Coming Up for Joanna Shupe

Yes, the cover is about as awful as most historical romance covers these days, but Joanna Shupe is hands-down one of the best in the genre at the moment, and I loved the first book in this series.

A Scandalous Deal, book two in the Four Hundred series (blurb below) is due out in April next year. You can read an excerpt HERE.

A Scandalous Deal (The Four Hundred Series #2) by Joanna Shupe

Joanna Shupe returns with another unforgettable novel set in the glittering world of New York City’s Gilded Age…

They call her Lady Unlucky…

With three dead fiancés, Lady Eva Hyde has positively no luck when it comes to love. She sets sail for New York City, determined that nothing will deter her dream of becoming an architect, certainly not an unexpected passionate shipboard encounter with a mysterious stranger. But Eva’s misfortune strikes once more when she discovers the stranger who swept her off her feet is none other than her new employer.

Or is it Lady Irresistible?

Phillip Mansfield reluctantly agrees to let the fiery Lady Eva oversee his luxury hotel project while vowing to keep their relationship strictly professional. Yet Eva is more capable – and more alluring – than Phillip first thought, and he cannot keep from drawing up a plan of his own to seduce her.

When a series of onsite “accidents” make it clear someone wants Lady Unlucky to earn her nickname, Phillip discovers he’s willing to do anything to protect her – even if it requires a scandalous deal…


Twelfth Night with the Earl (The Sutherland Sisters #3) by Anna Bradley

Twelfth Night with the Earl (The Sutherland Sisters #3) by Anna Bradley

When a headstrong beauty clashes with the man she once loved, she’s determined that the spirit of Christmas will open his mind, heal his heart, and perhaps give them a reason to celebrate—for many seasons
to come . . .
As far as Ethan Fortescue is concerned, his family’s seat in Cornwall is only a source of torment, one that he’s managed to avoid for two years. Now that he’s the Earl of Devon however, he can close the door on his haunted past by locking up the cursed place for good. But upon arriving at Cleves Court, he is shocked to find the house aglow with Christmas celebrations, filled with music and laughter. And right at the center of the holiday madness is the infuriating—and eternally tempting—Theodosia Sheridan . . .
Thea has always loved the town of Cleves, especially at the holidays. As a girl, she also loved Ethan with all her heart. It’s painful to see how his brother’s tragic death has embittered him. Still, she will do anything to make sure the town thrives—even if it means going to battle with Ethan to save Cleves Court. Now she has only until Twelfth Night to make a Christmas miracle happen—by proving that his childhood home can be a source of love and wonder. But before long, she finds herself wondering if she’s trying to save the house—or its handsome master…

Twelfth Night with the Earl (The Sutherland Sisters #3) by Anna Bradley

This is a nice little book with some fun dialogue, and is perfect for the Christmas season.

Twelfth Night with the Earl might be listed as book three in a series, but there’s nothing in it that indicates you have to read in order.

I always perk up at a Cornwall setting, and Regency (like this one) and Victorian settings for Christmas books almost always make for great reads. Not sure why he was the “Earl of Devon”, though.

From the moment the mildly drunk and very grumpy hero rode onto the page I found this book to be great fun. Author Anna Bradley writes good dialogue and lively characters – including her secondary characters.

Yes, these characters aren’t behaving all that historically accurately – this series is more on the light-hearted end of the historical romance scale – but they’re entertaining.

I would have liked to have seen fewer references to “the holidays” (it has a really American ring to it), but that’s a small niggle.

If you’re looking for a lighter Christmas read, this one was pretty decent.


Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 13th – 19th November

Spring Sunset Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 12th November 2017 Sky Clouds Nature

Spring sunset in Canberra.

Spring Bottlebrush Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Garden Blue Sky Sunny Afternoon 14th November 2017 Flowers Nature

The bottlebrush is out!

The day after the gay marriage vote Canberra 74% Sonya Heaney Parliament House Australia 16th November 2017

The road to Australian Parliament the day after the gay marriage results were announced.

Hailstorm Canberra Australia 17th November 2017 Sonya Heaney Spring Weather Nature

Our brief, freak storm on Friday afternoon.

Australian Same Sex Marriage Australian Capital Territory Canberra Highest YES Vote

After millions upon millions of dollars wasted on a useless survey by our stalling conservative government, the results of the “gay marriage survey” were released on Wednesday.

