Saturday, 30 March 2019

The Rookie - Abigail Owen

The Rookie (Fire's Edge, #2)The Rookie by Abigail Owen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been waiting for the chance to read this book since I read the first in the series last year. It didn't disappoint. This time we have the story of one of the younger members of the group, Aiden. While the first book dealt with the leader Finn, Aiden is at the other end of the scale. Part of the same clan as Finn and his brother Fallon, Aiden is also an outsider. His parents were killed some years before and as orphans are often mistrusted, Aiden is doing everything to ensure that he can become part of the team and hold a position of trust. Although he has been drawn to Sera since first meeting her, he knows that as she is a human, they have no future and he can't afford the distraction.
It was clear in the first book that Sera and Aiden had some kind of connection, but I wasn't sure how that was going to play out, especially as Sera already has a young son. Fortunately, Abigail Owen is a particularly good storyteller and I was hooked from the first chapter.
I've read a few of Owen's other books since reading the first in this series. Something I particularly like about her books is that the series' tend to have a story arc that develops over the course of the series, as well as the main story in each book. That's certainly the case here. I think that I was left with even more questions than I started with, I can't wait for the next book to find out more.
As well as the usual elements that you expect from a paranormal romance book, the Rookie also offers much more. With not everyone getting the happily ever after that they dream of and how they deal (or not) with that. One particular part of the story in this regard was quite emotional to read. It also has a few 'bad guys' that are far from entirely 'bad' and have reasons if not justification for being the way that they are.
I really enjoyed this book, I just hope that I won't have to wait for too long for book three...
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Murder in a Country Garden - Betty Rowlands

Murder in a Country Garden: A completely addictive English cozy murder mystery (A Melissa Craig Mystery Book 12)Murder in a Country Garden: A completely addictive English cozy murder mystery by Betty Rowlands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I feel quite sad. This is the last in the Mel Craig series. I've been enjoying reading them over the last few months and now it has come to an end. Actually, that's not quite true, I missed book three in the series and will be going back to that. Even so, it seems to leave me feeling a bit emotional to get to the end. I suppose that there is a limit to how many bodies that Mel could fall upon and she is Melissa Martin by this book.
The storyline this time revolves around the seemingly accidental death of a local man after he was stung by his bees while beekeeping. After another similar death and details emerging about what kind of man the first victim was, it becomes clear to Mel and her new husband Joe that there might be something sinister at work here.
The manner of death in this story was a little unusual, being stung to death seems like a pretty horrid way to go! I have to admit that I didn't manage to solve this one. Not because I was blaming the wrong person, but simply because I hadn't a clue who had actually done the murder.
This was another great read and instalment in the Mel Craig series. I'm quite sad that it's come to an end, but I have really enjoyed reading them all.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Monday, 25 March 2019

Sanctity of Sloth - Greta Boris


Sanctity of Sloth by Greta Boris

About the Book

Title: The Sanctity of Sloth
Author: Greta Boris
Genre: Suspense, Mystery
Series: The Seven
There's one thing more dangerous than testifying to a crime—staying silent. 
Locked in the ruins of a California Mission, Abby Travers watches helplessly as a girl dies outside her window. As she struggles between her moral obligation to come forward as a witness, and her commitment to a Medieval religious practice that requires her to retreat from the world, the situation spins out of control. 
Abby's hesitation starts a series of catastrophes. She finds herself at the centre of a deadly cover up where every minute counts and indecision could be fatal. She questions all her beliefs and everyone she knows becomes suspect. To save herself and those she loves, she must break free from her self-imposed prisons of stone and fear. 
The Sanctity of Sloth is a taut, psychological thriller that answers the question: What happens when a good woman does nothing? Fans of Paula Hawkins and A.J. Finn will enjoy this third book in Greta Boris's Seven Deadly Sins Series. 

