The Secret at Arnford Hall-a Cheshire love story by Mollie Blake @MollieBlake0 #Cheshire #amreading

I’m really happy to welcome local author Mollie Blake to My Chestnut Reading Tree. I met Mollie at a local gathering of authors, bloggers and readers and have been following her writing journey with excitement as she counted down to her publication with Black Opal books. Here Mollie gives us her thoughts on that journey.

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Firstly I would like to thank you, Jo, for inviting me to write a guest post for your wonderful My Chestnut Reading Tree blog. I feel very honoured to be included among some amazing authors who have written such wonderful, clever and intriguing books. I hope I am somewhere near worthy to sit alongside them.
So how did I get here? I guess it sort of started nearly eight years ago when I made the leap from boardroom to playground at the fulfilling age of forty-six. There were times when it felt more like a plunge than a leap. Suddenly the fulfilments of cycling a hundred miles, learning to ride a motorbike, sitting on a board as finance director, and having a baby, seemed less than a memory. It was as if they had become figments of my imagination.
Except the baby, of course.
As I crept towards my fifties the rewards of motherhood and the privilege of being an almost fulltime mum, became blemished with feelings of loss of self-worth and lack of achievement. I needed another challenge in my life. One which would fit in with my role as mother.
They say there’s a book in all of us. Well, I decided to give it a go. I am quite an eclectic reader of fiction and love reading thrillers, romance and comedy. Reading Fifty Shades also reminded me I used to enjoy a steamy love story.
So I set about writing a story of “provocative romance and alluring suspense.”
After self-publishing with limited success, I forwarded one of my manuscripts to an American publisher, Black Opal Books. I was delighted to be offered a contract at the end of 2015 for my story “The Secret At Arnford Hall.”
I have five books with the publisher now and am writing a sixth. I always have a notebook to hand and my dictionary and thesaurus are never far away. I write romantic thrillers spiced with steamy sex scenes. My aim is to ensure that readers are eager to meet realistic characters, unravel dangerous plots and discover intriguing secrets.
As my journey continues, I feel privileged to be part of the writing and reading community. I am a member of the International Thriller Writers group and the Romantic Novelists Association in the UK. I have learned so much from other authors, editors and bloggers, and I have met some amazing people, whose enthusiasm for reading and writing is contagious.
The relationship with the publisher has taught me patience; everything takes such a long time. But I think the rewards are worth it. I have enjoyed the editing experience and my book has been given a fabulous cover. I can reach a wider audience of readers through bloggers and reviewers and I am forever grateful for any feedback.
As the first book was released on 4th February, I am looking forward to the process for my next two books to be published, Keeping You and Guiltless, which are due out in the summer. But my favourite pastime is to write more stories. Finding myself writing about various forms of abuse has also inspired me to seek ways to help raise funds for victims of abuse in the future. It all keeps me busy.

Thanks so much Mollie for sharing your very personal journey to publication with us today. I wish you continued success in 2017 and beyond! If you want to find out more about Mollie then you can visit her website HERE and find out more about her book HERE 

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About this book…

He lived in a nightmare. His son brought him daylight. Can this woman be his breaking dawn?

Gabriel Black didn’t give a damn about the world. Until, that is, his seven-year-old son enters his life for the first time. The young boy brings daylight into the darkness of Gabriel’s world. But a single parent needs a distraction. And this single parent has no limits when it comes to getting what he wants…

She’s built a new life for herself on the ruins of the old, but this man can destroy everything she’s worked so hard to gain…

Grace McGuire lives with a dark secret—one that, if revealed, will destroy her new life. Then her world collides with that of forceful Gabriel Black, a multi-millionaire with a secret of his own, a secret Grace is determined to uncover for her sanity and all she holds dear.

My review…

Although I mainly review crime and psychological thrillers nowadays, I do have a huge affection for romance which I have had since my obsessive reading of Mills and Boon as a teenager. And I love that nowadays it’s far more acceptable for romance books not to stop at the bedroom door!

