A Regency Christmas

The Last Chance Christmas Ball by Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Joanna Bourne, Patricia Rice, Anne Gracie, Susan King, Cara Elliott and Nicola Cornick.

You can’t get much better than a collaboration between Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Joanna Bourne, Patricia Rice, Anne Gracie, Susan King, Cara Elliott and Nicola Cornick, some of the best authors in the business.

These are the authors who run the excellent Word Wenches blog, a blog for historical romance, and one of the few romance fiction blogs that is still a success.

Amazon Links: US UK Australia Canada

The Book Depository

Christmas 1815. Upstairs and downstairs, Holbourne Hall is abuzz with preparations for a grand ball to celebrate the year’s most festive—and romantic—holiday. For at the top of each guest’s wish list is a last chance to find true love before the New Year…

A chance meeting beneath the mistletoe, a stolen glance across the dance floor—amid the sumptuous delicacies, glittering decorations, and swell of the orchestra, every duchess and debutante, lord and lackey has a hopeful heart. There’s the headstrong heiress who must win back her beloved by midnight—or be wed to another….the spinster whose fateful choice to relinquish love may hold one more surprise for her…a widow yearning to glimpse her long-lost love for even one sweet, fleeting interlude …a charming rake who finds far more than he bargained for. And many other dazzling, romantic tales in this star-studded collection that will fill your heart and spice up your holidays…

 

 

The Week: 3rd – 9th March

 ParliamentOttawa

Canadian Parliament flies the Ukrainian flag.

My week in books? Well I read the first FOUR books in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. I want to read the rest!

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs

I started two below-good Regency romances. One of them was written by a US author who clearly couldn’t stop her far right-wing political views from bleeding through into the book. Not exactly appropriate to fill a book set in England with NRA propaganda!

So I didn’t finish either of those books.

Instead, I picked up sweeter Regency by Theresa Romain.

 Pro-Ukrainian Anti-Russian invasion protest Canberra Australia 5th March 2014 2

Pro-Ukrainian demonstrators in Canberra.

Scary week for the world. Missing aeroplane, Russia essentially declaring war on Ukraine. They’re forcing an illegal referendum on Ukraine in a few days, and there’s not a “No” option on the ballot form – they’re forcing Crimea to become part of Russia.

 Pro-Ukrainian Anti-Russian invasion protest Canberra Australia 5th March 2014 Russians taking photographs

Russian embassy staff photographing us for God only knows what reason.

We had a protest at the Russian embassy here in Canberra and were harassed by KGB-style Russian staffers. The Australian Federal Police actually told us to file a complaint against the Russian embassy. The Russians seem to think the USSR still exists – and even in Australia they treat people like that!

Naked in Death is still only $2.99

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

My review of The Returning Hero by Soraya Lane

The Returning Hero by Soraya Lane

My review of Most Eligible Sheriff by Cathy McDavid

Most Eligible Sheriff by Cathy McDavid

My review of Loving Lord Ash by Sally MacKenzie

Loving Lord Ash by Sally MacKenzie

My review of Turn Up the Heat by Kimberly Kincaid

Turn Up the Heat by Kimberly Kincaid

My review of Passionately Yours by Cara Elliott

Passionately Yours by Cara Elliott

Passionately Yours by Cara Elliott

Passionately Yours by Cara Elliott

Proper young ladies of the ton-especially ones who have very small dowries-are not encouraged to have an interest in intellectual pursuits. Indeed, the only thing they are encouraged to pursue is an eligible bachelor.

Preferably one with both a title and a fortune.

So, the headstrong, opinionated Sloane sisters must keep their passions a secret.

Ah, but secret passions are wont to lead a lady into trouble . . .

Passionately Yours by Cara Elliott

The baby of the Sloane sisters gets her happy ending!

This has been an entertaining series (with really pretty covers). The Hellions of High Street heroines aren’t exactly what you would call historically accurate, as they’re so, so modern and converse in contemporary English, but these are adventure stories. The kind of books you can imagine would be no problem transferring to the screen.

I was really looking forward to this one – probably more than any other in the series. That’s because the hero intrigued me. Scottish, very patriotic, no fan of the English, he’s pretty rough around the edges and doesn’t know what to do about it. He sees the woman he loves being charmed by other men and doesn’t know how to act on it.

I’m on a Scottish reading spree, so this was a nice little twist for my usual Regency reading. Another nice thing was that the author is big on female friendships. I love that her characters are more than just a bunch of women looking for and talking about men.

Another change is that this book takes place in Bath. I haven’t read many books set there, even though it is one of the locations of Regency England.

If you enjoyed the other two in this series, you’ll definitely like this one. It might even be your favourite. Even if I still don’t believe the first thing a person would want to do after falling off a cliff is have sex!

