Tuesday, 26 July 2022

The Rake's Daughter

 The Rake's Daughter

The Brides of Bellaire Gardens #2

Anne Gracie



Reviewed by Helen


Anne Gracie has a special way with words and this is another book written in her special style, it is filled with wonderful characters, it is witty, filled with emotions, I melted into this story and just loved it so very much, come along and meet Leo and Izzy you are sure to be left smiling.

Leo the new Earl of Salcott has just arrived back in England after a year away travelling, only to find that he is now the guardian of a rake’s daughter, Clarissa and she is an heiress to boot this is not going to make his life easy, being part of the social ton is not Leo’s style, to make matters worse this young lady has a half -sister Isobel who is beautiful but her birth will never meet the Ton standards, how on earth is he going to manage to find Clarissa a husband?

Clarissa and Izzy are determined to make their come out together and Leo is at his wits end trying to make them see reason and stop a scandal, he decides on a trip to his country estate leaving them with his Aunt Olive, Lady Scattergood who is a little eccentric surely some time at home will make them see reason, but no they take matters into their own hands and launch themselves into society and on Leo’s return the sparks fly, especially between Izzy and him, he is finding it harder and harder to ignore the beautiful Izzy.

Leo has had a tough childhood which makes him the man he is today and of course Izzy’s childhood although happy with Clarissa has a lot of heartache in it but these two are pulled together from the start and when love happens nothing is going to stop it. Izzy shows such strength and courage throughout this one and Leo, what can I say he is such a great hero caring and loving and I love the way Izzy gets under his skin and he under hers.

This story is funny at times, emotional and above all else a fabulous story, a must read, filled with awesome characters, come and meet Lady Scattergood and Mrs Price-Jones and Milly they add so much to the story, I laughed, smiled and cheered them on in this one and can’t wait for Clarissa’s story. I highly recommend this one, don’t miss out.

My thanks to the author for my copy to read and review.

5 stars

Published July 26th 2022 by Berkley

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Remember Love

 Remember Love

Ravenswood #1

Mary Balogh




Reviewed by Helen


I haven’t read a Mary Balogh book for a long time and was very excited to be reading this one and the start of a new series, yay. We get to meet Devlin Ware heir to the Stratton title and Gwyneth Rhys neighbours who have grown up together and after a slow start to the story part two brings out some truths and lots of emotion.

Devlin has grown up in a close and happy family, their country estate of Ravenswood is open to the village and all are welcome, they hold many events including fetes and balls, Devlin is twenty two when the world as he knows it is turned upside down and he speaks up about his father and is sent away from all that he loves, his family and home and the girl he wanted to marry.

He enlists to fight Napoleon with not much care about his safety and wiping his family from his memory, but six years later his father is dead and he now is the Earl of Stratton and it is time to go home and take up his position, his family are all different and Devlin is a very different person having decided that there is no such thing as love, but when Gwyneth decides that Devlin does have a heart and wants to pick up where they left off six years before, things move with her strong determination and there are lots of smiles from this reader.

Although this books starts very slowly with too many characters and names and descriptions, when Delvin returns, part two of the story it moves really well and digs deep into the emotions of Devlin and Gwyneth, will she be able to help Devlin return to himself and find love, because I really loved Devlin and Gwyneth they were made for each other, will the family once again become the happy family they were before the scandal, and who’s story is next, it is one that I am really looking forward to.

My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy to read and review

4 stars
Published July 12th 2022 by Berkley

Saturday, 9 July 2022

The Lost Sister of Fifth Avenue

 The Lost Sister of Fifth Avenue

Daughters of New York #4

Ella Carey



Reviewed by Helen


I cried in this one, it is a heartbreaking and poignant but beautiful in the courage and strength that it shows as we get to know sisters Martha and Charlotte during World War 2 and journey back to the end of World War 1 to get to know their mother, Chloe and her two best friends, Anita and Sandrine, a must read story.

New York 1938 and Martha is living with her father and working in the New York Library her sister Charlotte has moved to Paris to be with Anita the woman who would be their second mother after losing their own mother when they were young girls, Anita runs and art gallery in Paris and is Jewish, when a telegram arrives to say that Anita has passed away.