Author Bio

Greta Boris was raised in Greenwich Village, New York by an opera singing, piano playing, voice coach and a magazine publisher. Her original life plan was to be a famous Broadway actor, singer, and dancer, but when she moved to Laguna Beach, California, she changed her plans due to the commute. Today she writes to inspire, entertain, motivate, and so she can afford nice wine.

Links

Facebook Author Page Twitter Website Goodreads Amazon Author Page  

My Review

The premise of this book is 'what happens when a good woman does nothing?' It's an interesting question, but not one that I'm convinced this book answers. Why? Because I'm not particularly of the opinion that the main character, Abby, is a good woman. I'd go as far as to say that most of this book is populated with characters who aren't particularly likeable. That doesn't mean that it is a bad story, or that I didn't find myself totally gripped by it.

Abby is spending forty nights locked in a small room that her father has built in the side of a Californian mission. I'm not really sure what missions are, but obviously some kind of religious structure, Google tells me that they were used by the Spanish for converting the native population to Christianity. Her father hasn't done this as a punishment for Abby, or anything like that. Instead, she is trying to write a book about the Anchorites who lived in small cells in the walls of Churches and Cathedrals in medieval Europe. She does this without the permission of the people who run the Mission, putting her father's job in danger. She also pressures her father, who is against the whole idea, into helping her and doesn't tell the man that she is thinking of marrying that she is doing and where she is going. So far this 'good woman' seems to be self-obsessed and only bothered about what she wants to do.

When she sees a young woman, who is clearly in a bad way, dumped on the grass outside of her cell, she does nothing. While she couldn't have got out, she doesn't try particularly hard, she doesn't shout and scream on the off chance, however remote, of getting help. She stays quiet when the now dead body is discovered and the police arrive. She then pressures her father into claiming to have seen everything that happened. These actions then lead on to the thriller aspects of this book as we try to discover who the girl was, why she was left and by whom.

I was gripped by this story. I have to admit that I wasn't convinced who, if anyone, I wanted to win through. Abby, as I've mentioned is a childish, self-obsessed type and her father enables this behaviour. Her boyfriend Carlos was a little more likeable, but I couldn't really see what he saw in Abby. In any case, I did want to know what was going to happen and where the story would lead. I thought that the idea behind the storyline and the way that the plot played out was very interesting and the book itself was a thoroughly enjoyable read. 

Quinn's Resolution - Katie O'Sullivan

After Hurricane Nina: Quinn's Resolution: (Hot Hunks-Steamy Romance Collection, Book 5)After Hurricane Nina: Quinn's Resolution: by Katie O'Sullivan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a short stand-alone novella, which is part of a series where the other books are related, but you don't have to read them all. Rather than containing characters that appear in each book, the idea here is that an event leads to the storyline for each one. In this case, it is a cyclone which has an impact on the various heroes of the stories. Quinn's Resolution tells the story of an up and coming rock star; Quinn MacDonald. He doesn't actually experience the cyclone himself, having had to return to the US for a family funeral. His band members are caught in the natural disaster and much of this storyline focuses on him dealing with the aftermath of this.
I liked the fact that the story wasn't directly about someone who was involved in the storm but rather focused on how it might impact those who were involved less directly or left behind. It was also interesting to see how the record company dealt with Quinn after everything had changed.
I liked him and Phoebe as a couple and there was plenty of chemistry to their romance. This was a good quick read. If there was anything that leads to it getting a slightly lower star score than it might otherwise have had, then it was that it was a bit short. I don't mind novellas, but things seemed to jump forward once or twice in this. It didn't really matter, but it did mean that we didn't see the development or growth of a character or relationship that would have resulted in a longer book.
Overall this was a good read. I'd be interested to read others in the series to see how they dealt with the cyclone and its effects.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own


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Thursday, 21 March 2019

A Blunt Instrument - Georgette Heyer.