As expected, my home – the ACT – voted YES with BY FAR the highest percentage (but they stick us on the bottom of the chart). We have actually legalised gay marriage in Canberra before, but had it taken away from us by the High Court.

Movie Adaptation for Jill Shalvis

The Trouble With Mistletoe (Heartbreaker Bay #2) by Jill Shalvis

My review of Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

My review of A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

A bit of history…

1903 horse party Gilded Age New York -billingspartythey found the grand Rocco ballroom decorated as a woodland garden, with trees and shrubbery.The guests mounted well-trained rented hor

The End of Heroes and Heartbreakers

mast_logo Heroes and Heartbreakers

Important News

Hello Stranger Lisa Kleypas

Movie Adaptation for Jill Shalvis

The Trouble With Mistletoe (Heartbreaker Bay #2) by Jill Shalvis

If you haven’t already heard, Jill Shalvis’ The Trouble With Mistletoe has been made into a movie.

I love Shalvis’ writing, and her books would work well as on the screen. I haven’t read this one, so don’t have an opinion on the cast, but here they are.

Here is the blurb for the book version:

If she has her way…

Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand. He needs a kitty sitter, stat. But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her…

…He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.

Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands. But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him…

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice…

Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but he doesn’t even remember her. How can she trust him not to break her heart again? It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish–and let the mistletoe do its work…

A bit of history…

1903 horse party Gilded Age New York -billingspartythey found the grand Rocco ballroom decorated as a woodland garden, with trees and shrubbery.The guests mounted well-trained rented hor

I reviewed Joanna Shupe’s A Daring Arrangement yesterday, and in the author’s note at the end she discusses some of the real history that went into the book.

The story opens with the supremely rich hero hosting a birthday party, a party where the men are all riding horses in the middle of a famous restaurant. This is based on a real event (that happened in 1903, not 1890 as it does in the book).

You can read a detailed account of the party HERE.

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

Lady Honora Parker must get engaged as soon as possible, and only a particular type of man will do. Nora seeks a mate so abhorrent, so completely unacceptable, that her father will reject the match—leaving her free to marry the artist she loves. Who then is the most appalling man in Manhattan? The wealthy, devilishly handsome financier, Julius Hatcher, of course…

Julius is intrigued by Nora’s ruse and decides to play along. But to Nora’s horror, Julius transforms himself into the perfect fiancé, charming the very people she hoped he would offend. It seems Julius has a secret plan all his own—one that will solve a dark mystery from his past, and perhaps turn him into the kind of man Nora could truly love.

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

I love books set in the Gilded Age. Specifically, I love books set in the Gilded Age when they are written by Joanna Shupe.

This is a big, dramatic story set in a big, opulent period in history, in New York – the centre of all the wealth and craziness of the end of the nineteenth century.

The hero is one of my favourite types: the self-made man. I love them when they occasionally pop up in historical romances set in England (e.g. Secrets of a Summer Night and Marrying Winterborne), and America-set books are the perfect place for this type of character.

Julius has risen up from nothing to live a crazy life of wealth, while Nora is from English aristocracy – new and old worlds. I liked that Shupe managed to make Nora a bit wild and too independent for her time *without* making her anachronistic – a feat historical romance authors struggle with.

The late nineteenth century is such an exciting time in history. It has all the olde worlde feel we want in the genre, but technology has seriously advanced since the Regency, and there’s an energy about everything as the world moves towards the twentieth century. Shupe captures this so well.

I appreciated two things in particular in this book:

#1 The way the romance developed.

This was a fake engagement, with neither character actually wanting to marry the other. However, they evolved and were willing to own up to the changes in their opinions.

#2 The women.

The hero has a mistress, whom he dumps for the heroine. However, the two women are never nasty or vicious to each other. This has been a SLOW evolution in fiction – authors (and readers) love their misogynistic stereotyping. I was so happy to see that Shupe chose a different route.

If I have a little niggle, it’s that some might find the climax of the story just a teeny bit over the top – but then, you may not…

Oh, and I really wish we didn’t have Victorian English characters saying “snuck”. Shupe is wonderful with her characters speaking different versions of English, but sometimes she slips with the Americanisms…

As soon as I knew this book was coming out I knew I would love it – and I did.

Now I can’t wait for the next book in the series.