Wednesday, 5 October 2016

2016 RRM Summer Awards

The 2016 RRM Summer Awards

 When I was asked if I would like to become the host and admin for RRM I leapt at the chance, and responsibility for three books already nominated for the RRM Summer Award landed on my virtual desk within days. I was a bit daunted because the final decision would be mine. It was my job to knuckle down and read the books before the awards could be given the go ahead. None, hooray, were binned. The three nominated books were as follows.          

Steel & Lace was nominated by Suzy who read and reviewed the book.  

All proceeds from this anthology go to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.


Premise for the Steel & Lace Anthology.

War, Rebellion, Love and Romance!

While England is ravaged by Civil War, divided loyalties abound and Victory is not always as imagined. With a king beheaded, a king in exile, and a Lord Protector ruling the land, the future looks certain for many and fraught with danger for others. ‘Tis true to say, characters have shaped their own destinies: but at what price, and what price must be paid for the future?

Suzy's comments.
There is no gimmick sell to this anthology and no reference to outlandish sex and courtly rakes, but all those wicked delights do exist in moderation. And if you’re a discerning lover of historical romances, then I suspect like me, period accuracy is as important to you as ever the romance, the sex, and the background scenery are. That is why this wonderful collection of novellas has taken rather longer to assess and review than anticipated. Steel & Lace is a good eclectic mix of biography tinged with fiction, pure fiction stories blended with fact, and a few that are pure fiction. I feel I must commend all the authors at the outset on their dedication in researching every aspect in detail for their chosen periods. 

Amazon UK     Amazon US

Suit of Swords was nominated by Frances & Suzy for the 17th century category.


Don’t be misled by the cover, or the title, into believing a 17th century duel is in the offing with the clashing of steel. And yet, “Suit of Swords” is a duel of sorts, but only in the romantic context of battling one’s feelings and gauging one’s chances of success.  Hence, this short romance novella has more page-turning pull than many hyped (often overly hyped) historical romance tomes. “Suit of Swords” is a rare gem, which does indeed add background spice to a series of mind-blowing and explosive series of novels set within the English Civil Wars. Thus Amsterdam (Christmas 1626) is the setting for this touching tale of one woman’s kindness, and that of a young English mercenary soldier’s secret thoughts.



It is a sad affair when a book is nominated for an award and the author cannot find it in their heart to at least say thank you. And so the third book has been removed from this publicity page.    

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Hello, Charlotte here.

Now as the new host at RRM it does seem only right to say I am honoured at the chance to follow in Suzy's footsteps. Nothing, I promise, will change.  Many thanks must be accredited to all the reviewers past and present who made this blog what it is today, and a hip hip hooray to various admin members who stepped into take command when nobody else could. To see who we are and who founded the blog follow the link to About Us.  

Friday, 12 August 2016

Sweet Regency

Reviewed by Francine

As this is the first book in series to do with the Allamont Sisters, Amy’s story nicely sets the tone for upcoming books, which are destined to feature each of her sister’s individual stories and romantic leanings. That said; Amy’s story stands-alone as a rather sweet tale of an elder sister who has always looked to her father for guidance, until his death, which leaves her bereft and shocked by the contents of his will. Ever faithful to his memory Amy finds it increasingly difficult, and at times, impossible to understand the sudden rebellious nature of her sisters. What is more, her mother’s indifference to the plight of her daughters confuses the poor lass. After all, her father’s strict upbringing of the sisters (in all 6) and his biblical bent seem lost in the mayhem that suddenly surrounds her. As for love and romance, where can that fit in with her life given the strict criteria laid down within her father’s will for the sisters’ individual inheritances?

What could her father have been thinking to set forth such a cruel schedule of events, when one sister already has her heart set on her life partner, and another with fanciful notions to do with a man who is more than a little enamoured with Amy, herself. Life for Amy is one of adhering as best she can to her father’s gambit for the future stability of their individual lives, but she soon discovers demure meekness and self-sacrifice can be unbearably painful. So too, another finds himself facing a sacrifice he cannot bear, and with a little cunning he attempts to resolve his and Amy’s dilemma, but not without heart-in-mouth realisation that it could all go terribly wrong. Be assured there is an HEA to this story, a touch of mystery, a shocking revelation, and all in all, it’s a delightful read.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Deadly Affair

Reviewed by Charlotte

The Book's Premise.

Autumn 1763. Career diplomat Alec Halsey has been elevated to a marquessate he doesn't want and Polite Society believes he doesn't deserve. And with the suspicion he murdered his brother still lingering in London drawing rooms, returning to London after seven months in seclusion might well be a mistake. So when a nobody vicar drops dead beside him at a party-political dinner, and his rabble-rousing uncle Plantagenet is bashed and left for dead in a laneway, Alec’s foreboding deepens. Uncovering the vicar's true identity, Alec suspects the man was poisoned. But who would want a seemingly harmless man of God murdered, and why?
Lucinda Brant’s Alec Halsey mysteries explore the darker side of her deliciously romantic 18th century world. Along with trademark wit and high drama there are deeper subplots and even quirkier characters that will have you shuddering and laughing in equal measure!

 My Review of Lucinda Brant's novel.

It has a long list of 5 star ratings at Amazon and sort of lived up to expectations.
My grumps with this book were few all told.
Number one the character dialogue at vital moments was too long winded.
And secondly there was a lot of irritating author intrusion.

Ms Brant kept prompting with reminders of previous chapters. That was unnecessary and insulting as though the author thought a reader wouldn't remember what had happened earlier in the novel. The plot is really not at all that complicated and was easy to follow and I don't think the author has quite got a handle on writing suspense novels. The plot was a little too predictable and short on convincing red-herrings. My rating is 4 stars and that's generous because the author does do a good job at describing clothes and characters.

