The Week: 20th – 26th June

Driving Home Queanbeyan to Canberra Australia Winter 24th June 2016 Sonya Heaney Sky Clouds Nature

Driving home on Friday afternoon (with a slightly dirty car window!).

I missed the big skies in Canberra.

Gum Eucalyptus Tree Canbera Australia Winter Sun 25th June 2016 Sonya Heaney.

Winter sunshine.

So, I’m finally back! This was not my longest trip away, but two months is still a long time. It’s nice to get back to the little things, like good water – and the neighbours’ cat who thinks he’s mine!

Rex Cat 21st June 2016

We finalised our bookings for our next trip to Europe this week – we’re going again in a few months. We finished bookings for England the day before the scary referendum for Britain to leave the EU (a referendum that had a severe impact the world over – including here in Australia), and I am so disillusioned now.

This is how the United Kingdom voted to leave the E.U.

When you’re doing exactly what Vladimir Putin wants you to do, you might want to reconsider. His plan to weaken and destabilise Europe is going perfectly. There go Britain’s sanctions on aggressive Russia! Now Britain will lose their trading partners, guess who they’ll be doing business with from now on…

The End of RT Magazine

front_cover_july16 RT Magazine July 2016 (Issue 389)

My review of The Beast of Clan Kincaid (Highland Warrior #1) by Lily Blackwood

The Beast of Clan Kincaid (Highland Warrior #1) by Lily Blackwood

My review of Valerie (The Carmichaels, Book 3) by Charlotte Penn Clark

Valerie (The Carmichaels, Book 3) by Charlotte Penn Clark

My review of Marrying Winterborne (Ravenels #2) by Lisa Kleypas

Marrying Winterborne (Ravenels #2) by Lisa Kleypas

My review of The Many Sins of Cris de Feaux (Lords of Disgrace #3) by Louise Allen

The Many Sins of Cris de Feaux (Lords of Disgrace #3) by Louise Allen UK Cover

The Many Sins of Cris de Feaux (Lords of Disgrace #3) by Louise Allen

The Many Sins of Cris de Feaux (Lords of Disgrace #3) by Louise Allen UK CoverThe Many Sins of Cris de Feaux (Lords of Disgrace #3) by Louise Allen US Cover

Secrets, sins and a scandalous affair

Crispin de Feaux, Marquess of Avenmore, has always done his duty and knows the time has come to find a suitable wife. But when the intrepid Tamsyn Perowne saves his life off the Devonshire coast, Cris is unable to tear himself away…

The widow of a notorious smuggler, Tamsyn would never make an appropriate bride. And Cris has secrets that could tear them apart before they’ve even begun! Yet, for the first time, Cris is tempted to ignore his duty and claim Tamsyn as his own!

The Many Sins of Cris de Feaux (Lords of Disgrace #3) by Louise Allen

The Many Sins of Cris de Feaux was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016, by a favourite author, and part of a series I’ve been really enjoying.

So, how did it fare?

I liked it. It was different to many books in this genre, as it largely takes place in Devon, and it had an unlikely heroine for a marquess.

One of the best things about this book was that the unlikely relationship and the social issues it brought up were all addressed. There is genuine conflict here that is missing in so many of these Cinderella-style romances. Both hero and heroine (and the hero’s earl friend) are well aware anything long-lasting between them is nearly impossible.

I also liked the way the men interacted. They’re high-ranking, important people – and they know it.

This book is an excellent standalone, with only tiny hints here and there that it is part of a series. In fact, this has been the case with the other two books in the series so far, and I really appreciate that. Every entry is very different, with interesting settings and plotlines, and I also appreciate that.

I could nit-pick at bits and pieces of the story, but I don’t want to. I enjoy Louise Allen’s books, and this was another good one.

Cover Love

I love Louise Allen’s books. She is a favourite of mine. I also love her nonfiction walking guide, and plan to follow her Regency walking tour on my next trip to London. Sure, I know London very well, but even so I think it’s a book worth a read.

Why do I love this cover? Because it tries much harder than almost any other historical romance cover to give the man hair – and facial hair – that is appropriate for the period.

I actually don’t find Regency men’s hair very attractive, but if a book is set then, they should have men who look like they’re from the era! I actually think this fellow looks very nice! 🙂

A Regency Rake's Redemption by Louise Allen

 

Louise Allen’s New Book

I have been loving the Lords of Disgrace series by Louise Allen, and really looking forward to this one.