A Blunt InstrumentA Blunt Instrument by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I do enjoy Georgette Heyer's mystery novels. They are of a different time, but there is something that is still so very satisfying when you read them. Like many books of this period, there is a small cast of characters, all of whom potentially have a motive for doing away with the murder victim. Part of the fun is then trying to work out 'who-done-it'.
This particular story was quite ingenious, I did actually guess who the murderer was, but had decided that I must be wrong and barking up the wrong tree. When the big reveal came, I was fairly surprised to discover that I hadn't been mistaken after all.
I think one of the things that make Heyer's novels, both her murder mystery and Regency novels, so enjoyable, is her sense of humour. More than one of the characters in this book appears to be a caricature of a particular type. One of who takes himself very seriously and the other who does not at all.
This was a great read and I really enjoyed following Hemmingway and Hannasyde's attempts to get to the bottom of who the murder was and why. I have a few more of these books still to go, I seem to be reading them in no particular order, but I am looking forward to enjoying another one soon.

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Saturday, 16 March 2019

The Playmaker - Cathryn Fox

The Playmaker (Players on Ice #1)The Playmaker by Cathryn Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes I'm really in the mood for a good romance story and this one certainly delivers on that. This book has two of my favourite romance tropes; big brother's best friend and enemies to lovers. This was definitely just what I was in the mood for.
Cole or the Cockey Cannon as he's known when he's playing Ice Hockey hides behind the brash, full of himself exterior that his fans love. He has long had a love-hate relationship with his best friends younger sister Nina. It's pretty clear though, that he has always had a soft spot for her and has hidden it well beneath teasing and joking around. She has had similar feelings but is sure that they hate one another. When she needs his help to learn more about hockey, in order to write a romance series, she is reluctant to turn to him but feels she has no choice.
Although both Cole and Nina claim to hate one another, it soon becomes clear that this is far from the truth. I enjoyed the chemistry between them as they came to terms with their attraction and feelings.
In many ways, this book is far from original. It has many of the themes and conflicts that often appear in romance books. Sometimes though, that's just what you are looking for. The characters were well written and the chemistry worked well. The ending was a little cheesy, but really, what else are you expecting or looking for with this type of book?
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Friday, 15 March 2019

Cover Reveal - Witch's Honor


Witch’s Honor
Anya J. Cosgrove
(Bloody Hearts #2)
Publication date: April 11th 2019
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
First rescued by two smoking-hot brothers and now torn between them, what’s a witch to do?
Be good? Or wicked…
Alana is still a long way from mastering her magic when she embarks on a journey to save other witches. Jealousy and secret fester as she can’t help but fall for the two insanely similar but drastically different men in her life.
She has to choose between light or dark. Human or demon. Thom or Liam.
But her alluring roommates will soon be the least of her troubles. From deadly angels to uncovering her legacy as a Garrett witch, Alana’s life is about to change once again. And the maniacal demon that almost devoured her is still alive, biding his time…
Sequel to:


Author Bio:
Anya J Cosgrove lives in Qu├ębec with her husband, her beautiful son, and two mischievous cats. She works as a veterinarian by day. She’s a travel and Disney junkie and is passionate about her favorite paranormal series.
What would Buffy do? Kick ass!
Read it first! http://bit.ly/anyaslair

GIVEAWAY!
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Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Her Wild Ride - Heather Van Fleet

Her Wild Ride: An addictive, steamy biker MC romance suspense novel (Red Dragon MC Series Book 1)Her Wild Ride: An addictive, steamy biker MC romance suspense novel by Heather Van Fleet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Her Wild Ride tells the story of Niyol and Summer. Niyol has just been released from prison, for something he didn't do. He's now leaving his life and Motorbike club behind. His stepsister was going to drive him across the country, but when she isn't able to, her best friend Summer steps in.
Of course, this being a romance book things don't quite go to plan and their journey is full of life-altering experiences for both of them.
Niyol is quite sweet, despite his bad boy persona, it's obvious that there's a nice guy underneath (which is of course why bad boy romances are so appealing). He does hide it well from Summer and despite their obvious attraction for one another, he blows hot and cold. This actually happens more than once, which could be quite annoying, but the rest of the story made up for it.
As well as the romance angle, there's a lot more going on here. With Niyol (or Hawk as he's known to his MC brothers) having to decide who he wants to be and what is important in his life. He also finds out things that had been hidden to him since he was little. The book ends with the conclusion of this story, but it's obvious that there's more still to be told, both with the single members of the MC gang, but also with what will happen to the MC.
All in all a good read and I'd be interested to read more in the series when they come out.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Born of Nothing - Jill Ramsower


