Contracted as His Cinderella Bride by Heidi Rice

Contracted as His Cinderella Bride by Heidi Rice

From penniless delivery girl…

To billionaire’s bride?

The perfect summer Ally Jones spent with gorgeous French billionaire Dominic LeGrand was unforgettable, despite her unrequited feelings. Now Ally’s a struggling courier and is stunned when her latest delivery brings her to Dominic’s door. Yet what’s even more shocking is his proposal! Dominic needs a temporary wife, but with the enticing promise of his expert seduction teasing Ally to her limits, can she really just play the role?

Lose yourself in this tantalising marriage of convenience…

Contracted as His Cinderella Bride by Heidi Rice

When I picked this one up, Harlequin’s Presents line had been on my mind (due to discussions in a writers’ group). It had been ages since I’d read one of these, and I thought something by Heidi Rice was a good way to return.

The Presents line is, as some authors call it, “fairy tales for adults”. It delivers a steamy, larger than life story, with tropes galore.

Contracted as His Cinderella Bride worked for me. I actually enjoyed it a lot more than many Presents books because both hero and heroine approached their fake relationship like adults, and there was no melodrama. Rice delivered all the wealth and opulence – as well as the alpha male – without making the book seem “old school”. And this was a heroine who was a little down on her luck, but who had ambition, and a career in her future.

I loved the London and New York locations, and I especially loved that the author seemed to know her settings personally. They weren’t just window dressing. The reference to the overcrowded Trevi Fountain on the trip to Rome was also welcome, because, honestly, these days there’s nothing romantic about the place:

Trevi Fountain Rome Italy Tourist Crowds Sonya Oksana Heaney Summer 2016

From my last trip to Rome in 2016. You can’t even see the water!

There were a handful of things in the steamier scenes I could take issue with (we really need some new terms that aren’t “velvet over steel” and “bundle of nerves”!), but I did like how the author subtly changed her terminology when the characters went from England to the United States. In fact, I loved that.

This book delivered exactly the quick-read fairy tale (for adults!) I wanted.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 1st – 7th July

Tuggeranong Valley Brindabella Range Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Mountains Nature 30th June 2019

The amazing Brindabellas that surround Canberra, at the end of last weekend.

The mountains are one of the inspirations for my book.

A crazy collection of noisy miner birds on Friday morning.

Busy week. I tried to get a lot of writing and editing done, but also this:

I swear, there is nothing more frustrating in this universe than trying to organise documentation and get through the red tape of a former (or current) communist country! The hoops you have to jump through are maddening, and I’ve done it twice in less than twelve months, first with communist China last year, and this week in preparation for two months (from August to October) in the former USSR. And it’s that difficult even with me knowing the staff at the embassy here in Canberra!

Why do I do this to myself? I’m not sure of the answer at the moment!

I got mansplained at by a twenty-one year old English guy this week. Not knowing I was Ukrainian, he spewed a whole lot of revolting Russian propaganda at me (what’s with the resurgence of under-thirty tankies?! It’s no better than being a Nazi.).

I was “informed” that Ukrainians want to be part of Russia (they don’t), that Ukrainians love Russians (they don’t – ethnic cleansing and genocide tend to sour people’s feelings). He also “informed” me that there’s nothing wrong with re-forming empires, and that England should be doing the same thing. I was further “informed” that Putin hasn’t done anything wrong (he has), that he wants good relations with the West (he doesn’t), and that it’s only the mean behavior of the EU that’s stopping Russia being good (uh, no).

What it all boils down to is that the whole world is capable of outrage about anything and everything that happens in the United States, but tens of thousands of dead Ukrainians don’t matter.

You know the term “seething with rage”? That’s what I was doing a few days ago.

Release Day for Mary Balogh

Someone to Honour Someone to Honor (Westcott #6) by Mary Balogh

Release Day for Anne Gracie

Marry in Secret (Marriage of Convenience #3) by Anne Gracie

Cover Love

My review of Bought Bride for the Argentinian by Sharon Kendrick

Bought Bride for the Argentinian by Sharon Kendrick

Bought Bride for the Argentinian by Sharon Kendrick

Bought Bride for the Argentinian by Sharon Kendrick

The Argentinian returns…

With a shocking proposal!

Alejandro Sabato, the unforgettable man from Emily Green’s past, has hired the PR executive to redeem his playboy reputation. She suggests he take a convenient wife to show he’s changed. What she doesn’t expect is Alejandro’s insistence that she take on the role! Emily is dangerously aware of the enduring desire still sparking between them. But can she risk her heart again when she’s only a bride on paper?

Turn the page and begin this marriage of convenience…

Look for 8 new titles from Harlequin Presents every month!

Harlequin Presents: Glamorous international settings… powerful men… passionate romances.

Bought Bride for the Argentinian by Sharon Kendrick

I nearly didn’t read this one because the woman on the cover reminded me too much of Ivanka Trump. Actually, even after completing the book I think she looks completely wrong for the heroine!

I was going through a bit of a Harlequin Presents thing recently because of discussion in a private writing group, and I worked my way through the review copies of upcoming books.

