Lisa Kleypas News

While Lisa Kleypas’ website is currently down for maintenance (I live in hope the awful lolly pink background of the last version is now gone forever!), there is some news about her upcoming book in the Ravenels series over at Heroes and Heartbreakers.

The blurb for the next book is below. Surely I’m not the only one who knew EXACTLY what pairing was coming up next!

A woman who defies her time

Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule 

As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.

Cover Love

Marrying His Cinderella Countess Louise Allen British Cover

Marrying His Cinderella Countess Louise Allen American Cover


UK and US covers.

Someone loves Louise Allen, because she gets the best covers Mills and Boon/Harlequin puts out. Sure, nobody ever manages a man who looks like he’s from the 19th century, but compared to most dreadful, anachronistic historical romance covers out there, this is another one that’s pretty great.

Allen is by far one of the best authors for this publisher, and I’m really excited about this new book.

The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors #4) by Sabrina Jeffries

The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors #4) by Sabrina Jeffries

When Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave, is forced to flee after killing a man in a duel, he expects his secret love, Brilliana Trevor, to go with him, or at the very least wait for him. To his shock, she does neither and sends him off with no promise for the future. Seven years and one pardon later, Niall returns to England disillusioned and cynical. And being blackmailed by the government into working with his former love to help catch a counterfeiter connected to her father doesn’t improve his mood any. But as his role as Brilliana’s fake fiancé brings his long-buried feelings to the surface once again, he wonders who is more dangerous—the counterfeiter or the woman rapidly stealing his heart.

Forced to marry another man after Niall was exiled, the now widowed Brilliana wants nothing to do with the reckless rogue who she believes abandoned her to a dreary, loveless life. So having to rely on him to save her father is the last thing she wants, much less trusts him with….But as their scheme strips away the lies and secrets of their shared past, can she let go of the old hurt and put her pride aside? Or will the pleasures of their renewed passion finally enable them both to rediscover love?

The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors #4) by Sabrina Jeffries

A note: this book has one of THE most embarrassing titles ever, with a Bold and the Beautiful cover. Don’t judge it for that!

For those who are wondering about the heroine’s name: HERE is the origin of “Brilliana”. I liked the choice because it was historically accurate AND unusual. Character names in historical romance can become repetitive, but then authors usually make the mistake of going for anachronistic choices.

I really liked this book. It uses my favourite trope: the reunion romance. It also resolved a storyline that was hinted at in the last instalment in the series.

When I review so many books I do lose track of characters. Between the last entry in the series and this one I’ve read God only knows how many books, but at least forty in the historical romance genre alone. I do wish I’d gone back and reread the scenes between Niall and Brilliana before starting this one – you don’t need to, but it adds something.

There are so many secrets and lies between hero and heroine in The Pleasures of Passion. Niall had to flee England after fighting a duel, but Brilliana wasn’t free to run away with him in that moment. Both of them being young at the time, they were easy to manipulate into thinking each had betrayed the other.

This resulted in years of separation, and Brilliana being forced into marriage to another man, a man who died in terrible circumstances a few years later.

Now, this is the sort of angst I like, especially so when it’s done by a skilled author, as Sabrina Jeffries is. I love more than any other trope an angsty reunion, and I think the drama was drawn out for just long enough.

I always worry when the terms “spy” and “fake engagement” turn up in this genre. I’m not a fan of either, and yet in this book they both worked perfectly for me. The counterfeiting storyline gave the two of them opportunities to sort through the disaster of their failed relationship, and to get over their anger.

I was also happy with Brilliana’s little son, who read as a real child, not a Romance Novel Kid.

I don’t really have any complaints. Pretty much everything in this one worked for me, and it was one of my better reads by this author. And yay for a fair-haired hero!

I will say, though: having a character called “uncle Toby” was a little distracting for me. Uncle Tobys is a breakfast cereal brand!


Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 12th – 18th June

Canberra Australia Winter Evening Lake Burley Griffin Sonya Heaney 11th June 2017 National Carillon Reflection Nature SunsetIMG_2047

Okay , so this was Sunday afternoon in Canberra *last* week, but I wanted to share.

Canberra Australia Winter Sunny Afternoon Sonya Heaney 14th June 2017 Blue Sky Garden Nature

Gorgeous winter days here. This was Tuesday afternoon.

But then it got a bit foggy a few days later!

We started the week with the Queen’s Birthday holiday, and the week seemed to go fast from there!

At least 200 firefighters and 40 engines on the scene of a huge fire at Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, near Notting Hill, in West London. 14th June 2017.

My God, that fire in London was awful. My last home in the city was very close to the location of the fire – my street (in Notting Hill) is in the picture above. England can’t catch a break at the moment.

