The Week: 3rd – 9th July

Crazy cockatoos hanging out here on Friday afternoon. They’re so smug – even when destroying everything in sight! Their feathers look so nice. 🙂

I read a couple of good books this week, but one doesn’t have a release date for months, so I don’t think there’s much point reviewing it yet!

Over-Reading a Genre?

JRR Tolkien family settle $80m merchandise row

My review of Afraid to Lose Her by Syndi Powell

My review of The Engagement Charade (Smoky Mountain Matches #11) by Karen Kirst

My review of Convenient Proposal To The Lady (Hadley’s Hellions #3) by Julia Justiss

Happy Belated Birthday, Canada!

Convenient Proposal To The Lady (Hadley’s Hellions #3) by Julia Justiss

Convenient Proposal To The Lady (Mills & Boon Historical) (Hadley's Hellions #3) by Julia Justiss

When politician Benedict Tawny set out to save Lady Alyssa from a nefarious plot, he never expected to find himself trapped in a compromising situation with the alluring lady! Now duty demands he propose…and claim her as his bride!

Tainted by his illegitimacy, Ben knows he can’t give Alyssa the life of luxury she deserves. But if he can convince her to succumb to the undeniable heat between them, their convenient marriage might just lead to the love of a lifetime!

Convenient Proposal To The Lady (Hadley’s Hellions #3) by Julia Justiss

This review made me choose this book.

This is a lovely historical romance that feels mature and not at all anachronistic.

Unfortunately there’s no date given to set the scene, which I always find disappointing, but judging by the references to the fashions I’m guessing it’s somewhere around 1830 – the era of THE dorkiest clothes in history

Julia Justiss uses wonderful language (except for one issue near the end). She throws in more old-fashioned terminology than most historical romance authors these days, and it creates a better sense of the past.

I haven’t read all of Justiss’ books, but those I have show that she is a reliable author, someone who will deliver a solid story every time. She is comfortable in her nineteenth-century world in a way not all authors are, and the FEEL of the era an author projects is one of the most important factors to me when choosing books in this genre.

The best thing about this book was that it was an actual romance. Even though they are forced into an engagement early on, the characters took the time to get to know each other (perhaps just a tad too much time…).

I actually would have liked to see more of the tragic story of the hero’s parents and their failed affair – that’s the sort of drama I love!

I also liked the heroine’s aspirations as an illustrator. She didn’t stray into anachronisms, but she still had a solid interest in something period-appropriate and interesting.

There were a few times the characters had TSTL issues. Honestly, if a creepy guy who has been trying to “ruin” you sneaks up when you’re alone and offers you a weird-tasting drink, it’s probably NOT the best idea to drink it!

My issue at the 89% mark: autumn, autumn, AUTUMN. Not – ever “fall”. Never!

However, there was plenty to like here.

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!

The Week: 10th – 16th August

Wattle Tuggeranong Canberra Australia 14th August 2015 Sonya Heaney Garden Nature

Friday afternoon in the garden.

It must be spring in Canberra. The wattle is out, all the birds are building their nests, and the days are getting longer and sunnier!

What at a weird week! On Wednesday, despite it not being freezing, it rained, and then the rain turned into snow. It doesn’t settle here (far too warm), but everyone in Canberra went crazy about it because it’s SO rare!

HOWEVER… then on Friday it was so sunny and so warm everyone was in t-shirts, and we spent the whole day working in my late-grandmother’s garden and had lunch out on the back deck! This weather is seriously weird.

We booked an overseas trip on Wednesday night. We’ll be in Ukraine (as long as Russia doesn’t take over the ENTIRE country by then) and then Italy for a couple of months from April to June next year. They’re both places I’ve spent a lot of time in, and have family (Ukraine) and friends (Italy) in.

StMichaelsKyivUkraineSonyaHeaney

Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine.

This church was used as a makeshift hospital during the revolution in 2013-2014.

Canberra Airport has been lit up in rainbow colours to greet federal MPs flying into the capital, ahead of the introduction of a cross-party bill to support gay marriage expected this fortnight.