Bought Bride for the Argentinian is classic Presents – as you would expect from Sharon Kendrick. I liked a lot of things about it, and I liked that the author came up with a way to make her “down on her luck” heroine have a lot of strength and ambition, despite her circumstances.

Reunion romances are my favourites, so I loved that aspect of the story, too.

There were some editing issues that created inconsistencies. An example: the heroine tells the hero about her job in PR – and then a few pages later, during the same conversation, she’s shocked that he knows she works in PR! Harlequin has some of the best editing in the business, so I was a bit surprised by these little issues.

A portion of this book takes place at the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix, and as I’ve attended almost every one of those races since the mid-2000s, I could definitely nitpick, but I won’t. The one thing I’ll say: drivers don’t go out partying the night before they have to *race a car* at hundreds of kilometres an hour. They get paid tens of millions for their skills, and they take it seriously!

However, this book delivered on the Presents promise, and will be a fun, quick read for fans of the line.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 17th- 23rd June

My book is done! I’ve passed it back and forth with my editor six times, and now she has sent it off to the publisher. I plan to never read it again, in case I find glaring mistakes!

I was, however, rather excited to see myself popping up in advertising alongside some pretty big-name authors this week:

Sonya Heaney on Romance.com.au Coming Soon

On My Radar: The Last Days Of The Romanov Dancers by Kerri Turner

The Last Days Of The Romanov Dancers by Kerri Turner

My review of The Greek’s Pregnant Cinderella (Cinderella Seductions #2) by Michelle Smart

The Greek's Pregnant Cinderella (Cinderella Seductions #2) by Michelle Smart

Jennifer Weiner on the Power of Women’s Stories and Killing ‘Chick Lit’

Jennifer Weiner on the Power of Women's Stories and Killing 'Chick Lit' Mrs Everything.

The Greek’s Pregnant Cinderella (Cinderella Seductions #2) by Michelle Smart

The Greek's Pregnant Cinderella (Cinderella Seductions #2) by Michelle SmartThe Greek's Pregnant Cinderella (Cinderella Seductions #2) by Michelle Smart Mills and Boon Modern

“You will go to the ball.”

And be seduced by a billionaire…

Hotel maid Tabitha is stunned to be gifted a ticket to an elite ball hosted by Greek tycoon Giannis Basinas. It’s meant to be a night of pure luxury. But this untouched Cinderella ends up in Giannis’s bed—utterly pleasured! Making a hasty morning exit out the window, Tabitha expects to return to her ordinary life. Until she discovers her midnight mischief had nine-month consequences!

Lose yourself in this enchanting Cinderella story…

The Greek’s Pregnant Cinderella (Cinderella Seductions #2) by Michelle Smart

“Fairy tales for adults” is what this Harlequin/Mills and Boon line is all about, and The Greek’s Pregnant Cinderella goes one step further by actually making this a (steamy) Cinderella retelling.

I won’t lie: I’m not the biggest fan of pregnancy storylines, but the gorgeous blue dress on the cover won me over. I read this book on a trip to and from Sydney, and it was exactly the entertainment I wanted to break up the journey.

Packed full of popular tropes, and with all the elements a fairy tale retelling should have, I’m glad I picked it up.

Naturally, with the Cinderella storyline featuring some over-the-top nasty female characters, you are also going to get that here. However, because of the precedent, I – someone who hates negative stereotyping of women more than any other trope – was willing to forgive it. I also appreciated that the “bad” women were balanced out with plenty of nice women.

I liked the way everything came together, and while the alpha male characters in this line can be a bit too cruel, I do think the issues between hero and heroine resolved themselves well here.

Also appreciated was that the downtrodden heroine really came into her own at the end.

Finally, I loved that the hero’s Santorini house. I stayed in something similar (but much, much smaller!) when I was there, and the whole feel of the place was well-described.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 6th – 12th May

Busy week this week. I have edits to do on my book (which has a new title, but I won’t share it until everything is confirmed), and I was editing a book for someone else. Plus something weird happened to my email and I lost some important things, while other important emails (i.e. from my publisher, HarperCollins!) started going to my junk folder and I missed them!

Storm Cursed Out Now

9780425281291_StormCursed_FCO_mech.indd

Recently Reread: Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen’s most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice, was published on the 28th of January 1813. Here is the front page from a first edition copy of the book.

This Cover

Unleashed by Caitlin Crews

This Cover…

Unleashed by Caitlin Crews

Harlequin’s new(ish) Dare line is trying something really different with their covers. I can’t stop looking at this one. Unlike so many other category romance covers, the people look so real.

Along with Entangled Publishing’s Autumn line, it’s good to see some characters who don’t look like they’ve just graduated from their teens!

The Week: 29th April – 5th May

Autumn Colours Autumn Leaves Canberra Australia Sonya Oksana Heaney 29th April 2019 Warm Sunny Day Blue Sky Garden Nature

Autumn colours in Canberra.

Argh! It’s May. What is going on?!