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 24th February – 2nd March

Parliament House Canberra Australia 20th February 2014 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney

Parliament House in Canberra

Well, there goes summer. 😦 On a happier note, the weather tends to be wonderful in Canberra in autumn, and we have all those colourful leaves to make things look pretty. 🙂

On a less-happy note, Vladimir Putin did what we all knew he’d do: played nice during the Olympics, and then went straight back to ruining the world. There’re Russian troops taking over Ukraine’s territory of Crimea – why?!?!

russiapoisedtoinvadeukrainefebruary2014

On another less-happy but nowhere near as serious note: the M key on my computer barely works. Try typing all day and having that issue!

This week I read a really greatest historical story by Theresa Romain (to be released in May) and made an attempt to get back into paranormal and urban fantasy books. It’s a bit of a mixed bag so far (though Patricia Briggs is a genius) – while there’re some good books, I don’t think it’s going back to my #1 genre any time soon.

So – my reviews this week:

My review of Sinfully Yours by Cara Elliott

Sinfully Yours by Cara Elliott

My review of The Chance by Robyn Carr

The Chance by Robyn Carr

My review of A Man to Hold on To by Marilyn Pappano

A Man to Hold on To by Marilyn Pappano

My review of Going Twice by Sharon Sala

Going Twice by Sharon Sala

My review of The Troubled Texan by Phyliss Miranda

The Troubled Texan by Phyliss Miranda

My review of Remembering That Night by Stephanie Doyle

Remembering That Night by Stephanie Doyle

Sinfully Yours by Cara Elliott

Sinfully Yours by Cara Elliott

THE HELLIONS OF HIGH STREET SERIES CONTINUES WITH SINFULLY YOURS…

Proper young ladies of the ton-especially ones who have very small dowries-are not encouraged to have an interest in intellectual pursuits. Indeed, the only things they are encouraged to pursue are eligible bachelors. So, the headstrong Sloane sisters must keep their passions a secret. Ah, but secret passions are wont to lead a lady into trouble . . .

SINFULLY YOURS

After an eventful Season, Anna Sloane longs for some peace and quiet to pursue her writing. Though her plots might be full of harrowing adventure and heated passion, she’d much prefer to leave such exploits on the page rather than experience them in real life. Or so she thinks until she encounters the darkly dissolute-and gorgeously charming-Marquess of Davenport.

Davenport has a reputation as a notorious rake whose only forte is wanton seduction. However the real reason he’s a guest at the same remote Scottish castle has nothing to do with Anna . . . until a series of mysterious threats leave him no choice but to turn to her for help in stopping a dangerous conspiracy. As desire erupts between them, Davenport soon learns he’s not the only one using a carefully crafted image to hide his true talents. And he’s more than ready to show Anna that sometimes reality can be even better than her wildest imaginings…

Sinfully Yours by Cara Elliott

I don’t know what Cara Elliott pays the cover designers in bribes, but she definitely gets some of the best Regency romance covers around.

Sinfully Yours is the second book in a series about three sisters who love to write. They are all talented in different ways, managing to have their works published without their “proper” mother even knowing her daughters are doing such “scandalous” things.

I was in the middle of a Scottish fiction reading phase when I started this one, so was thrilled to discover the majority of the book takes place in the wilds of Scotland.

This one is a good old whodunit with a cast of characters from various parts of the world. While first suspecting each other of being up to no good, hero and heroine eventually team up to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Really, what I loved most about this book was the setting. Not all that long ago I was saying how I preferred historical romances set in England, but a few good books have changed that for me. I liked the way the author captured the feel of time and place.

The characters might be more modern in language and actions than anybody in the Regency would ever have been, but this is a fun adventure. And the hero of the next book (who we spend time with here) is Scottish!

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Cover Love: Sinfully Yours by Cara Elliott

I enjoyed the first book in this series, and thought it had a gorgeous cover.

Scandalously Yours by Cara Elliott

Now we have Sinfully Yours, and I know I’m buying the paperback version!

I received a review copy of this one the other day, and I plan to start it next week.

Sinfully Yours by Cara Elliott

Miss Anna Sloane is in desperate need of some of peace and quiet.  Much as she’s enjoyed being part of her older sister’s madcap misadventures with the Earl of Wrexham, they have wreaked havoc with her own secret endeavours. And with a deadline looming for her next racy romance novel, London—and the notorious “Devil” Davenport—is proving all too distracting. So Anna is happy to accept an invitation to a remote Scottish castle, even though she knows her mother will be matchmaking with the visiting German prince and his shooting party.

 

But the visit quickly takes an unexpected turn. Something sinister is afoot . . . including Davenport, whose presence ignites all sorts of alarming questions. Determined to discover just what he is up to, Anna decides to do some investigating—only to find that he, too, is hiding a surprising secret. They agree to a grudging alliance in order to foil a cunning conspiracy. But as danger swirls all around them, the biggest threat may be their own fiery passions…

The Week: 13th – 19th January

Hot Canberra Australia Evening Sky Sunset Mountains Brindabella Ranges 15th January 2014 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney

The view from our kitchen at about 8:30pm on our hottest evening this week.

