The Week: 26th November – 2nd December

This has been a dramatic week both personally and for the world, and so I’ve run out of time to even take a picture of my Christmas decorations! Maybe next week…

Darth Putin is a parody account the Russians periodically try to get banned.

This week Russia’s war in Ukraine finally made it back into the news.

Tomi Adeyemi apologises to Nora Roberts

Tomi-AdeyemiTomi Adeyemi apologises to Nora Roberts

My review of The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses #4) by Janna MacGregor

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses #4) by Janna MacGregor

Release Day for Mary Balogh

Someone to Trust (Westcott Book #5) by Mary Balogh

Helene Young: ‘I chose a career as a pilot over motherhood. I don’t regret a thing’

Shattered-Sky-Front-Cover1-190x300

Behind the Scenes of a Harlequin Cover Shoot

Go Behind the Scenes of a Harlequin Cover Shoot Falling for the Wrong Brother,

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The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses #4) by Janna MacGregor

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses #4) by Janna MacGregor

A lady with a noble mission. A duke looking for redemption. A forbidden love that cannot be denied…

Lady Daphne Hallworth is ready to celebrate the holidays with her family. But when they accidentally leave her home alone, Daphne uses the time to work on her dream—opening a home for unwed mothers. But her quest isn’t problem-free: She’s in a battle to win the property for the home against her brother’s best friend-turned-enemy, Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart. And that’s not all: someone has stolen her personal diary, which holds secrets that could devastate her family. Daphne has always harboured private feelings for the man her family scorns…though perhaps striking a bargain with the handsome Duke will solve both their problems?

Paul, long considered good for nothing, aims to open a hospital to honor his brother and restore his reputation. So when a conflict over the land brings him straight into Daphne’s life, they make a deal: He will help her find her diary if Daphne can change her family’s opinion of him. But before he can win her family’s affection, he has to win hers first. Maybe love was the answer to their family feud all along?

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses #4) by Janna MacGregor

I read Janna MacGregor’s debut novel last year, and commented that the author had talent, that the opening of the book was brilliant, but that it was a little confusing when it came to all the characters.

Because I liked the description of this one, and wanted to give MacGregor’s work another try, I picked up a review copy of this, the fourth book in the series. Again, I found the author’s writing to be solid, but I also had some issues with the overall structure of the book.

For me, it’s always problematic when an author provides no date for the setting of their book. Even if I’m to assume The Good, the Bad, and the Duke is set in the nineteenth century – when? Is there a George on the throne, or Victoria? Are the characters’ portraits painted, or photographed? Can they travel by train or automobile, or is the carriage still their only option? Must they write to each other, or are telegrams and telephone calls available now? Has Napoleon been disposed of? Is there a war in Crimea?

As we were given no date, I have no idea.

Again, the prologue was very well-written. However, the heroine is nine in that scene, but came across as twenty-nine. Even so, it was a sweet little scene.

We then jump forwards about a decade and a half to pick up the main body of the story, and that’s where I started getting confused. This definitely isn’t a book that can be read as a standalone. There are characters I was unfamiliar with everywhere – and their offspring. Right from the first few pages there are references to things that happened in past books that I had no idea about. If they had to be mentioned, I don’t think it should have been so early on.

After several chapters, I realised my mind was wandering. Fans of past books in this series are probably going to really enjoy this one, too.

For me, however, it couldn’t hold my attention.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 17th – 23rd April

Yesterday in Canberra

It is so gorgeous here at the moment. I have no idea why it’s still so warm, when we’re about two-thirds of the way through autumn. The autumn colours are really late this year. I can only find a handful of trees with autumn leaves – this is just a photograph from a set of steps on my street!

So, this happened this week. My mother was in the middle of it. Bizarrely, neither the police nor the media reported it for 2.5 days after it happened. Then they were “seeking witnesses”? It’s a bit late after all the witnesses have #1 – stopped checking the news, and #2 – forgotten all the important facts!

The-Christmas-Cowboy-Hero-by-Donna-Grant-300

When there are Christmas books already being advertised – and you’re still getting over Christmas!

I have something to say about trust in writers, bizarre attitudes to politics, and an author I respected watching a propaganda film and then calling a Putin ally “a hero of our generation”, but I need a day or two to get over my anger and incredulity first!

My review of The Bad Luck Bride (The Cavensham Heiresses #1) by Janna MacGregor

Not-So-Contemporary Romance: The Paradox of Disenfranchised Heroines

Coming Up for Anne Gracie

Because enough time has passed…??

The Bad Luck Bride (The Cavensham Heiresses #1) by Janna MacGregor

The Bad Luck Bride (The Cavensham Heiresses #1) by Janna MacGregor

All were shocked at the announcement of the “cursed” Lady Claire Cavensham to Lord Alexander Hallworth, the Marquess of Pembrooke, especially since she is already engaged to another unfortunate Lord. Perhaps she will make it to the altar this time with one of these fine gentlemen! Could her run of bad luck finally be at an end? It’s highly doubtful in this writer’s humble opinion. —Midnight Cryer

No one is left breathless at the imperious pronouncement of her engagement to Lord Pembrooke more than Claire. She hardly knows the dangerously outrageous man! But after three engagements gone awry and a fourth going up in glorious flames, she isn’t in a position to refuse…especially once she realises that Lord Pembrooke makes her want to believe she’s not a bad luck bride anymore…

Alexander requires the hand of his enemy’s fiancée in marriage in order to complete his plans for revenge. It’s his good fortune that the “cursed” woman is desperate. However, what begins as a sham turns into something scandalously deeper. The beguiling lady has no business laying claim to his heart. But as a mission of revenge turns into fiery passion, Alexander wants nothing more than to break Claire’s curse…and lead them both to their hearts’ desire.

The Bad Luck Bride (The Cavensham Heiresses #1) by Janna MacGregor

Even though this cover is about as historically inaccurate as most historical romance covers, something about it caught my attention. That, combined with the fact this book is by a debut author, and the start of a new series, had me intrigued.

The Bad Luck Bride starts off with an interesting scene, with the hero fighting a duel. It immediately drew me in.

However, the chapters following this were a little confusing, with both hero and heroine seeming to have conflicting interests, and with the introduction of an array of characters I couldn’t quite get straight in my mind.

There is a good book in here, but I found it to be a little messy. I wasn’t sure what was going on, and was confused by why the characters acted the way they did. The author clearly has some talent, but an editor should have worked a little harder to shave away the unnecessary side characters and conversations and drawn out the focus of the plot.

I was also pretty annoyed by the blatant Americanisms that started immediately and didn’t end – it’s AUTUMN, not “the fall”, and it is completely reasonable to expect authors and editors to know this. Also, “snuck” is not just a hideous word that is out of place in the Regency setting (I have a personal hatred of the term!), but there is nothing British about it. The made-up Pembrooke was also distractingly similar to the real Pembroke.

I think that author Janna MacGregor is going to develop nicely as an author, but this book isn’t quite where I wanted it to be.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.