Book One Review

Book Two Review

The Many Sins of Cris de Feaux (Lords of Disgrace #3) by Louise Allen

The Many Sins of Cris de Feaux (Lords of Disgrace #3) by Louise Allen

Secrets, sins and a scandalous affair

Crispin de Feaux, Marquess of Avenmore, has always done his duty and knows the time has come to find a suitable wife. But when the intrepid Tamsyn Perowne saves his life off the Devonshire coast, Cris is unable to tear himself away…

The widow of a notorious smuggler, Tamsyn would never make an appropriate bride. And Cris has secrets that could tear them apart before they’ve even begun! Yet, for the first time, Cris is tempted to ignore his duty and claim Tamsyn as his own!

Excited about in 2016

I used to be much more on top of upcoming releases, and followed a lot more series religiously. However, with all the review books now I tend to just take what is offered. I’m out of the loop more now I blog so much than when I wasn’t!

So, this is by no means a comprehensive list of what’s coming up this year. It’s just a few books I thought of…

Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

 Marrying Winterborne (2016) by Lisa Kleypas

The first book in this series created a fantastic secondary relationship and then left us hanging! When the book finished, their engagement had been broken off.

I don’t know how I will stand the wait to read the rest of the story. Lisa Kleypas is and always has been (since I started reading the genre) one of my favourite authors.

One With You by Sylvia Day

 One With You by Sylvia Day

True, the last book wasn’t… good… but I discovered this series less than a year ago, and so binge read them all and became a little obsessed. This is the final book in this entertaining series about an obsessive relationship.

However, if the author impregnates Eva, I’m going to be seriously annoyed!

The Summer Bride by Anne Gracie

 The Summer Bride (Chance Sisters book 4) by Anne Gracie

This is the conclusion to a fantastic series. Each book so far has been really good, but I do think this is one of those series you should read in order.

Anne Gracie’s mix of light and fun and the occasional dark moment makes her one of the most entertaining authors around.

Taking Fire by Cindy Gerard

Taking Fire (One-Eyed Jacks #4) by Cindy Gerard

Cindy Gerard is the author who made me fall in love with romantic suspense. I am not up to date with this series, but I certainly excited about this book!

The Wicked Duke by Madeline Hunter

The Wicked Duke (Wicked Trilogy #3) by Madeline Hunter

The third in a series I absolutely LOVED in 2015, Madeline Hunter has never once disappointed me with her books. She’s one of those rare authors who captures the era and makes you believe her characters really live there.

The Many Sins of Cris de Feaux by Louise Allen

His Housekeeper's Christmas Wish by Louise AllenHis Christmas Countess (Lords of Disgrace #2) by Louise Allen

I really love this series. I’m a big fan of Louise Allen, but this series in particular has been really great, in my opinion.

Best of 2015

2015 was a mixed bag. I read some really great books, and got excited about quite a few things.

However there were also lengthy periods of time where I was either feeling a little blah about my books or I was downright fed up with reading in general, and with the repetition brought on by genre fads.

I saved myself from my reading slumps both by rereading, and also by buying books instead of accepting as many review books as I might have other years.

Every year I post my best reads of the year. Many are 2015 releases, but some are not. Not all of them are the Greatest Read Ever, but every one of these stuck with me in some way, and that’s what counts the most when it comes to a book.

The Secret Years by Barbara Hannay

The Secret Years by Barbara Hannay

Ross Poldark (Poldark #1) by Winston Graham

Poldark_-_Ross_Poldark

His Wicked Reputation (Wicked Trilogy #1) by Madeline Hunter

His Wicked Reputation (Wicked Trilogy #1) by Madeline Hunter

Brown-Eyed Girl (Travis Family #4) by Lisa Kleypas

Brown-Eyed Girl (2015) (The fourth book in the Travis series) by Lisa Kleypas

Collateral Damage (Bagram Special Ops #5) by Kaylea Cross

Collateral Damage by Kaylea Cross

His Christmas Countess by Louise Allen

His Christmas Countess (Lords of Disgrace #2) by Louise Allen

Josette (When Hearts Dare #3) by Kathleen Bittner Roth

Josette (When Hearts Dare #3) by Kathleen Bittner Roth

Tall, Dark and Wicked (Wicked Trilogy #2) by Madeline Hunter

Tall, Dark, & Wicked by Madeline Hunter

This Book Will Change Your Life by Amanda Weaver

This Book Will Change Your Life by Amanda Weaver

Demelza (Poldark #2) by Winston Graham

Demelza (The Poldark Saga #2) by Winston Graham

Bitten (Women of the Otherworld #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Bitten (Women of the Otherworld #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Bared to You (Crossfire #1) by Sylvia Day