The Secret at Arnford Hall works well due to Mollie Blake really getting inside the heads of both her main characters and you can tell that, even when Gabriel is at his worst, she has a huge affection for him. Both Gabriel and Grace have secrets which have made them emotionally damaged individuals who have hidden their true selves away from the world but the author slowly builds their connection with her descriptive writing style that pulls you deeper into this untraditional affair. I have to say that this is a long book at just under 600 pages but it never dragged and kept my interest right up until the final page.

Although the relationship between Gabriel and Grace takes centre stage, there is also the chance to watch the relationship develop between father and son which kickstarts Gabriel’s journey of self discovery as he faces up to the secret that haunts him, the one that challenges his emotions, making him the cold and aloof autocrat we first meet. And then Mollie Blake gradually works her magic, peeling away his layers until we find out what the family has tried to bury deep within its history. The author isn’t afraid to tackle some harrowing topics but does so with understanding and sensitivity.

It’s like Fifty Shades of Grey meets The Real Housewives of Cheshire, a sexy Beauty and the Beast fairy tale for grown-ups, with characters you will come to love or hate, all set within the playground of the wealthy Cheshire set. If you like your romance on the deeply sensual side, dripping with designer products, beautiful people and dark intrigue then this is the book for you!

Many thanks to the author for my review copy of The Secret at Arnford Hall: A Cheshire Love Story which was published in February 4th by Black Opal books.

Last Kiss by Laurelin Paige **Blog Tour**

So today I am a little bit starstruck as I have Laurelin Paige here to answer a few questions that I have wanted to ask her since becoming a bit of a fan last year! So lets give Laurelin a huge “My Chestnut Reading Tree” welcome!

Could you describe your typical working day?

Generally, I work on emails and messages when I first wake up. Then I take care of any business resulting from those before I shut myself off from everyone, put on my headphones and get to writing. That’s my typical schedule five days a week. On Sundays, I take the day off and on Tuesdays I take the day off from writing so I can devote my time specifically to mail and any other business items I need to catch up on.

As a mother of daughters (like myself!) what is the one piece of advice you would give them about love and/or sex?

It’s hard to narrow this down to just one piece of advice so you’re going to get a few. First, consent, consent, consent. I’m teaching my girls the importance of consent and how to handle themselves in situations where their consent is not acknowledged. Second, I’m teaching them that love and sex are not the same thing and that, while both are fine on their own, they look much different together. Third, I want them to know that just because their bodies are ready for sex, it doesn’t mean they are. And if they want to explore sexual pleasure, it’s fine to do it on their own rather than thinking they have to venture into relationships they aren’t ready for.

Do you fall in love with your leading men when you are writing them and does your husband get jealous?

I do fall in love with them! But my husband doesn’t get jealous because he’s convinced all of them are based on him. (Spoiler: they’re not)

I see you are a sucker for a romantic kiss. What is the best kiss you have ever seen on screen?

There are so many. So, so many. But honestly? Whether you’re a fan of the book or not, the elevator kiss from 50 Shades of Grey has to be the best kiss ever to be seen on screen. I watched the trailer for that over and over and over and over just to see that kiss. Yummy.

Which of your books would you like to see make it to the big screen and why? And any preferences for the actors?

I have a hard time picking actors for my characters, but I’d love to see First Touch and Last Kiss on the big screen. I based so much of it on old Hitchcock films that I think the mood of the series lends itself to film.

Thank you so much for finding time to answer my questions Laurelin and I hope everyone enjoyed finding out a little bit more about what makes you tick!

Thanks for having me! I had a great time chatting Jo!

 

Last Kiss by Laurelin Paige is out now on ebook, and is released in paperback on 5th July and here is a little bit more about Last Kiss and my review…

 

 

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Last Kiss by Laurelin Paige

About this book…

Emily Wayborn has made a decision.

She might not fully trust handsome and deadly Reeve Sallis, but he is the one person that gives her what she needs. With Reeve she can finally be herself. Submitting to him is the only thing keeping her grounded as the rest of her life falls apart. But the hotelier is a master at keeping secrets, and as she continues her quest for answers someone is making sure she doesn’t find them.

