THE SECRET AT ARNFORD HALL by Molly Blake #Erotic #Cheshire #LoveStory @MollieBlake0

The Secret At Arnford Hall ~ A Cheshire Love StoryThe Secret At Arnford Hall ~ A Cheshire Love Story by Mollie Blake
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three Point Five Stars.

The Secret at Arnford Hall is an erotic family saga, set in and around Cheshire. Multi-millionaire Gabriel Black has a secret which has controlled and twisted his adult life. On the outside he is a ruthless businessman, on the inside an emotional mess.

The book opens with us joining Gabriel; he has recently been informed of the death of the mother of his only child, a seven year old boy. Gabriel is now being asked to step into the parental role and agree to a set of strict instructions about his son’s upbringing. One of these is that John must be educated in the state run system.

With a desire to do what is right and be a real father to his son, Gabriel throws himself and his household into parenthood. He meets Mrs Grace McGuire, John’s teacher, but can’t help himself. His need for control has him running a full background search on her. He discovers she too has a dark secret which he uses to blackmail her.

Gabriel’s sex life is one of control, featuring punishment and reward. He’s only previously grasped at love, finding release in BDSM. He expects Grace to comply, enjoys shocking her and keeping her on edge. Can Grace ever hope to stand up to the monster and change Gabriel?

This tale follows a classic storyline arc of this genre. Take an ultimate male: cold, harsh, dominant bachelor, and turn him into a warm, loving, devoted husband and family man. Add to this the second arc: from absent father, to loving parent. Throw into the mix the reason both Gabriel and Grace’s lives are in turmoil, a snip of complex family issues, and siblings with their own hang-ups. Add a pinch of evil step-mother and you have a boiling cauldron ready to explode from the page.

Did it all work for me? The whole controlling, dominant flawed male, shouted “Fifty Shades of Grey” to me. An extremely lucrative series, even if few people have anything positive to say about it, the deep appeal for many women being the desire to change a man for the better. The storyline of the estranged father becoming the doting parent was okay; it split up the heavy tension between Gabriel and Grace. However, I felt it competed with the main story arc on too many occasions and could have been cut back.

The book has many sub-plots running through it too; as a personal preference I would have liked more about Grace’s secret and its effect on her, rather than one involving finding her brother. Mrs Black’s role was under-developed for me, I was hoping for a very dark and twisted women to be portrayed which would have backed up Gabriel’s compliance to his father’s wishes. I didn’t believe the reasons for him keeping his promise to his father. He was a ruthless businessman who had access to an impressive range of technology, and could easily have countered any hold Mrs Black had, with a bit of surveillance and blackmail himself.

Overall, the book might appeal to those who enjoyed “Fifty Shades of Grey” and want to read a similar story. For me it tried a little too hard with too many competing storylines. Some of these could have been trimmed further or removed completely. I felt they erred towards watering down the erotica genre and pushing it into family saga mode. There was room to tighten the writing; small points of repetition, clunky dialogue in places, forgetting the reader doesn’t need telling about shutting of car doors, sitting on chairs etc. So for me it was just an “okay” read.

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Book Description

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.

About the author


Mollie Blake is the happily married mother of one son and lives in the UK. Having left a former life as finance director of a privately owned multi-national in order to look after her son, Mollie has gone on to develop a passion for writing romance laced with danger and spiced with steamy scenes. She is a creative and explorative writer, and has a strong desire to make her readers eager to meet her characters and unravel plots to discover their secrets.  With a love of romance, an enjoyment of the thrill of danger, and an intense desire for scenes of passion and sensuality, Mollie has written five books so far, all under contract with her American publisher Black Opal Books. She is also a proud member of the International Thriller Writers group and the Romantic Novelists Association in the UK. Her first book “The Secret At Arnford Hall” is out now – a provocative romance laced with alluring suspense.

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Stable Mates by @ZaraStoneley #Bookreview

Stable MatesStable Mates by Zara Stoneley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stable Mates is a hot romance or bonkbuster and not a book for those who like their romances sweet. Written in a style similar to Jilly Cooper it may not be for some readers, while others will thoroughly enjoy this romp around the Cheshire countryside involving death, disaster, passion and feuds.