Born of Nothing
Jill Ramsower
(The Fae Games #4)
Publication date: March 5th 2019
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
It was over before it began.
A druid woman and a Fae man—we were two people from different worlds, only by chance did our paths happen to cross. He was beautiful and damaged and totally captivating. If only I could have continued to buy into the propaganda of fear and hate my people had taught me about the Fae, then maybe I would have believed him to be the savage he appeared to be.
Instead, I offered the cryptic man my help. The time I spent with him allowed me to see the man he was behind the chiseled, formal exterior. What developed between us was tender, intimate, and totally unexpected.
My druid family was not as enlightened as I was. My mom didn’t want me near the Fae; she certainly never would have understood that I had developed feelings for a Fae man. I tried to keep my private life a secret. I tried to keep the peace, but my mother’s threats and intolerance left me with no choice. I had to make the hardest decision of my life. I had to leave the only family I’d ever known. I just never imagined what I’d face when I didn’t make it out in time…


Author Bio:
Jill is a Texan, born and raised. She manages the hectic social calendars for her three active children and occasionally spends an evening with her dashing husband. Aside from being an author and a mom, she’s an attorney, travel junkie, and voracious reader.

My Review

We first met both Fen and Cat in the first two books of this series, although at that point they hadn't actually met one another. Fen has lived for centuries in exile, losing just about everything, but his mind in the process. Cat, on the other hand, has lived a very sheltered life, with her mother and some of the other druids controlling almost everything that she does. In many ways, they seem like an odd match, but from the moment that they meet, there is something that draws them together. 

In many ways, this is quite different from the other books in the series, indeed, it is quite different from many romance books that you might come across. When Cat tries to challenge her family in order to be with the man that she loves she is taken and subjected to terrible abuse. I have to admit that it wasn't something that I had been expecting and took me a little by surprise. But, the story was well written and it worked well. I won't say that it was an 'enjoyable' read because that's not really the right turn of phrase for something so horrible, but it was a good read.

Of course, this being a romance, you know in the end where things are likely to go. There is plenty to keep you guessing in the meantime. I've really enjoyed this series so far. I don't know if there are more planned, (although I hope so) this is a great addition to the other books so far.

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Monday, 11 March 2019

Heartlands - Kerry Watts

Heartlands (Detective Jessie Blake #1)Heartlands by Kerry Watts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I thought that I wasn't going to get on well with this book. To begin with, I found the huge amount of characters that were introduced in such a short space of time quite confusing and with quite a few of them, there wasn't anything obvious to make them stand out. I found myself flicking back and forth trying to decide who was who. It's a bit unfortunate really, as I suspect that this might put some people off, which would be a real shame as once you get past that initial phase, the story moves quickly and develops well.
Heartlands tells the story of a missing teenage girl. As the detectives start to investigate it becomes clear that there are plenty of secrets being hidden in the small community and the disappearance is causing them all to be revealed. Alongside this, is the story of a girl who disappeared twenty years earlier. There are parallels between her and this current missing girl story. I did assume that it had happened in the same place and couldn't understand why more people hadn't seen the similarity, but I realised later that it was in the North of England, while the rest of the story takes place in Scotland.
This book works well on many levels. Not only do you have the main mystery itself, but we also see how the missing girl twenty years ago affected both her family and the people involved in her murder. There are a few twists and turns in this one, most of which I saw coming, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book. I did think that some of the people acted a little oddly. I'm not sure if I was dealing with any life-changing experiences that they were, I would have had the emotional energy to help out friends who were going through similar, but different experiences.
This was a very good start to a series and I'll be looking forward to finding out what will happen next for Jessie, the lead detective in this book. She clearly has a back story and past that I suspect will be catching up with her in the near future in perhaps the next book.
This isn't an easy light read, there are a lot of characters to get your head around and plenty happening in this fast-moving storyline. Don't let that put you off, because you will miss out on a good read if you do.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