Time is running out, and she is questioning everything she thought she knew about friendship and love. She must now make an impossible choice that will determine if she will survive with her heart…or at all.

My review…

Anyone who read my review for First Touch #1 in the First and Last series knows that I was absolutely desperate to get my hands on this book!!! First Touch ended with such a cliffhanger that I was totally gobsmacked and wondered where on earth Laurelin Paige was going to go next with this story. Well, I have now found out EXACTLY where she was going and this book has provided the perfect conclusion for the story of Emily and Reeve but I am incredibly sad to have to say goodbye to them.

Without giving too much away, an huge obstacle blocked the way for the blossoming love affair between actress Emily and Hotelier Reeve Sallis. They were getting very hot and heavy and things were looking like they were becoming a little bit more permanent. But their path to a happy ever after was never going to run smoothly, what with ex girlfriends, ex boyfriends and mobsters determined to throw a spanner in the works.

I have read Sylvia Day and E.L James but Laurelin Page blows these authors out of the water! The sex scenes are pretty mind blowing, the submissive Emily now very accepting of her own personal preferences but she has met her match with Reeve. Second books often don’t live up to the first as the relationships between the characters changes as they become closer and there isn’t that breath-holding build up to their liaisons. But here the momentum is maintained constantly and the author keeps us guessing right up until the end. And what an ending!

I hadn’t heard of Laurelin Paige until First Touch but she is now my very favourite author of this genre. She writes about characters you really come to feel that you know and care about. As I’ve said before, she writes such great storylines that I would have given this 5* even without the sex as I just love the journey she takes her readers on. But saying that, she writes some of the best erotically charged sex scenes that I have read, I didn’t skip any of them!! (unlike a certain best selling erotic romance where I got so bored with the sexy stuff I just flicked past it! Yawn!). After I read First Touch I said I wanted to read everything else she had written so I did and I have to say that this series is no “one off” she truly does write sexier than Sylvia Day! I can’t wait to read what she writes next, although Emily and Reeves story was pretty darn perfect and will be hard to beat!

I received a copy of this book via netgalley in return for an unbiased review.

Publication date 14th June 2016
Last Kiss (A First and Last Novel Book 2) is available to buy at Amazon UK

And to find out more about Laurelin then check out the rest of the stops on the Last Kiss blog tour
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Last Kiss by Laurelin Paige

About this book…

Emily Wayborn has made a decision.

She might not fully trust handsome and deadly Reeve Sallis, but he is the one person that gives her what she needs. With Reeve she can finally be herself. Submitting to him is the only thing keeping her grounded as the rest of her life falls apart. But the hotelier is a master at keeping secrets, and as she continues her quest for answers someone is making sure she doesn’t find them.

Time is running out, and she is questioning everything she thought she knew about friendship and love. She must now make an impossible choice that will determine if she will survive with her heart…or at all.

My review…

Anyone who read my review for First Touch #1 in the First and Last series knows that I was absolutely desperate to get my hands on this book!!! First Touch ended with such a cliffhanger that I was totally gobsmacked and wondered where on earth Laurelin Paige was going to go next with this story. Well, I have now found out EXACTLY where she was going and this book has provided the perfect conclusion for the story of Emily and Reeve but I am incredibly sad to have to say goodbye to them.

Without giving too much away, an huge obstacle blocked the way for the blossoming love affair between actress Emily and Hotelier Reeve Sallis. They were getting very hot and heavy and things were looking like they were becoming a little bit more permanent. But their path to a happy ever after was never going to run smoothly, what with ex girlfriends, ex boyfriends and mobsters determined to throw a spanner in the works.

I have read Sylvia Day and E.L James but Laurelin Page blows these authors out of the water! The sex scenes are pretty mind blowing, the submissive Emily now very accepting of her own personal preferences but she has met her match with Reeve. Second books often don’t live up to the first as the relationships between the characters changes as they become closer and there isn’t that breath-holding build up to their liaisons. But here the momentum is maintained constantly and the author keeps us guessing right up until the end. And what an ending!