Martha packs and leaves for Paris as soon as she can, she must convince Charlotte to come home Hitler is spreading throughout Europe and war looks imminent, what she finds shocks her Paris has been a second home to them all since they were you, but Charlotte refuses to budge she is determined to keep the art gallery open and look after the young artists that Anita has in her care.

Martha returns to safety in New York as Charlotte works hard to help pack up France’s artworks and Anita and her families as well, they move it all to the south of France to protect before the Germans invade, danger is around every corner now and Charlotte joins the Resistance to do what she can to help thinking that an American in Paris should be safer. Martha is forever worrying about Charlotte and also does her best to help by trying to bring Jewish refugees to America especially a friend of the family.

This story shows the courage and strength of the people of The Resistance and the way they worked through so much danger to do what they could, Charlotte never gave up, her determination was amazing, It shows what the Nazis did to the people of France, MS Carey has taken me back to that era and made it so real, getting to know past characters and uncovering their greatest loves and fears bought them all to life on these pages, family secrets, friends that would do anything for each other and the love that was shared past and now.

This is an awesome story so beautifully told with emotion and from the heart it is one that I would highly recommend, the ending is beautiful and poignant and yes there were many tears, I never miss and Ella Carey book, I loved this one so much.

My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

5 stars
Published July 7th 2022 by Bookouture

Friday, 8 July 2022

The Brightest Star

 The Brightest Star

Emma Harcourt



Reviewed by Helen


One of the things I love so much about reading is learning about different eras and Emma Harcourt has taken me back to Renaissance period in Florence where we get to meet Luna a young woman who was born with a deformed foot which caused many to think she was spawned by the devil even her own mother, her life is not an easy one especially with the way her father Signore Vincenzo Fusili encouraged her to learn, come along and meet Leonarda Lunetta, Luna.

It is 1496 and the renaissance is opening its eyes to lots of learning especially about astronomy for the men anyway, there are groups of men that meet and debate lots of issues, Florence is being controlled by Friar Savonarola and his ideas are very different from what most of the people think, he has exiled the Medici family who has always been close to the Fusili family and Vincenzo is working hard to bring them back but this is putting so much pressure on the family, also his daughter Luna is becoming someone who people are taking notice of not necessarily because of her deformity but because of her outspoken ways, that he has encouraged over the years by helping her learn and become so knowledgeable.

Luna wants so much to become an astronomer not a wife but things are starting to get very dangerous in Florence and before long Luna is alone and being sent to a convent with a stop along the way a family who was always close to the Fusili family here she is encouraged to be herself and here she meets student Nicolaus Copericus who also loves astronomy and soon Luna is finding happiness again away from Florence will she be able to live and learn the way she wants too?

This is a fabulous story that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish, Luna was strong and filled with passion about learning and a very likeable character, it would have been a very hard era to live in especially for woman and with the intelligence that Luna had keeping that locked away was never going to happen, this is one that I would highly recommend.

My thanks to Harlequin AU for my copy to read and review

4 stars
Published July 6th 2022 by HQ Fiction

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Up All Night With a Good Duke

 Up All Night With a Good Duke

The Byronic Book Club #1

Amy Rose Bennett



Reviewed by Helen


What a fantastic start to a new series from one of my favourite historical romance authors, this book has everything in it, a beautiful sensual romance, wonderful characters, it is witty, sigh worthy and a page turner, Amy Rose Bennett never disappoints me with her stories and this one is sure to please readers in so many ways.

Let’s meet our heroine Artemis Jones, she is a finishing school teacher and she also writes steamy gothic romance novels, she is determined to stay single and is convinced that being twenty nine she is firmly on the shelf which all goes towards her plan to open up her own school for young ladies. Life is just about to change for Artemis when one of her Byronic Book Club friends Lucy desperately needs her help in London which means a London season for Artemis as well.

Our hero is the Dastardly Duke of Dartmoor, Dominic Winters, but is he dastardly, and he needs a wife someone to give him an heir and to help with his fifteen year old daughter Celeste, but with the name he is called and the rumours about him this is not going to be easy, a meeting in the streets in the rain with a beautiful redhead, call it fate maybe but this is about to change his life.

