The Week: 8th – 14th January

Wednesday summer sunset in Canberra

Another week, another mess in the world… Today is “New Year” by the old calendar, if you need a reason to celebrate something this weekend.

Two stories out of Russia this week that I think are newsworthy!:

Russian man steals armoured tank, rams shop, steals one bottle of wine.

Russian man steals tank, rams shop, steals one bottle of wine.

Russian man steals tank, rams shop, steals bottle of wine..

And, more importantly:

Fewer than one in five Russians are okay with gay sex.

In fact, only 8% of Russians support homosexuality in any form:

Previous surveys showed that the number of Russians against gay sex has progressively increased, from 68 percent in 1998 to 76 percent in 2008.

This year, only 8 percent of respondents said there was nothing objectionable about sexual relations between adults of the same gender.

This is what happens when you let the church run your society and heavily influence your government. This sort of thing is happening in a number of former communist countries at the moment.

Coming Up for Brynn Kelly

Isle of Shadows A Risk Worth Taking the third book in Brynn Kelly‘s Legionnaires series

My review of Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

Thomas Hardy’s Early Career

Thomas Hardy, OM (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, influenced both in his novels and in his poetry

Meet the Jane Austen Society of Pakistan

Meet the Jane Austen Society of Pakistan

Coming Up for Brynn Kelly

Isle of Shadows A Risk Worth Taking the third book in Brynn Kelly‘s Legionnaires series

I am a little confused about why this book currently has two titles. It’s officially called Isle of Shadows, and the cover calls it A Risk Worth Taking. Whatever it is, I’m really looking forward to this book, as I’ve really enjoyed the series so far.

He can’t outrun himself…

Legionnaire Jamie Armstrong lives in the shadows. A medic haunted by his mistakes, he knows better than to hope for redemption. But his latest mission brings a threat he doesn’t see coming – an attraction as irresistible as it is dangerous. Hacker Samira Desta is a woman he swore to forget, but as a key witness to a deadly conspiracy, Samira is his to protect.

But the woman he rescues might be the one who saves him

After a year in hiding, Samira’s worst fears come true when her cover is blown and the unlikeliest of allies comes to her aid – the secretive Scot with whom she shared one unforgettable night. Hunted by lethal forces and losing the battle against their desire, Jamie and Samira make a desperate play to take the fight to their enemy – but those at greatest risk of ruin may be themselves…

Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

Note: I have already reviewed this book once before. However, it was rereleased with a new cover and bonus novella (reviewed HERE) for the end of 2017, so I’m sharing it again.

Rotting in an African dungeon is the last place journalist Tess Newell expected to find herself. Held hostage by the terrorist group she’s investigating, Tess’s salvation—and temptation—arrives in the form of another prisoner. A French Foreign Legionnaire with a sinful smile and too many secrets to be anything but dangerous. Yet she knows he’s her only hope of surviving.

The Legion is the only family Flynn has. His sanctuary and his purgatory, after years spent in hell. When a mission goes south and Flynn is captured, it’s not the enemy that worries him, but the brazen, alluring reporter whose prying questions threaten to bring down his world—and the walls he’s built around his heart.

Yet after a daring escape, Flynn must risk it all and go on the run with Tess to retrieve the evidence she needs. The chemistry between them threatens to detonate but, with the enemy fast closing in, time is running out to unravel the truth from the lies in this deadly conspiracy…

Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

It took me a while to read this book, not because it was bad or boring, but because I liked it so much and was enjoying the characters and all the research so much, I wanted to make the most of it.

Edge of Truth is *everything* I’ve been asking for in romantic suspense for years, all there in one book. I think some of the mixed reaction to it has been because it IS about the suspense, and the setting is everything; no random “terrorist-riddled non-American country” cliché here. The research is fantastic, the author’s obvious local knowledge of Africa makes all the difference, and it’s not all about some hot-guy-romance.

However, the romance IS very strong. Hero and heroine are thrown together right from the outset, and are together more or less without a break for the entire book. Both are captured by a terror group, and both have good reasons for their involvement in the unfolding drama.

Television journalist Tess has been digging into US political connections to the terror group and the war they are trying to provoke. She has world-changing information to get out to the public, but she is trapped, imprisoned.

French Foreign Legion soldier Flynn is hiding some major secrets of his own, but he can’t bring himself to walk away from Tess when he helps her escape her captors.

I’ve been saying I wanted real-world issues in my books, and I always, always appreciate an author who knows her setting inside out. This book created a sense of place more than almost anything I’ve ever read, and that is one of the reasons I’m going to remember it long after more generic suspense books.

Everything about Edge of Truth comes across as relevant to right now, to the corruption and double-sided dealings of many powerful people in world (and especially US) politics.