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Thursday, 7 March 2019

Come Undone - Penny Dee

Come Undone (A Hockey Romance)Come Undone by Penny Dee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not going to pretend that I know much (anything) about ice hockey. I have actually watched a couple of games before (once back home in Nottingham and the other time, randomly, in Moscow) but that's about the extent of my knowledge. Not that that stopped me from enjoying this book. Jake is a professional Ice Hockey player who has had the worlds worst luck, with just about everyone in his life dying. He is no longer playing and plans to shut himself away in a cabin in Canada. Enter Mackenzie, who takes him on as his agent and follows him to Canada to try and convince him not to give everything up.
Of course, the more time that Jake and Mackenzie spend together, the more they are drawn to one another and start to fall in love. This is a romance novel, so there are plenty of classic conflicts, situations and misunderstandings. With everything from being snowed into a feeling of betrayal and even an evil bad guy waiting in the wings. It could be a little cliched if it weren't for the fact that Penny Dee is such a good writer that you get pulled right into the story. It wasn't quite a one sitting read, as I had things to do, but it didn't take me much longer than that.
Jake was lovely, despite how damaged he was, he came off as relatively normal. Mackenzie was very likeable and they worked well together as a couple. I particularly enjoyed the jokey relationship that they developed right from the start, with the autocorrect on Jake's phone sparking off a flirtatious exchange.
I've read a few books by Penny Dee now and I'm quickly becoming a fan of her romances that offer a little more than a lot of similar books on the market.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Forbidden Passion Excerpt


Forbidden Passion
Sea Hardt
Publication date: October 20th 2018
Genres: Erotica, Romance
During Sara’s journey of passionate self-discovery, she meets two gorgeous men, Franco and Jayden.
In the midst of her sensual adventures, she is torn between her two lovers, but before she has the chance to make a choice they both slip away.
Eventually, their paths cross again but now Sara’s passion has turned to bitterness and she’s hell-bent on revenge.
Will she fulfill her vendetta or will her heart choose love?


Author Bio:
Sea Hardt lives in a cottage on the stunning island of Cyprus surrounded by the mediterranean waters. The gods have been kind to Sea and have graced her with a happy marriage complete with two boys. She has a plethora of interests including foraging second-hand bookshops for poetry and any other books she can curl up on the couch with a glass of red wine. With the support of her husband, she finds great fulfillment in writing steamy romance novels.

Website / Goodreads


Excerpt 

It was over a glass of ruby red wine that I had poured for both of us that I learned more about Jessica. She was a young girl doing her art studies at one of the New York art universities. 
Her constant life pursuit was arts and that is what brought her to NY where there was a plethora of universities. 
Her Full Name was Jessica James. 
Her mom was of Welsh descent and her father was a Jamaican that initially visited Wales on contract to produce a music album. He ended up meeting Jessica’s mother and in a very short while, they had their one and only child.  
She looked like she came from a wealthy family judging by her clothing and her accessories. Hardly in need for any financial assistance, she was never the less determined to not depend on her family for their money. 
She further revealed that she was very smitten for a certain married French man. Obviously not happy with the predicament of her choice, she was frustrated and unsure what the next step was. All she then knew is that she wanted to be around him always. 
Even in the shadows of his wife.” She confided in me while looking momentarily down.  
When not at the university dorms, she stayed with her Aunt who lived on a horse ranch just outside NY. 
Her striking eyes were softer and showed less hardness than I remember from a few days ago.  
On her summer breaks, for extra money she did photo shoots of all types and was very comfortable in front of the camera, even doing a few shoots for a lingerie magazine.  
What I found extra interesting was that she was also an affiliate to a large sex products company.  
Yes!!!” I said sitting up while playfully overdramatizing my act. 
That's intriguing,” I said feeling like I was getting onto a more personal level with her.  
Tell me exactly what you do.” I enquired encouraging her further. 
She looked down into her velvety wine before she halfway gazed back up at me. The effect and drama of her look was both playful and intoxicatingly sexy as her lips broke out in a naughty smile.  