Recommendation. It's a non taxing brain read for a lazy weekend and although I think a little overrated on star quality plot wise, the historical value was there twofold.
Purchase here

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Anthology - General History.

As I hadn't read any of my fellow authors' contributions to this Charity Anthology prior to publication, I've taken the liberty of reviewing their delightful offerings for "Tales from the Sergeant's Pack".

A delightful collection of Short Stories & Novellas in aid of St Luke's Hospice, Plymouth.


A Tale of Two Engagements by A.C.A Hunter: Historical.

Take a moderately sized British package ship mid-Atlantic with limited protective gun-power, and looming on the near horizon is an unidentified ship on full sail thus the scene is set for a passing encounter. But is the ship French? If it is then Captain Finlay, his crew, and passengers are in dire straits. What is worse, Captain Finlay feels doubly responsible for his passenger sister, and when out-going fire from his cannon causes the ship to shudder from stem to stern, and in-coming fire shatters ship and humans to splintered fragments, Louisa refuses to abide to her brother’s command to act the lady, and thus keep her head below decks?

Here we are given an action packed short novella, a good sense of life aboard ship in wartime, and sufficient insight as to why Louisa is aboard her brother’s ship.


Bobbing in the Dark by Cliff Beaumont: 
Contemporary Ghost Story.

Here we have the greatest ever scheduled re-enactment Waterloo 200 in celebration of the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo. With tents pitched in the Orchard at Hougoumont a British contingent are taking a well-earned rest post-travel to the event. Amidst their number is Mark Skinner, his mind awash with thoughts on how it must have been for men of his rank and file in June 1815, and he’s not all that surprised when he's approached by a fellow uniformed re-enactor, anymore than when another appears and orders the first to fall in for duty. His own voluntary enlistment thus leads him into a scary and thrilling mock battle, albeit he’s somewhat mystified by turn of events, for at times it all seems a tad too real. But that’s what re-enactment is all about ain’t it, with mock dead and wounded soldiers, else it would be a mere walk in the park in fancy dress.

To say I thoroughly enjoyed this story; is to say it ticked all the boxes for a suspenseful read.


The Bravest of the Brave by David Cook: Historical.

In this story we are presented with the inner perspective of Martial Ney, at the point where it is a case of do or die for the French. Whilst the Emperor Napoleon, rides before his troops with head held high as though Victory is theirs, Ney knows he must do his damn best to achieve that outcome. But doubts linger in his mind questioning the sanity of taking the initiative to advance against Wellington and the Allied Forces – there has to be a better way but he has not the time to think it through. Praying to heaven God is with the Emperor, Ney spurs his horse forward, and the rest is History so to speak. 

This is another story by David Cook that sets the scene with excellent sense of time and place and no quarter given to the squeamish reader. After all, war is war – Enjoy!


The Chancer by Francine Howarth: Historical.

This is my naval orientated contribution to the anthology, thus I cannot pass comment!

A Person of No Consequence by Alison Stuart:
Historical Romance.

Picture a glittering ballroom and fine array of coming-out damsels in search of wealthy husbands, chaperones in abundance like faded wallflowers, and young bucks in search of suitable brides. Thus the scene is set for an elegant marriage mart, though not all the guests are seeking marriageable prey. Hence a heart-stopping moment occurs, and memories from the past leap to the fore and cause distress to one person, whilst curiosity is heightened for another. But can one dare to dream the past could ever be revisited in the present and secure a differing outcome?

A lovely sweet romance in Alison Stuart’s inimitable and award winning style.

August 27th by Jacqueline Reiter: Historical Fact.

Here we have a brief glimpse of the Walcheren Island Campaign of 1809, where the initial object of the British Navy is to blockade the mouth of the Scheldt (Antwerp Netherlands) and the primary objective to destroy the French fleet purportedly lying at anchor in Flushing. But as you will see from the interaction between leading field commanders of their day, not all are of like mind in how best to proceed or indeed cope with an unforeseen pestilence that more or less has rendered their task nigh impossible.

For the most part the reader affords insight to proceedings as they unfold through the eyes and thoughts of Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Keats, and it’s easy to see how politics, personal ambitions, and military strategy oft clash when things go awry.

A Clash of Empires by Paul Bennett: Historical fact inclusive fictional characters.

In this novella the reader is transported to the American Colonies the year of 1763, when the Pontiac Rebellion in opposition to British rule on former French territory begins in earnest with a confederacy of Native American warriors who attack British forts. But the fort in Detroit defies all the efforts of a combined tribal force to destroy its very existence, and Pontiac thence lays siege to the fort. A siege is the last thing any commander would willingly face, and whilst some might raise a white flag, Major Gladwin is made of sterner stuff. 

Again no quarter is given to the squeamish reader, for this is a war situation, in which brutal retaliation is markedly atmospheric.

Over the Moon and Faraway by Daniel Methwell: Fiction.

This story is set, I believe, in the region of Aragon, Spain during the Peninsular War (1808-1814). If not, my apology to the author, who spins an amusing yarn not unalike a “Carry-On” movie style plot as far as the humour goes. Thus with bungling French troopers and equally bungling British troopers, this story equates to laughs-a-minute, and combined with earthy trooper language drifting across the ether, a somewhat blue hue prevails. And yet, the awfulness of war is lingering beyond the veiled fringe of humour, and one can almost hear the old soldiers recounting this tale with touches of laughter and a tear to eye.

Suffice to say, it’s an all round fun chuckle read.