Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Publication Day Review: A Daring Pursuit by Kate Bateman



 (St. Martin’s Paperbacks, May 24, 2022, $8.99).

 The Davies and Montgomery families have been locked in an ancient feud. But it’s a thin line between love and hate, in Kate Bateman’s newest entry in the Ruthless Rivals series, 


Carys Davies is doing everything in her power to avoid marriage. Staying single is the only way to hide the secret that could ruin her—and her family—if it was revealed. For the past two seasons she’s scandalized the ton with her outrageous outfits and brazen ways in a futile bid to deter potential suitors. Outwardly confident and carefree, inside she’s disillusioned with both men and love. There’s only one person who’s never bought her act—the only man who makes her heart race: Tristan Montgomery, one of her family’s greatest rivals.


Wickedly proper architect Tristan needs a respectable woman to wed, but he’s never stopped wanting bold, red-headed Carys. When she mockingly challenges him to show her what she’s missing by not getting married, Tristan shocks them both by accepting her indecent proposal: one week of clandestine meetings, after which they’ll go their separate ways. But kissing each other is almost as much fun as arguing, and their affair burns hotter than either of them expects. When they find themselves embroiled in a treasonous plot, can they trust each other with their hearts, their secrets…and their lives?

Since the wedding between Rhys Davies and Maddie Montgomery (A Reckless Match, Ruthless Rivals #1), the Davies and Montgomery families have temporarily halted their hostilities between each other. With the season in full swing, the well-breed in society are flitting between parties and social gatherings in London. With a reputation for the outrageous, Carys Davies is again the talk of the ton, with her daring gowns and antics, as she continues to decline every marriage proposal as they happen. Back from fighting in the Napoleonic wars, neighbour, Tristan Montgomery needs a wife… neither sees each other as a compatible match….And besides, their families wouldn’t approve?

Carys Davies has no intention of getting married. A past indiscretion has come back to haunt her, and therefore, to avoid a scandal, she is resigned to living her life as a spinster. Only, her secret is revealed… to her enemy, Tristan Montgomery. However, when the gentleman understands her dilemma, he agrees to help…in a mutually agreeable way!

Tristan Montgomery relishes the challenge of playing cards with those he knows are poor at the game. It's an opportunity and a distraction and he's feeling lucky. The result … he wins a carriage! When he goes to collect his prize, he’s stunned when Carys Davies is sitting inside. He instantly presumes, she’s waiting for her lover… a married man. Curiosity piques his interest as he seeks to find out the truth… with life-changing consequences.

The interaction between Carys and Tristan is adorable and surprisingly honest. I admire how the pair conduct their communications; both are open and forthright, which is intoxicating. The highlight of the narrative is how these “enemies” turn a convenient arrangement into something greater than either of them could predict. Even though they come from rival families, it’s clear they have been aware of each other since childhood. Memories of childish antics quickly evaporate as Tristan offers to help Carys out of her predicament. It’s naughty, but oh so good, as combustible chemistry triggers more than lust between two people who are as different as chalk and cheese.

The author brings us back to familiar territory; the Welsh backdrop where the thaw between the two families began. It’s a chance for readers to catch up with familiar characters and become acquainted with those who are far friendlier than their ancestors, who tore these close neighbours apart. As with the first instalment in this series, this too can be enjoyed as a stand-alone… it comes highly recommended by myself.

Overall, this isn’t my favourite novel by Ms Bateman. While the push and pull of the relationship dynamics between Carys and Tristan are exceptional, the sub-plot where the villain gets his comeuppance didn’t hit the spot for me. This, however, is still a top rate novel... just a tad shy away from a full 5 stars.

***arc generously received courtesy of St Martin’s Paperbacks via NetGalley***

AMAZON US               AMAZON UK

KATE BATEMAN, (also writing as K. C. Bateman), is the #1 bestselling author of historical romances, including her RITA® nominated Renaissance romp, The Devil To Pay, the Bow Street Bachelors series (This Earl of MineTo Catch an Earl, and The Princess and the Rogue), along with the novels in the Secrets & Spies series (To Steal a HeartA Raven’s Heart, and A Counterfeit Heart). When not writing novels that feature feisty, intelligent heroines and sexy, snarky heroes you want to both strangle and kiss, Kate works as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several popular TV shows in the UK. She splits her time between Illinois and her native England. Follow her on Twitter to learn more.



Tuesday, 17 May 2022

New Publication Spotlight & Review: Outcast by Chris Ryan

Outcast by Chris Ryan

After single-handedly intervening in a deadly terrorist attack in Mali, SAS Warrant Officer Jamie 'Geordie' Carter is denounced as a lone wolf by jealous superiors.

Now a Regiment outcast, Carter is given a second chance with a deniable mission: locate SAS hero-gone-rogue, David Vann.

Vann had been sent into Afghanistan to train local rebels to fight the Taliban. But he's since gone silent and expected attacks on key targets have not happened.

Tracking Vann through Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Carter not only discovers the rogue soldier's involvement in a conspiracy that stretches far beyond the Middle East - but an imminent attack that will have deadly consequences the world over . . .

I don’t often pick up military thrillers, but when I do, I enjoy them. Outcast more than exceeds my expectations as we follow one man’s trek through Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

Warrant officer Jamie “Geordie” Carter is a square peg that doesn’t fit in. Therefore, despite being a decorated soldier, his superiors sent him to Chile. When an incident occurs, he expects to be expelled from the elite force, ending his career. However, he’s sent back to Afghanistan to locate a former member and his mentor, Dave Vann. Only, his mission quickly turns into something more sinister than a search and rescue mission to find his old friend.

Carter is a complex character; loyal, principled, and someone who stays true to himself, even if the outcome doesn’t reflect the sentiment behind his actions. He’s a lone wolf by nature but a chameleon too, adapting to whatever situation he lands in. It’s why he has a reputation for being the best, a point not widely acknowledged by his superiors. His thought process during life and death situations is gut-wrenchingly thought-provoking… and sobering.

This is my first Chris Ryan novel and his writing packs a punch. The narrative is fast-paced, creating an adrenaline-fuelled view into the dangerous and corrupt world we live in. The politics are on-point for those who follow what is currently happening beyond our borders, as each scenario the hero encounters is depressingly believable. This is well-written fiction with a realistic story, enhanced by the author’s own experiences; therefore, the details and backdrop are delivered with alarming insight.

The epilogue reveals a final, unexpected twist, leaving the reader to wonder if this is only the beginning for “Geordie”?… I sincerely hope there is more.

***arc generously received courtesy of publisher Zaffre Books via NetGalley *** 

UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outcast-Chris-Ryan-ebook/dp/B09SM14MPC

US - https://www.amazon.com/Outcast-Chris-Ryan-ebook/dp/B09SM14MPC


Chris Ryan was born in Newcastle.

In 1984 he joined 22 SAS. After completing the year-long Alpine Guides Course, he was the troop guide for B Squadron Mountain Troop. He completed three tours with the anti-terrorist team, serving as an assaulter, sniper and finally Sniper Team Commander.

Chris was part of the SAS eight-man team chosen for the famous Bravo Two Zero mission during the 1991 Gulf War. He was the only member of the unit to escape from Iraq, where three of his colleagues were killed and four captured, for which he was awarded the Military Medal. Chris wrote about his experiences in his book The One That Got Away, which became an immediate bestseller. Since then he has written over fifty books and presented a number of very successful TV programmes.