Rory Steel is a sexy three-day eventer and owner of a small horse yard in Tippermere. Billy Blinkley is a former superstar show-jumper with a reputation as a womaniser. Amanda James is a grieving widow and now owner of Folly Lake Equestrian Centre, while Lady Elizabeth Stanthorpe resides over all the proceedings with a meddling and mischievous skill.

Through lots of confusion and twists Lottie, Billy’s daughter is searching for reasons why she loves the place and is desperate not to see it sold off and her father left homeless. Should she keep forever chasing the hopeless Rory or should she look for love and stability elsewhere? Perhaps Mick the Irish Farrier has the answers or perhaps Tom the supermodel?

This was a fun read and very suitable as a holiday or beach read.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

Stable Mates Tour Banner

Welcome to tranquil Tippermere, an idyllic village nestled deep in the Cheshire countryside. Home to lords and ladies, horsemen and farmers, and plenty of secrets and scandals… Leaving a scumbag ex behind her, Lottie Brinkley has hotfooted it out of Spain and back home to the country in serious need of some flirtatious fun to soothe her aching heart. Luckily for her she’s spoilt for choice with not one but three eligible bachelors offering a steamy romp in the hay! But faced with the attentions of roguish eventer Rory Steel, the smiling Irish eyes of hunky farrier Mick O’Neal, and mysterious newcomer Tom Strachan, how can she possibly choose? When billionaire landowner Marcus James drops dead unexpectedly, his WAGish wife Amanda threatens to sell the heart of the village and sets her sights on Tom! It seems things are heating up for little Tippermere… both in and out of the saddle.
What readers are saying …

‘A delightful romp peppered with humour, sadness, scandal and steamy sex.’ ‘…reminded me of Jilly Cooper whose books I grew up with. Stable Mates is up there with Riders and Rivals. If you loved these books then you will love this one’ ‘…the perfect mix of horsey shenanigans, Cheshire glamour and flirty fun.’


Author Bio


Bestselling author Zara Stoneley lives in deepest Cheshire surrounded by horses, dogs, cats and amazing countryside. When she’s not visiting wine bars, artisan markets or admiring the scenery in her sexy high heels or green wellies, she can be found in flip flops on the beach in Barcelona, or more likely sampling the tapas!

Zara writes hot romance and bonkbusters. Her latest novel, ‘Stable Mates’, is a fun romp through the Cheshire countryside and combines some of her greatest loves – horses, dogs, hot men and strong women (and not forgetting champagne and fast cars)!

She writes for Harper Collins and Accent Press.

Author Links

Find out more about Zara:

Website      Twitter        Facebook        Google+

Buy Links

Amazon       Barnes & Noble      Kobo   Foyles  Waterstones

Sainsbury’s      Google Play        iTunes    Blackwells


The giveaway for the tour is 1 signed paperback (uk only) and 1 ecopy (international).
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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Alison reviews Wild Water by Jan Ruth

Today’s book review come from Alison, she blogs at


Alison chose to read and review Wild Water by Jan Ruth


Wild Water by Jan Ruth

This is a thoroughly enjoyable read that, at times, I found hard to put down. Jack is forty-something, successfully running the Wilmslow branch of the family’s estate agency. He has it all, the big house, the Aston Martin, and is still good-looking and charming. But beneath it all, his life has reached a crisis – his wife is behaving strangely, his daughter is craving his attention, and his teenage son is struggling with school. Then his dad suffers a heart scare, and Jack travels to Wales to look after the office there, where he finds one of the clients is his childhood sweetheart, Anna.

Everything comes to a head at Christmas, and Jack has some tough decisions to make in this charming, funny, at times heart-breaking novel. You’ll find yourself willing Jack to make the right decisions, and really caring that he finds the happiness he deserves.

Jan Ruth manages to make you care for her characters, and skilfully contrasts upmarket Wilmslow with the ruggedness of the wild Welsh countryside, bringing both to life. The relationships between Jack and his children are well-drawn, particularly between Jack and his youngest daughter Lottie – their conversations will make you laugh and cry.

Recommended – I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.

5 out of 5 stars.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Honor reviews Wild Water by Jan Ruth

Today we have a review by team member Honor, she blogs here


She chose to read and review Wild Water by Jan Ruth


Here is her review.