This week was all about the heatwave. I achieved about a third of as much as I wanted to, because Canberra’s temperature hovered around 40°C (104°F) every day. In the middle of all of that we celebrated Ukrainian New Year on Tuesday – champagne when it’s over forty degrees isn’t the smartest thing to drink! We’re supposed to take down the Christmas decorations today, but it’s the last thing I feel like doing at the moment.

Hot Canberra Australia Evening Sky Sunset 15th January 2014 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney

And from the other side of the house.

I think my latest Regency/Victorian reading spree is coming to an end. I really do wish publishers would package their books better. You never know if you’re going to pick up a serious historical drama/romance or a Disney-style romp where 19th century people all run around having casual sex, getting divorces on a whim and chatting in modern American slang. I’m getting tired of the second kind. If you want to write contemporary characters, then write contemporary books!

Of course, I’ll be reading more of them (I’m addicted), but it’s time to extend my reading in some other genres, too.

What I want out of 2014 – Romantic Suspense

Last Man Standing by Cindy Gerard

My review of Playing for Love at Deep Haven by Katy Regnery

Playing for Love at Deep Haven (Enchanted Places, Book 1) by Katy Regnery

My review of Scandalously Yours by Cara Elliott

Scandalously Yours by Cara Elliott

My review of After the Abduction by Sabrina Jeffries

After the Abduction by Sabrina Jeffries

My review of What the Duke Desires by Sabrina Jeffries

What the Duke Desires (The Duke's Men, #1) by Sabrina Jeffries

And – finally – look at these amazing bookmarks!

Girl In the Rain Bookmark

Scandalously Yours by Cara Elliott

Scandalously Yours by Cara Elliott

Proper young ladies of the ton-especially ones who have very small dowries-are not encouraged to have an interest in intellectual pursuits. Indeed, the only thing they are encouraged to pursue is an eligible bachelor. So, the headstrong Sloane sisters must keep their passions a secret. Ah, but secret passions are wont to lead a lady into trouble . . .

SCANDALOUSLY YOURS

The eldest of the three Sloane sisters, Olivia is unafraid to question the boundaries of Society-even if it does frequently land her in trouble. Disdaining the glittery world of balls and courtship, Olivia prefers to spend her time writing fiery political essays under a pseudonym for London’s leading newspaper. But when her columns attract the attention of the oh-so-proper Earl of Wrexham, Olivia suddenly finds herself dancing on the razor’s edge of scandal. With the help of her sisters, she tries to stay one step ahead of trouble . . .

However, after a series of madcap misadventures, Wrexham, a former military hero who is fighting for social reform in Parliament, discovers Olivia’s secret. To her surprise, he proposes a temporary alliance to help win passage of his bill. Passion flares between them, but when a political enemy kidnaps the earl’s young son, they must make some dangerous decisions . . . and trust that love will conquer all.

Scandalously Yours by Cara Elliott

I’m going to admit something: I requested this book for review because I loved the cover. I didn’t actually read the blurb until after I’d already downloaded it! (And the cover for the next book is gorgeous, too!)

I’ve never read a book by this author before, so the first in a new series sounded like a good place to start. I enjoyed it, and especially the way the action kept on moving. Some historical romances start off well and then sort of even out into more of the same, and I lose interest halfway through. This one definitely held my interest from start to finish.

I don’t know if we ever got a year this book was set in, though references were made to certain historical events that had happened in the recent past.

Olivia was a little on the irritating side early on. There’s a real trend at the moment to have heroines who proudly declare they’re, ‘Not like other ladies’ – as though being like other women in the world is a terrible thing. She didn’t seem to ever consider that had she been raised by a different father, without the advantages of education he gave her, she would have been one of those ‘other ladies’. There’s no shame in surviving in the world you were raised in.

Which is why I appreciated the moment when she was questioned about her determination not to do anything as others did, when it was suggested she really didn’t have to be as different as she made herself be. Her armour.

John is a good hero (if astoundingly progressive for a man of his time). He’s not too perfect, despite being called perfect by others from the start of the book to its finish. I thought his relationship with his son was interesting. Not at all neglectful, but definitely one that had been formed around the social rules of the aristocracy. I’m not sure about getting amorous with a woman during some of the drama towards the end, but otherwise he was a good parent who tried hard to do the right thing by his son.

I liked the addition of John’s son to the storyline – apart from the fact the story would have been impossible without him. I’m not sure why, as I’m not much one for children in books, but I just really liked his presence in the story.

Here’s a quote I particularly liked:

She liked that about the earl – most men seemed to feel the need to constantly natter on, but he was comfortable with his own thoughts.

I cannot tell you how much I hate it when this quote – almost word for word – is used to describe women in so many other books! I HATE it! I love that the author turned it around and shot it straight back at the male characters who are prone to think it!

This was a significantly more enjoyable historical romance than the last few I’ve read, and I will definitely seek out the next in the series. Apart from anything else, I want the pretty cover!

I only hope that the editors cut the use of snuck out of the next book. I cringe every time I see it turn up in a book in this genre!

Review copy provided by NetGalley.