I voted on Wednesday. The Australian election is not for another fortnight, but I’m going to be at the ballet in Sydney on that day (voting is compulsory here). I also met my candidate at the polling station. Now, could I please be spared all the trashy political ads for the next two weeks?!

I’m on HarperCollins.com!

hc-logo HarperCollins Publisher

New Book from Madeline Hunter

and

My review of Never Deny a Duke (Decadent Dukes #3) by Madeline Hunter

Never Deny a Duke (2019) (The third book in the Decadent Dukes Society #3 series) A novel by Madeline Hunter

Coming up for Joanna Shupe

The Rogue of Fifth Avenue (2019) (The first book in the Uptown Girls series #1) A novel by Joanna Shupe

My review of The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh (The Cavanaughs #2) by Stephanie Laurens

The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh (The Cavanaughs #2) by Stephanie Laurens

The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh (The Cavanaughs #2) by Stephanie Laurens

The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh (The Cavanaughs #2) by Stephanie Laurens

A Gentleman of Means

One of the most eligible bachelors in London, Lord Christopher “Kit” Cavanaugh has discovered his true path and it doesn’t include the expected society marriage. Kit is all business and has chosen the bustling port of Bristol to launch his passion—Cavanaugh Yachts.

A Woman of Character

Miss Sylvia Buckleberry’s passion is her school for impoverished children. When a new business venture forces the school out of its building, she must act quickly. But confronting Kit Cavanaugh is a daunting task made even more difficult by their first and only previous meeting, when, believing she’d never see him again, she’d treated him dismissively. Still, Sylvia is determined to be persuasive.

An Unstoppable Duo

But it quickly becomes clear there are others who want the school—and Cavanaugh Yachts—closed. Working side by side, Kit and Sylvia fight to secure her school and to expose the blackguard trying to sabotage his business. Yet an even more dastardly villain lurks, one who threatens the future both discover they now hold dear.

The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh (The Cavanaughs #2) by Stephanie Laurens

I really appreciate a well-researched Victorian era book, and there’s no doubt Stephanie Laurens knows her stuff. I did find that The Pursuits of Lord Kit Cavanaugh took a while to get going, and the pacing (slow at the start) is something I’ve noticed in a lot of Harlequin historicals, which leads me to believe it’s the style the publisher prefers.

This is the second book in a series – a series I’ve not read the first book of. I get the impression both hero and heroine were featured in the earlier book, and I think I might have enjoyed watching the evolution of their relationship over both instalments.

My issue with the beginning of this one is that the first quarter is about only one incident. For the first 25%(ish) of the story, all we see are hero and heroine moving a boys’ school from one building to another. We see every step of the boys moving chalk, and desks, and books, and… It was beautifully written, and SO well-researched, but it was still 20 000+ words of people moving furniture.

I also get the historically accurate situation of only boys getting an education, but I wasn’t that enamoured reading about male privilege in a romance novel…

On the other hand, the author seems to be well familiar with her setting, and it made a big difference to have all the personal, realistic touches, and that’s what kept me reading.

Laurens is a prominent author in the genre, and you know you’re going to get a quality story. In the case of THIS book, I’d recommend persisting beyond the slowish start.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

 

On a side note: Kavanaugh/Cavanaugh is a pretty unfortunate surname for this moment, considering the news!

The Week 22nd – 28th April

Happy Easter – again! (I know – those aren’t pysanky in the bowl, but at least the embroidery is from Ukraine!)

The way the calendar works this year, it’s all too much in one go. Four days of Easter a week ago, and then Anzac Day here in Australia on Thursday, and now four more days of old-calendar/Ukrainian Easter – and then it’s Mother’s Day here a few days after that!

Winter just refuses to arrive in Canberra. Nearly two-thirds of the way through autumn, and the temperatures are still in the mid-twenties. No rain, either – which I’d be really happy to see at the moment…

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cof

^^^^

At the Australian War Memorial (which is here in Canberra), after the national Anzac Day service. That’s my Vietnam veteran father, and in the second picture you can see me looking at a Vietnam War display inside the museum with him. (I need to brush up on this stuff; I’m currently editing another veteran’s book!)

It was shocking this year to see all extra security and all the concrete barricades along the length of Anzac Parade (the giant boulevard that connects the War Memorial to the rest of the city, and the place the service happens). Terrorism is changing the world very fast.

Autumn Colours Autumn Leaves in the Garden Tuggeranong Canberra Australia April 2019 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 3

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Some autumn colours in Canberra.

New Book for Mary Balogh

and

Another Cover for Mary Balogh

Mary Balogh's next book Someone to Honour the sixth book in the Westcott family series UKAustralian Cover.

Nora Roberts sues Brazilian author, cites ‘multi-plagiarism’.

Cristiane Serruya has plagiarism scandal 1

Anzac Day Reads: Karina Bliss

A Prior Engagement by Karina Bliss

Anzac Day Reads: Helene Young

Wings of Fear (Border Watch #1) by Helene Young

Anzac Day Reads: Brynn Kelly

Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

Out Now: A Modest Independence by Mimi Matthews

A Modest Independence (Parish Orphans of Devon #2) by Mimi Matthews