However, this would all be nothing without the great characters. The Kiwi author manages to create a totally realistic Australian hero and an American heroine. Their relationship is built on desperate situations and a lot of clever conversation. The dialogue is natural and believable.

The story unfolds over only a few days, and yet I bought into the relationship. Perhaps there was a time or two where the focus on the growing attraction between the two might have seemed slightly out of place, but as the book unfolded I realised I was fine with it.

Africa isn’t the most popular setting for Western stories, romances or otherwise, but I strongly encourage readers to bury their fears of the foreign and give this one a go.

I just knew from the first time I read the blurb that this was going to be a book I’d love, and I was correct.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Best of 2017

In no particular order: my favourite reads of 2017:

(I guarantee I’ve forgotten at least one book!)

Edge of Truth (The Legionnaires #2) by Brynn Kelly

Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

Devil in Spring (Ravenels #3) by Lisa Kleypas

devil-in-spring-ravenels-book-3-by-lisa-kleypas-uk-cover

The Lost Letter: A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

The Lost Letter A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

My Lady Governess by Elise Clarke

My Lady Governess by Elise Clarke

Someone to Hold (Westcott #2) by Mary Balogh

someone-to-hold-westcott-book-2-by-mary-balogh-uk-australian-cover

The Most Dangerous Duke in London (Decadent Dukes Society #1) by Madeline Hunter

the-most-dangerous-duke-in-london-decadent-dukes-society-1-by-madeline-hunter

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

Surrender to the Marquess (Herriard #3) by Louise Allen

surrender-to-the-marquess-herriard-3-by-louise-allen

Mogul (The Knickerbocker Club #3) by Joanna Shupe

mogul-the-knickerbocker-club-3-by-joanna-shupe

Marrying His Cinderella Countess by Louise Allen

(To be reviewed in a couple of weeks.)

Marrying His Cinderella Countess by Louise Allen UK Australian Mills and Boon Cover

Forbidden River (The Legionnaires #2.5) by Brynn Kelly

Forbidden River (The Legionnaires #2.5) by Brynn Kelly

Marry in Haste (Convenient Marriage series #1) by Anne Gracie

marry-in-haste-marriage-of-convenience-by-anne-gracie

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

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

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

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

And – to be released in early 2018:

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter: a Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

My Goodreads review.

The Viscount and the Vicar's Daughter A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

Forbidden River (The Legionnaires #2.5) by Brynn Kelly

Forbidden River (The Legionnaires #2.5) by Brynn Kelly

At the end of the earth, they’ll play a dangerous game…

French Foreign Legionnaire Cody Castillo—“Texas” to his fellow commandos—is an adrenalin-junkie. Chasing deadly thrills is his only reprieve from a bloodstained past he can’t forget. But when he finds himself caught in a mass murderer’s crosshairs in the lonely wilds of New Zealand, he finds an unexpected and intriguing ally.

Ex-air force pilot Tia Kupa has always found safety in nature, until a killer turns the wilderness into a playground. In this life-or-death game, the guarded woman who lives by the rules must rely on a risk taker with a death wish. The sexy devil-may-care legionnaire may be the wrong guy for her, but desire is just as primal as terror. Even if they outrun a predator, they can’t escape the sizzling bond neither of them saw coming.

Forbidden River (The Legionnaires #2.5) by Brynn Kelly

I discovered Brynn Kelly with the second book in her brilliant Legionnaires series, and the rerelease of that book includes this novella, featuring a different set of main characters.

Kelly has the writing style that I love in suspense stories. The dialogue feels real, the situations – though larger than life – are written in a “real” way, the characters feel real and feel like they really do exist in the present. It’s hard to explain the difference between an author like Kelly (or Cindy Gerard or Kaylea Cross) and others in the genre, but it’s huge.

This is as much a suspense story as a romance. It’s tough, and the characters go through tough things. There’s violence and action, and don’t go in expecting something else just because there’s a good-looking guy in the cover. It also packs in a lot of story for a shorter read. Somehow I was convinced of the relationship succeeding even though it happens over a short space of time.

Kelly always writes settings like she knows the inside-out and back-to-front, no matter where in the world her characters go. This is the first time she has set a story in her native New Zealand, so she had an advantage there, but her local knowledge really transforms the book.

I also enjoy her use of characters of different nationalities. The American guy feels American. The Australian guy (in book two) feels Australian etc.

I have nothing negative to say about Forbidden River. I am just glad to find another author to add to my “favourites”.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 11th – 17th September

Spring Blossoms Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 11th September 2017

Monday Afternoon

Home after a month! We arrived in Sydney on Sunday night (with the Brazilian football team!), and had to stay overnight because we got in so late. The five-star hotel was lost on me because I lay there wide awake for a few hours and then gave up. Stupid jetlag.

As soon as I stepped off the plane in Canberra on Monday all I could smell was blossoms. It was such a change after Barcelona.