Canberra Airport has been lit up in rainbow colours to greet federal MPs flying into the capital, ahead of the introduction of a cross-party bill to support gay marriage expected this fortnight.

In my city this week, the airport – as in the national capital’s airport all the politicians fly into – was lit up in marriage equality colours. When you live in a progressive city but all the crappy politicians from elsewhere fly in, WE end up being blamed for THEIR decisions in Federal Parliament.

We didn’t vote them in!

Ukrainian soldier leaving to fight invading Russians.

Ukrainian soldier leaves for war.

This week has been appalling in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. After lunch with Ukrainian embassy staff this week we’ve heard so many more awful things that you’ll never hear here. Not as long as the news can find more baby animals at the zoo to report on!

Military Romance

Last Man Standing by Cindy GerardTactical Strike by Kaylea Cross

Cover Love

Silver Linings (Rose Harbor #4) by Debbie Macomber

Graphic Novel of Pride and Prejudice?

Pride and Prejudice (Marvel Classics)

Just Because

Fifty Shades of Tubby

My review of The Rake to Rescue Her (The Ransleigh Rogues #3) by Julia Justiss

The Rake to Rescue Her (The Ransleigh Rogues #3) by Julia Justiss

My review of Cactus Rose by Samantha Harte

Cactus Rose by Samantha Harte

The Rake to Rescue Her (The Ransleigh Rogues #3) by Julia Justiss

The Rake to Rescue Her (The Ransleigh Rogues #3) by Julia Justiss

He’s never forgotten her. But can he forgive her?

When Alastair Ransleigh sees Diana, Duchess of Graveston, for the first time since she jilted him, he makes her a shockingly insulting offer…the chance to become his mistress. And even more shockingly, she accepts!

But the widowed duchess is nothing like the bold, passionate girl Alastair once loved. Years of suffering at the hands of a cruel husband have taken their toll. And as Alastair resolves to save Diana from the damage of the past, their chance meeting turns feelings of revenge to thoughts of rescue…

The Rake to Rescue Her (The Ransleigh Rogues #3) by Julia Justiss

Firstly, ignore this book’s cover. Usually this publisher produces great historical covers, but this looks like Gossip Girl meets whiny Hollywood teen (close your mouth, lady!). Nothing about it looks remotely Regency or English.

As usual, the Mills and Boon/Harlequin historical romance line is doing better things than most historical romance publishers. This is a story about coming back from abuse, and it includes my favourite trope: the reunion romance.

I enjoyed pretty much everything about this book. Regency England is SO overused, and yet when a book like this comes along you forget you’ve already read ten thousand books in the same time and setting, and about similar characters. This author created a totally original and fascinating story, and it had some real depth to it.

I read another review that referred to the hero being patient, and I think that’s a good way to describe him. It’s so nice to have – despite the book’s title – a hero who is a good human being, rather than some fool who disrespects women at every turn and is “transformed” by the heroine.

Even though it is the third in a series, it really doesn’t matter. I haven’t read the others, and wonder if I missed any backstory, but this felt like a complete story on its own. Clearly there were a few mentions of past books’ characters, but it definitely didn’t intrude on the story.

Julia Justiss is an American who writes England so well I didn’t notice mistakes with the language

One issue I’ve noticed with a few books in this line, from different authors, is that the book lost its way just a little at the very end, as though the word count was too long for the story being told. In following with the structure of a romance, there’s a wedge driven into the relationship at the end, but it was a bit too manufactured. As with the last Mills and Boon/Harlequin historical romance I read, I felt the true story finished a couple of chapters before the book did, and that it was a complete and solid story without the little unnecessary separation at the end.

I also didn’t like the idea the heroine wasn’t “healed” until she could forgive her husband. When he forces you to marry him, and then abuses you in every possible way for eight years, you DO NOT have to forgive him! You’re not a better person for weakening when it comes to a monster.

It might have been nice for a reconciliation between the heroine and the hero’s sister, but you can’t fit everything into one book, and back then travelling wasn’t exactly a quick thing to do – even in England!

However, I did really like this book. I’m SO glad I bought it, and I immediately started looking for other books by this author.