Cover Love

  • Escape to Everly Manor by Chalon Linton

Our record-breaking summer is finally over, and this autumnal cover is really appealing to me.

Yet again it’s Christian fiction that produces something gorgeous. I especially like the originality in the cover’s design.

Escape to Everly Manor by Chalon Linton

Nineteen-year-old Lizzy and her young brother, Thomas, find themselves orphaned after a tragic accident claims the lives of their parents. Their estranged Uncle Cline arrives to claim his inheritance, and his roguish ways cast a shadow over the manor. Both the family estate and guardianship of his niece and nephew were left to him, and diabolical Uncle Cline is determined to indulge in his newfound wealth and rid himself of his charges. Desperate to save her brother from a dangerous life at sea, and herself from being married off to a detestable old gentleman, Lizzy knows there is only one choice left—they must run.

Lizzy and Thomas sneak away and find refuge in an abandoned cabin. There they remain hidden until fate acquaints Lizzy with Mr. Barton, a charming gentleman who is immediately intrigued by the mysterious young woman. Concealing her identity, Lizzy is unaware that there is much more to this compassionate man than meets the eye. Through his kindness to herself and her brother, Lizzy begins to trust him. Soon Lizzy realises Mr. Barton may be her best hope for a life in which she can live—and love—as she chooses . . .

The Week: 25th February – 3rd March

One of the cockatoos who lives in the front garden, coming to investigate the other birds on the back deck on Wednesday morning.

Australian Raven Bird Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 25th February 2019 2

A raven trying to steal my plastic container at lunchtime on Monday – caught in the act!

Argh! How is it already autumn?! We’re still having temperatures in the low to mid-thirties in Canberra (in the nineties, if you measure in Fahrenheit), but the leaves are starting to change.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Melbourne Production

My review of Lady Notorious (The Royal Rewards #4) by Theresa Romain

SYTYCW Blog: “Banish stylistic clichés!”

Lady Notorious (The Royal Rewards #4) by Theresa Romain

lady notorious (the royal rewards #4) by theresa romain

Cassandra Benton has always survived by her wits and wiles, even working for Bow Street alongside her twin brother. When injury takes him out of commission, Cass must support the family by taking on an intriguing new case: George, Lord Northbrook, believes someone is plotting to kill his father, the Duke of Ardmore. Decades before, the duke was one of ten who formed a wager that would grant a fortune to the last survivor. But someone can’t wait for nature to take its course—and George hopes a seasoned investigator like Cass can find out who.

Cass relishes the chance to spy on the ton, shrewdly disguised as handsome Lord Northbrook’s notorious “cousin.” What she doesn’t expect is her irresistible attraction to her dashing employer, and days of investigation soon turn to passionate nights. But with a killer closing in and her charade as a lady of the ton in danger of collapsing at any moment, Cass has no choice but to put her life—and her heart—in the hands of the last man she ought to trust.

Lady Notorious (The Royal Rewards #4) by Theresa Romain

As sometimes happens, I did myself a disservice with this book, as I started reading it one month, got distracted by other things, and then came back to it a month later with no proper memory of what I’d already read.

When I think of Theresa Romain, I think of an author who is unique in the historical romance genre. Yes, some of her plotlines are a bit anachronistic, but she always seems to come up with original characters and premises. A lot of HR can come across as “samey”, but you’d never mistake Romain’s books for anybody else’s. She is very creative.

I’m not familiar with all of the books in this series, and I think it might be useful to read them in order.

Early reviews for Lady Notorious are mixed, but I don’t think I’m in a position to judge properly, seeing as I came back to it with no idea what was going on! I think this might be one for the diehard fans.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 18th – 24th February

Australian Grey Butcher Bird Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 16th February 2019 Bird Birds Nature Cute 1

Steve, our little resident grey butcherbird, hanging out on the back deck.

This week saw the fifth anniversary of the massacre in Kyiv, Ukraine, and revealed a massive plagiarism scandal affecting dozens of authors. A strange week all around.

Summer is nearly over here. As usual, the year is moving too fast!