I hadn’t heard of Laurelin Paige until First Touch but she is now my very favourite author of this genre. She writes about characters you really come to feel that you know and care about. As I’ve said before, she writes such great storylines that I would have given this 5* even without the sex as I just love the journey she takes her readers on. But saying that, she writes some of the best erotically charged sex scenes that I have read, I didn’t skip any of them!! (unlike a certain best selling erotic romance where I got so bored with the sexy stuff I just flicked past it! Yawn!). After I read First Touch I said I wanted to read everything else she had written so I did and I have to say that this series is no “one off” she truly does write sexier than Sylvia Day! I can’t wait to read what she writes next, although Emily and Reeves story was pretty darn perfect and will be hard to beat!

I received a copy of this book via netgalley in return for an unbiased review.

Publication date 14th June 2016
Last Kiss (A First and Last Novel Book 2) is available to pre-order at Amazon UK

First Touch by Laurelin Paige

After a week of reading too many psychological thrillers and suspense with very similar storylines I have decided I need a little bit of a break from the genre! A little “lemon sorbet” of a book to cleanse my palate is needed and I’ve chosen Last Kiss which is the second part of the Fast and Last series, an erotic romance. I read the first in the series last year and just loved it but it was before I started blogging. So I thought I’d share that review with you today from December last year before I review First Touch tomorrow. The tagline on this says “Sexier than Sylvia Day” and that is pretty bang on the money for this author!

About First Touch…

When Emily Wayborn receives an answerphone message from her former best friend Amber, she knows something is seriously wrong. Emily hasn’t spoken to Amber in years, and when Amber uses a safe word in her message that Emily recognises — a word they always used to get out of sticky situations during their wild partying days — she knows Amber needs her help. But when Emily tries to find her, she discovers that Amber is missing.

Determined to track her down, Emily follows a chain of clues that lead her to enigmatic billionaire Reeve Sallis. Renowned for his shady dealings and playboy reputation, Emily is convinced that Reeve knows something about Amber’s disappearance. To try and discover the truth, Emily sets out to seduce him. But when she’s forced to decide where her loyalty lies, how will Emily choose between saving Amber and saving her heart?

My review…

**First published on Goodreads 29th December 2015**

OMG there are cliffhangers and there is this….so beyond a cliffhanger that first thing I did when I finished (apart from starting to breathe again!) was to look when book #2 was out! June??? JUNE????? This is the only negative to getting an ARC, you have to wait so much longer for the next book!! First Touch has been recommended for fans of FSOG and Sylvia Day but IMHO Laurelin Paige knocks those authors into the middle of next week and then some. This was my first experience of Laurelin Paige and let me tell you I loved it and will be using the next 6 months (JUNE????) to catch up on her other books.
Emily and her BFF Amber had a parting of ways 6 years ago. Their wild ways led to a fallout and Emily hasn’t seen or heard from Amber since. That is until she discovers an ansaphone message on her mother’s home phone from Amber. It sounds normal enough to other people but to Emily, it’s a call for help as Amber has used their “safe word”. Digging deeper, Emily discovers that Amber is missing and after employing Joe, a private investigator, the trail leads to Ambers last boyfriend, Reeves Sallis. Thankfully, actress Emily is stunning and sets out to seduce the mysterious and enigmatic businessman in a bid to find out what happened to her friend.
This is an incredibly hot and erotic suspense. The chemistry between the two main characters is very slow to build and feels all the more suspenseful because of that!! Be warned the sex scenes are pretty full on strong BDSM at times. Emily is VERY submissive and Reeves is pretty full on control freak! And I have to say that sometimes I just wanted to shout at Emily “Have some self respect for goodness sake woman!!!” But it wouldn’t work if her character were any different and the more we discover about Emily (and her friendship with Amber) the more we realise why she is the way she is.
The thing is, this book would have had 5* from me even without the raunchy stuff as the author spins a wonderfully written tale of friendship and relationships but with the added bonus of gorgeous, sexy but flawed, characters. I loved this book and if you need a total escape over the festive period, tuck into the story of Emily and Reeve and be prepared to lose yourself for hours. But be prepared for the mother of all cliffhangers at the end!
I received a copy of the book via netgalley in return for an honest review.
First Touch (A First and Last Novel Book 1) is available at Amazon UK

Delivered (Monster Trilogy Book 3) by Marissa Farrar

About this book…

Lily

Captive at the hands of a dangerous adversary, Lily is the payment for a debt that wasn’t her own. More lives are at risk than hers alone, but her need to help others may just put her in the position she fears the most. Can she resist the seductive charms of Monster’s enemy, or will she fall victim to both him and the men around him?

