nadine’s tone.

Well, good morning to you too.
Excerpted from TOKEN by Beverley Kendall © 2023 by Beverley Kendall, used with permission from Graydon House/HarperCollins.

BEVERLEY KENDALL published her first novel in 2010, a historical romance with Kensington. She has since published over ten contemporary and historical romances. She also manages the romance review blog, Smitten by Books ( Bev now writes full-time while raising her son as a single mother. Both dual citizens of the U.S and Canada, they currently call Atlanta home.

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