Out Now: Devil’s Daughter

My review of Devil’s Daughter (Ravenels #5) by Lisa Kleypas

Devil's Daughter (Ravenels #5) by Lisa Kleypas

Courtney Milan Plagiarised

Plagiarism Update

Here's an updated list of the authors who've reported being plagiarised by Cristiane Serruya or had recipes stolen from their books.

Coming Up for Mary Balogh

A Title to Make You Groan

it's getting scot in here (wild wicked highlanders, #1) by suzanne enoch

No, it’s not Christmastime yet!

Ukrainian Christmas Eve 6th January 2018 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney Canberra Australia Silver Christmas Tree Silver Blue Gold Decorations

Devil’s Daughter (Ravenels #5) by Lisa Kleypas

Devil's Daughter (Ravenels #5) by Lisa Kleypas

Update on the Limited Edition Barbie US cover (above): Unfortunately, it is based on a gown the heroine wears at the beginning of the book, so I have to concede the cover designer was paying attention. However, the image still makes me shudder. Definitely NOT Victorian!

Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he’s a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband’s life a misery, and she’ll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces himself…as none other than West Ravenel.

West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire…not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn’t bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She’s the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England.

Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?

Only the devil’s daughter knows…

Devil’s Daughter (Ravenels #5) by Lisa Kleypas

Devil’s Daughter is – like every other book in this series – (and everything I’ve read by this author) good. It has some of the funniest dialogue I’ve seen in a Lisa Kleypas book, and does justice to hero West Ravenel, who has been a fairly prominent character and much anticipated future hero in the past four books of the series. I also love the characters’ hard-won maturity, which is in stark contrast to many a historical romance lead. However, there is FAR too much sex in this book.

Devil’s Daughter is also the first instalment in this series where I’d recommend reading the others first. This is especially so because the characters from Kleypas’ earlier Wallflowers series also make appearances, alongside all the Ravenels. There are some sections that are more about revisiting past books than about the plot in this one.

And, interestingly, books #3, #4 and #5 all take place at the same time, so there’re some crossovers in the plot.

I really enjoyed the relationship at the heart of this story. Both hero and heroine have had some tough life experiences that have changed them, and they are both cautious at first. Overall, it makes the pairing so satisfying as it develops. Phoebe is a widow and a mother of two young boys, which is something I wouldn’t have loved that much in the past (I’ve loved teaching children in a few different countries, but have never had any desire to have my own), but something I really loved in this book. And West is a former school bully who has some things to atone for where Phoebe is concerned.

I am also a fan of the widow trope when the first husband was a sweet man who had his life taken too soon. On the other hand, one thing I don’t especially love is the “the second guy’s so much better” trope. That’s present here, but Kleypas does a better job of it than most.

I liked the well-written children, and I liked the cat. She (and, yes, even the cat has some character development!) reminded me of one of our strays who turned up one day and decided she was part of the family.

And I also LOVE the little bits and pieces of research Kleypas includes in her books. Despite what many readers seem to think, this series is not Regency; it takes place in the second half of the Victorian era. The new technologies, all the little bits of everyday life, and the precarious future of the aristocracy all fascinate me.

Kleypas’ books are getting increasingly steamy – as are many authors’ as the market changes. She writes those scenes well, and always makes them about the characters, not the actual smexy stuff, but it’s getting to be a little too much for me. Though most of the steamy stuff doesn’t happen until near the end, when I reached it I just didn’t want to read about that much sex in a romance, rather than an erotic romance. However, I know many readers give low ratings to books without all of that, so authors can’t win.

This was an interesting book for many reasons, and I will reread it to pick up on things I missed out on the first time. Lisa Kleypas is the author who converted me to historical romance, and whenever she has a new book out I always drop everything to finish it – that hasn’t changed.

Now, I just wish US writers and editors would stop using the word “gotten”!

Out Now: Devil’s Daughter

Devil’s Daughter, the fifth book in Lisa Kleypas’ Victorian-era Ravenels series is out now. It features the daughter of one of the couples from her extremely popular Wallflowers series, and I know a lot of people are excited about it.

Devil's Daughter (Ravenels #5) by Lisa Kleypas

Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he’s a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband’s life a misery, and she’ll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces himself…as none other than West Ravenel.

West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire…not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn’t bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She’s the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent – the most devilishly wicked rake in England.

Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?

Only the devil’s daughter knows…