Wild Water 1 — Jan Ruth

The story has some good characterisation that draws in the reader. I felt very sympathetic to Jack, who came across as hard working and sensible. It did make me wonder if it was realistic for him to be with someone like Patsy for as long as he had, she appears such a “high maintenance” woman expecting to achieve so much for little effort. Nonetheless, it made for an enjoyable read.

On the downside, as I read some passages where vital pieces of information were missing, there were times when the writing jumped around a little too much, leaving me confused. I didn’t always feel a situation was finalised before another started, since neighbouring paragraphs were often disconnected.

As a romance I would expect some spontaneity in some of the situations, as we are dealing with an emotional set of circumstances. I also felt some of the more dramatic moments in Jack and Anna’s lives were not told first hand, as it happened. I had gotten to know the characters so well, that I wanted to be there for the most stressful moments of their lives. Instead, I felt a little cheated to be hearing of things second hand without much detail.

The geographical setting was of minor importance as the story played out, we could have been anywhere in the UK, a pity for me as I have spent time in Cheshire, participated in some superb outdoor activities in North Wales particularly Snowdonia. I believe some description of the landscape and history would have been appropriate as it engenders passion among it’s peoples and vistors.

For me, the book was in two parts, with the first concentrating on the separation of Jack and Patsy. This was a very engaging read.

The second part, however, seemed to drift a little, and the divorce settlement, which was paramount at the start, was glossed over.

I am sure the writer has progressed much further and her more recent novels are more consistent in structure and quality. In all walks of life there are steep leaning curves, excellence comes at a high price. So I wish Jan Ruth well in her efforts.

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Guest Author Jan Ruth

Today our guest is Jan Ruth, author of yesterday’s book Wild Water. Here is a link to the post if you missed it.


Let’s find out more about Jan and her books.

1) Where is your home town?

My home town is in Conwy, North Wales. I wasn’t born here, I’m originally from Cheshire – so not Welsh either! However, I’ve always felt Wales is my spiritual home and it features as a setting for all of my books

2) How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for about 30 years. Back in the days before self-publishing I had various dalliances with traditional agents and publishers with my first book ‘Wild Water’ but sadly it didn’t really go anywhere. My stumbling block – at the time – was that it fell between genre and the male voice was too unusual. This was 20 years ago. I thought it made me unique but what did I know!

3) Do you have a preferred writing genre?

I write about people, the Welsh landscape and about situations I have knowledge of. This brings me firmly into the contemporary mould. I think genre is difficult to pin down with a lot of self published works, but without the confines of publishing houses the freedom of writing what feels natural can now (and should) come first.

4) What was the one idea which sparked off “Wild Water” ?

I wanted to write about the impact of a marriage breakup from the male point of view. At the time of writing, there were issues in my personal life which provided lots of accurate detail and fodder for fiction. Standard chick-lit is always about the hard-done-by female character and I set out to write about the other side. The book then developed into something deeper than chick-lit, with mature characters and of course, the Snowdonia setting.

5) Can you tell the readers a little about Conway?

Conwy is a medieval town set on the River Conwy in North Wales, UK. It is coastal and rural. The Snowdonia National Park provides a fabulous backdrop and the town is steeped in history, with a castle dating back to 1283.

6) Tell us about the buyer lined up to buy Anna’s Farm.

He’s intent on buying Gwern Farm to develop it into a leisure hotel. Anna doesn’t want to sell her rural idyll to this man, in order to have it destroyed, but her fiance, Alex, is determined to see the sale through.

7) What is Anna going to do once she’s sold the place?

Alex wants to buy a restaurant in Cornwall, but Anna’s heart isn’t really in it.

8) Why does Jack end up convalescing at Anna’s?

Jack is on a downward spiral, trying to keep his business afloat and stay sane in the face of his wife’s betrayal. His accident is a turning point for Jack and Anna when she offers a respite at Gwern Farm.

9) What are some of the tourist attractions that Anna’s B&B guests come to see?

The area around Gwern Farm is a paradise for walkers, bird-watchers, photographers and artists. There are many National Trust properties, castle and period houses in the whole of Wales and of course, it is a popular coastal area with many beaches.

10) Tell us where readers can finds out more about you and your books.


My website is:*WILD WATER is currently on sale at 77p. The sequel, DARK WATER, is my latest title.*

Wild Water SMALL

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