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Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Murder in the Dining Room - Betty Rowlands

Murder in the Dining Room: An absolutely gripping British cozy mystery (A Melissa Craig Mystery Book 11)Murder in the Dining Room: An absolutely gripping British cozy mystery by Betty Rowlands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This Mel Craig book as a little different to the previous ones in the series. This time, rather than Mel getting involved in a mystery and investigating what had happened, her mother was in the thick of things. Mel was reunited with her estranged mother in the previous book, after the death of her father. Now in a residential home for the elderly, which is more like a hotel than anything, while she waits for the extension to be done to Mel's house, Sylvia finds that she the death of a dog, followed by her owner makes her suspicious that a murderer is at large.
I did find it quite funny that Mel did her best to stop her mother from investigating when in previous books she's been the one nosing into things and ignoring everyone else. Of course, her mother doesn't listen and before long both Sylvia and Mel are independently trying to get to the bottom of what happened.
This was another really enjoyable mystery. Sadly, this time I didn't quite manage to solve it all before the reveal, but that never detracts from the enjoyment of a book like this. I think that there's only one more Mel Craig book to go, which is a bit of a shame, as I've been thoroughly enjoying them.

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The Sweetest Match - Abby Tyler

The Sweetest Match - Abby Tyler

The Sweetest Match

She hid secret messages in frosting, thinking no one would notice.
The Sweetest match by Abby Tyler

Abby Tyler welcomes you to the witty, well-meaning busybodies of Applebottom, Missouri, where the community takes its pies -- and its matchmaking -- very seriously.
When Sandy Miller emerges from her shack on the edge of town after eighteen years, she finds a job making tea cakes for a little shop on Town Square.
But then everyone starts spotting secret words of love and longing on her cakes.
Andrew McCallister is the first to admit that he never got over Sandy Miller when she dropped out of high school and disappeared. But now she’s back.
He just has to get the guts to talk to her.
When the town summons the pair to a meeting to plan the school’s centennial bash, Andrew and Sandy discover they are the only two members of the committee. As they attempt to rekindle the long-lost flame, they realize the community must come together for more than an anniversary party. For their new relationship to flourish, the old guard must learn to support their most vulnerable members even when times get hard.


AUTHOR BIO:
Abby Tyler loves puppy dogs, pie, and small towns (she grew up in one!) Her Applebottom Matchmaker Society books combine the sweet and wholesome style of romance she loves with the funny, sometimes a-little-too-truthful characters she remembers from growing up in a place where everyone knew everybody’s business.

Author links:

My Review

What do you get if you take a humorous cosy mystery and then remove the mystery element but add a little more romance? This book. That might seem like a bit of an odd thing to say. After all, surely all mystery books without the mystery are something else? But in this case, it's all there. The small community, the interesting and quirky busy body characters, all it needs is a dead body or two. But this is, after all, a romance, so perhaps it should be called a cosy romance?

The love element of the story is nice. Two people who knew each other back in high school and have always held a candle for one another finally get together. They're helped along the way by the plotting and scheming of the local townspeople, who do all they can to throw them into each other's path. In many ways, this is an old fashioned romance, with barely even a kiss taking place. It is very conscious of this though, with the two main characters joking about chaperones and carriages.

I enjoyed the light-hearted humour of the book and I liked the connection between the characters. It isn't the kind of book that I usually read, but it mead a pleasant change. I assume communities like the one described must exist somewhere, but not in any world I've ever lived in. Still, it was good fun. I think that there are more romances to come in this series and if the author ever gets bored of writing them, she can always throw in a corpse or two for a change.