I think I’m catching up pretty fast with books and reviews and all of that, but I’m having a bit of trouble finding space for my shopping…

It’s not all rainbows and roses, however. I have come home to a country that has gone all Donald Trump. They have just RUINED our beautiful Parliament House (as in *the nation’s* parliament – this is the capital city) with a metres-high fence around it that is so ugly it makes me want to cry (thank you, terrorists).

And we’re in the midst of a national marriage equality debate that has resulted in some appalling acts by some people. The “gay marriage survey” everyone over eighteen is being mailed arrived here first – maybe because we’re in the capital city. I have done mine and posted it, but that doesn’t stop me being subjected to disgusting, homophobic TV ads for a couple more months.

Ugh. Australia used to pride itself on being progressive! Second country in the world to give women the vote. I am SO happy to live in Canberra, a progressive bubble in a backwards nation!

Rereading Now

To the Brink by Cindy Gerard

My review of Shadow Reaper (Shadow #2) by Christine Feehan

Shadow Reaper (Shadow #2) by Christine Feehan

My review of Courting Danger with Mr Dyer by Georgie Lee

Courting Danger with Mr Dyer by Georgie Lee

 My review of A Rake’s Guide to Seduction (Reece Family Trilogy #3) by Caroline Linden

A Rake's Guide to Seduction (Reece Family Trilogy #3) by Caroline Linden

Happy Birthday, Agatha Christie.

Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and died in 1976.

Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

Rotting in an African dungeon is the last place journalist Tess Newell expected to find herself. Held hostage by the terrorist group she’s investigating, Tess’s salvation—and temptation—arrives in the form of another prisoner. A French Foreign Legionnaire with a sinful smile and too many secrets to be anything but dangerous. Yet she knows he’s her only hope of surviving.

The Legion is the only family Flynn has. His sanctuary and his purgatory, after years spent in hell. When a mission goes south and Flynn is captured, it’s not the enemy that worries him, but the brazen, alluring reporter whose prying questions threaten to bring down his world—and the walls he’s built around his heart.

Yet after a daring escape, Flynn must risk it all and go on the run with Tess to retrieve the evidence she needs. The chemistry between them threatens to detonate but, with the enemy fast closing in, time is running out to unravel the truth from the lies in this deadly conspiracy…

Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

It took me a while to read this book, not because it was bad or boring, but because I liked it so much and was enjoying the characters and all the research so much, I wanted to make the most of it.

Edge of Truth is *everything* I’ve been asking for in romantic suspense for years, all there in one book. I think some of the mixed reaction to it has been because it IS about the suspense, and the setting is everything; no random “terrorist-riddled non-American country” cliché here. The research is fantastic, the author’s obvious local knowledge of Africa makes all the difference, and it’s not all about some hot-guy-romance.

However, the romance IS very strong. Hero and heroine are thrown together right from the outset, and are together more or less without a break for the entire book. Both are captured by a terror group, and both have good reasons for their involvement in the unfolding drama.

Television journalist Tess has been digging into US political connections to the terror group and the war they are trying to provoke. She has world-changing information to get out to the public, but she is trapped, imprisoned.

French Foreign Legion soldier Flynn is hiding some major secrets of his own, but he can’t bring himself to walk away from Tess when he helps her escape her captors.

I’ve been saying I wanted real-world issues in my books, and I always, always appreciate an author who knows her setting inside out. This book created a sense of place more than almost anything I’ve ever read, and that is one of the reasons I’m going to remember it long after more generic suspense books.

Everything about Edge of Truth comes across as relevant to right now, to the corruption and double-sided dealings of many powerful people in world (and especially US) politics.

However, this would all be nothing without the great characters. The Kiwi author manages to create a totally realistic Australian hero and an American heroine. Their relationship is built on desperate situations and a lot of clever conversation. The dialogue is natural and believable.

The story unfolds over only a few days, and yet I bought into the relationship. Perhaps there was a time or two where the focus on the growing attraction between the two might have seemed slightly out of place, but as the book unfolded I realised I was fine with it.

Africa isn’t the most popular setting for Western stories, romances or otherwise, but I strongly encourage readers to bury their fears of the foreign and give this one a go.

I just knew from the first time I read the blurb that this was going to be a book I’d love, and I was correct.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

I am so behind!

I deleted the post I was going to have today, because the site I was going to reference pissed me off with their nasty comments about blondes!

So, instead, I will tentatively recommend two books I’m less than halfway through reading:

Now, the title of this one is so clunky it makes me want to cry, and the people on the cover have the world’s worst hair, but ignore all of that! Also, it seems to be (there’s no date) set in the 1830s, which has the dorkiest fashion of any era in history (OF COURSE, it’s not represented on the cover), and I love that!