The sparks fly and lust grows as Dominic and Artemis come to terms with an agreement that will help both of them with what they want, throw in a ruined sister and a dangerous threat and Artemis soon realises that she is losing her heart to a man something she never thought she would do and Dominic never thought to love again, but they suit each other in more ways than one.

This is a beautifully written story, I loved it from page one, the witty banter between them had me smiling and laughing as Artemis uses phrases from her novels, Dominic knows how to love a woman and their time together sizzles. This is one that I would highly recommend, truly I smiled so much and was cheering them on, a must read book and I can’t wait for book two.

My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

5 stars
Expected publication: June 28th 2022 by Sourcebooks Casablanca

Friday, 17 June 2022

The Worst Lord in London

 The Worst Lord in London

Scoundrels of Mayfair #1

Anna Campbell



Reviewed by Helen


Another fabulous story from one of my favourite authors, Anna Campbell, she has a beautiful way of telling a story and this one is sensual and sizzling as we see the worst lord in London lose his heart to the most beautiful of innocents.

Kate Starr runs a mill she is independent and strong, but she has had her heart beating for someone she met when she was sixteen, that was fourteen years ago when the young Lord Shelburn asked her sister to dance. Now all these years later she knows what a rake the Lord is but a chance meeting in a village and the offer for a race will turn Kate’s life upside down in the most delicious of ways.

Leighton Anstey, the Earl of Shelburn has spent his years as a rake hopping into bed with many woman, he is not interested in love he does know that he will eventually have to marry but not now he is having way too much fun, but when he is just about to take off in a race he spots a beautiful woman in the crowd and offers her a ride, the instant attraction is something out of the blue for him but she captivates him like no other woman ever has.

The race ends and Kate and Leighton end up in an inn spending three glorious days together, they ignite in a fusion of sensuality, of Leighton teaching Kate the delights to be had in the bedroom and of learning together while neither of them are looking to the future it seems that their hearts are beating as one. Leighton shows himself as a true knight in shining armour in his bid to win Kate. This is a beautiful story of love and a must read, I do highly recommend this one another Anna Campbell book that will keep any reader smiling.

5 stars
Published May 31st 2022 by Anna Campbell


The Jade Lily

 The Jade Lily

Kirsty Manning



Reviewed by Helen


I have had this one sitting on my TBR pile since its release and I am sorry I didn’t read it earlier, this is a beautiful story filled with emotion, friendship and such courage as two young girls meet in Shanghai in 1939 and a bond forms but war changes life in so many ways, what will happen to them? Then 2016 commodities trader Alexandra starts to uncover secrets after the death of her beloved grandfather, a journey to Shanghai and the mysteries unravel.

1939 Romy Bernfield and her family flee Austria and head to Shanghai as refugees, Romy’s father is a doctor so they move into the French part of Shanghai and life here is good, Romy meets her neighbour Li Ho and her family they become inseparable, Mr Ho is a Chinese Doctor and soon Romy is picking up a lot of information in this area and is hoping to become a doctor whereas Li only wants to be a singer but war soon changes things Li has to change her way of life and the Bernfield’s are moved into the ghetto, here life is very hard. So much happens in this time, so much heartbreak.

2016 Alexandra leaves London and returns to Melbourne to be with her grandparents parents Romy and Wilhelm, Wilhelm is dying and Alexandra is also uncovering secrets about her family that have been kept for many years. A new position in Shanghai will give Alexandra hopefully the information she wants about her families past and look towards a better future.

This is a compelling read, beautifully written the descriptions took me to Shanghai during the wars years and now, the characters are so strong and courageous what Romy, Li and the other fabulous characters, Nina, Jian and Wilhelm went through was heartbreaking and so emotional, I cried so much throughout this story the truth about the war years is always hard and to read and feel what they went through was bought to life in this book, I do highly recommend this one, Kirsty Manning is a favourite author for me.

5 stars
Apr 24, 2018 Allen & Unwin AU