My review of The Runaway Bride by Patricia Johns

The Runaway Bride (Harlequin Heartwarming) by Patricia Johns

My review of The Secret Marriage Pact by Georgie Lee

Interesting thoughts over at Vox

The Secret Marriage Pact by Georgie Lee

The Secret Marriage Pact by Georgie Lee

Jane Rathbone is used to being left behind, and no longer believes she deserves happiness. But when childhood friend Jasper Charton returns from the Americas, more dangerously sexy than ever, she has a proposition. She’ll give him the property he needs if he’ll give her a new future—by marrying her! 

Jasper never imagined taking a wife, but wonders if loyal Jane could be his redemption. And when their marriage brings tantalising pleasures, convenient vows blossom into a connection that could heal them both…

The Secret Marriage Pact by Georgie Lee

Another review of this book is HERE.

I was in search of something fresh to read, so I gave The Secret Marriage Pact a go.

Set in 1825, shortly after the Regency, this is halfway between a friends-to-lovers and a reunion story, as the hero was sent to America at fifteen, leaving behind a heartbroken (slightly younger) heroine. They lost contact as the hero fell into his uncle’s gambling industry – which was promptly wiped out by a yellow fever outbreak in Savannah.

Now he is back and hiding the true source of his income from everyone but the heroine, who proposes a business deal with him if he’ll marry her.

My interest was piqued by the Fleet Street setting (Fleet Street was my first address when I lived in London). These characters live very comfortably, but they don’t have titles. This was a great change from the usual dukes and duchesses.

I actually liked the younger hero, as historical romance leads seem to be getting older and older, overlooking the fact younger people achieved plenty in the past, and mid-twenties was a perfectly acceptable age for a man to marry.

Something I could have done without was the mental lusting. I know it’s standard in historical romances (well, ALL romance!) these days, but I wasn’t buying it. Childhood friends part for years, meet again in their twenties, and just pick up where they left off – but now with lots of thoughts about the bedroom? I felt like we’d missed a step. There should have at least been some awkwardness and even anger between them first. They should have been more like strangers to each other at first.

I’d have liked to see two childhood friends fall in love, not just decide they were in lust from day one.

I did really like that this is part of a series, but instead of all the books happening in the space of a couple of years, the first book is set a decade earlier. It’s a nice idea, and a way to catch up with past heroes and heroines without it all being about pregnancies and babies.

A little niggle, but I didn’t like absence of adverbs in the dialogue/thoughts; a dearth of adverbs is a quirk of US English. E.g. characters should not be saying wide when it should be widely, and easy when it should be easily. It killed the “British” feel of it.

I liked so many of the ideas in this book, and the fact it made subtle changes to many of the favourite themes of historical romances.

However, I’d love to have seen this written with less in the way of I’m not worthy!, and I want sex!, and with more development of the connection between hero and heroine.

The Runaway Bride by Patricia Johns

The Runaway Bride (Harlequin Heartwarming) by Patricia Johns

Bernadette Morgan left her cheating fiancé moments before they were supposed to marry in the society wedding of the year. Now she’s stuck in Runt River, Ohio, with a broken-down car and a tattered wedding dress. All she wants is a place to hide. But what she finds are a handsome mechanic, a little boy and family secrets that could change everything. Because the toddler Liam Wilson’s raising is actually her cousin’s child. And she’ll do anything to protect him from her politically ambitious family, even if that means rejecting the possibility of love with Liam…

The Runaway Bride by Patricia Johns

Sometimes you read a book and are so impressed with the author’s writing skills. Patricia Johns has created such a “real” story, even if some of her characters are larger than life (the heroine is basically a celebrity), and that’s all down to her excellent writing.

I had one problem that isn’t the author’s fault – and it’s a big one:

How the hell do you take a book about American politics seriously now?!

Honestly, I went for this one because the cover appealed, even if the “runaway bride” isn’t really something that usually appeals to me. It always seems so frivolous.

However, this is actually a book about politics and affairs and cover-ups, and I think that the author handled it all really well without taking sides. The heroine is the daughter of a rich, politically ambitious family. She is both heiress to her family’s empire and a socialite, and the wedding she is fleeing is to a man who expects to run for US President in the future.

She runs to small-town Ohio, and there she finds both the mechanic hero and the toddler he is caring for – who turns out to be her blood relation but not his.

What I struggled with in this REALLY GOOD book was that it’s all about politicians (and these are Republicans) having to be “clean” – no scandals, plenty of family values… How can I possibly take this seriously when a thrice-married pussy-grabber is the current face of that “family values” party? This book is set in an alternate universe, and politically-themed books need to start representing the new, awful world we live in if I’m going to find them believable.

There is so much good here, though. The characterisations, the dialogue, the natural behaviours and not-black-and-white actions. The boy is such a realistic child – one of the best I’ve come across in a book.

I didn’t think the choice of “Bernie” was a good one for the heroine’s name. Because:

Bernie Sanders

Especially when it’s a book about *American* politics!

I did like the little touch of the hero panicking when the boy became ill, because healthcare is such a minefield in the US.

I could go back and forth nonstop, but what is comes down to is that this is a fantastic book – written at the wrong point in time!


Review copy provided by NetGalley.