Monster

Fighting for his life, Monster’s only reason for living is getting Lily back. When a figure from his past re-enters his life, Monster has to untangle his past from his present in order to figure out his future.

Delivered

Will Monster and Lily find their way back to each other, or will forces both internal and external keep them apart for good?

My review…

I have read both the other books in this trilogy so I was very excited to hear from the author that the third part was about to come out and would I like an ARC in return for an honest review. Well, I nearly bit her hand off as I had been desperate to find out how Lily and Monsters story would end!

This book pretty much takes off exactly where book 2 left us hanging on that massive cliffhanger. Firstly I would say that this is one book where you definitely have to read the previous books in the series or you will struggle to work out who is who and what has occurred previously. All the books follow Lily and Merrick, the first is pretty raunchy as it describes how they meet, the second continues the story of their relationship and this third is slightly more action packed as Merrick attempts to rescue Lily and Jess from the sex traffickers. There is also an unexpected “blast from the past” for Merrick that may throw a spanner in the works!

Marissa Farrar is a fabulous storyteller. She is imaginative (yes I’m talking about THAT scene in the dining room) and enthusiastic in her plotting and I enjoy absolutely every minute of her books. Her characters are people that you care about and take to your heart. Her books are a real “guilty pleasure” for me and this trilogy has been great. Each book is a great length, just long enough to build up tension to a cliffhanger but not too long so that it drags the story out with lots of padding. I hope she writes something similar in the near future as I have thoroughly enjoyed the Monster Trilogy!

Publication date 30th May 2016

Available to buy at Amazon

Here is my review of book 2 Denied

Denied by Marissa Farrar

About this book..

Lily 
After Monster makes an impossible choice that throws her world into chaos, Lily finds herself back in America. Unable to allow what happened to her to go unpunished, and riddled with survivor’s guilt, Lily decides she needs to track down the traffickers who took her.

Monster

Monster has only ever wanted to keep his Flower safe, but, when he hears of her plans, he is forced to take control once more. Stepping out of his comfort zone, he vows to once more make her his captive.

Denied

Except Lily doesn’t know the true reason for Monster making the choice that has led to her current situation, and her actions have made her the target of someone who wants a debt paid – a debt that must be paid in flesh…

My review..

So we have come to the second part of this gloriously dark romance that is a modern twist on the Beauty and the Beast. Please do read Book One (Defaced) before attempting to read this book in the trilogy as you will take so much more away with you when you do.

The beautiful Lily wakes up back home in her LA apartment far away from her captor and lover Monster. Why has he sent her back? It quickly becomes apparent that danger has followed Lily home as she decides to investigate further the sex traffickers who took her initially. Will Monster protect his “flower” or has she now fulfilled her purpose now she has treated his birthmark.

This is a shaping up to be a great trilogy and this second book really cranks up the tension now that the scene has been set. Yes, it is a very dark romance that contains some very steamy sex scenes and yes, the story is concerned with sex trafficking but there is a love story at its centre- two people finding what they didn’t even know they were looking for in a very unexpected situation! Denied is much more action packed than Defaced and there isn’t so much about Monsters past now that we know why his personality developed the way it did. I still found it to be a great follow on and enjoyed watching how the relationship adjusted itself to its new surroundings.

I love the way Marissa writes, her passion for her characters really shines through and she can certainly write a darn good raunchy sex scene! Just be warned that again this ends of a bit of a cliffhanger and you will want to get your hands on the final book in the trilogy asap!! Thankfully it is in the pipeline for a release in May and can already be preordered!

Many thanks to the author for providing a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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Available to pre-order on Amazon