Bared to You by Sylvia Day

Danger Wears White (The Emperors of London #3) by Lynne Connolly

Danger Wears White (The Emperors of London #3) by Lynne Connolly

Reflected in You (Crossfire #2) by Sylvia Day

Reflected in You by Sylvia Day

To Love a Cop by Janice Kay Johnson

To Love a Cop by Janice Kay Johnson

Dead by Midnight (I-Team 7.5 An I-Team Christmas) by Pamela Clare

Dead by Midnight (I-Team 7.5 An I-Team Christmas) by Pamela Clare

The Spring Bride (Chance Sisters #3) by Anne Gracie

The Spring Bride (Chance Sisters #3) by Anne Gracie

Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

Cold-Hearted Rake (2015) by Lisa Kleypas

His Housekeeper’s Christmas wish by Louise Allen

His Housekeeper's Christmas Wish by Louise Allen

In Debt to the Earl by Elizabeth Rolls

In Debt to the Earl by Elizabeth Rolls

The Lady Meets Her Match (Midnight Meetings #2) by Gina Conkle

The Lady Meets Her Match (Midnight Meetings #2) by Gina Conkle

His Christmas Countess (Lords of Disgrace #2) by Louise Allen

His Christmas Countess (Lords of Disgrace #2) by Louise Allen

As always, the Harlequin blurb is pure, ridiculous cheese. Ignore it; this author deserves better.

A Christmas baby… 

Grant Rivers, Earl of Allundale, is desperate to get home in time for Christmas. But when he stumbles upon a woman all alone in a tumbledown shack, having a baby out of wedlock, it’s his duty to stay and help her. 

…leads to wedding vows! 

Grant knows all too well the risks of childbirth, and he’s seen enough tragedy to last a lifetime. So once he’s saved her life, Grant is determined to save Kate’s reputation too…if she will consent to marrying a stranger on Christmas Day!

His Christmas Countess (Lords of Disgrace #2) by Louise Allen

I read this one as a paperback, and I forgot what a great experience that can be. Especially so with a Christmas book, with a pretty cover and a Christmas wreath on it! I become so much more absorbed in a “real” book.

If I want to read historical romance, my first stop is usually Harlequin/Mills and Boon. For all the snobbery – even amongst romance readers – the simple fact is that there’s better and more historically accurate HR coming from this publisher than any other.

His Christmas Countess is better than the first book in the series, which is really saying something because I loved the first one and added it to my “Best of 2015” list. What makes this series so great is that the books are perfect standalones. No annoying, lengthy catch-up scenes to show how happy and fertile past characters are.

Louise Allen is one of those rare, magical authors of the subgenre who knows how to create a true sense of an era, and has her characters acting accordingly.

She adds in little bits and pieces from the past without clobbering us with a history lesson. And her characters take social rules of the time into account and act according to them, rather than tossing them all aside and behaving like “feisty” Disney characters.

One of my favourite things about this book is the way both characters behaved towards each other. There were heaps of secrets and misunderstandings, but even if they first reacted in anger, they then stopped and thought about it, and behaved sensibly and maturely. They respected each other even before they had a real reason to.

Another thing I loved was the way the relationship developed. They’re thrown together at the very start, but trust and love and family come later.

This book takes us across two Christmases, with a full year in between, which does two good things: it makes the relationship believable, and it stops the Christmassy feel from becoming cheesy.

To top it off, the plot beyond the actual romance is both tied to the relationship but also solid enough that this doesn’t just become a book about two people being together. That’s where a lot of romances lose me.

Recommended for fans of Regency romance.

Historical Romance for Christmas

The Victorians did Christmas like nobody’s business, but any time in the nineteenth century creates a really festive feel.

Here are a few historical reads for Christmas. Funny, but I thought I’d have more on this blog to recommend! I have read a few historical romances set in America’s Wild West, but most are Christian, and that isn’t what most people are looking for.

A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

Review

A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

His Housekeeper’s Christmas Wish by Louise Allen

Review

His Housekeeper's Christmas Wish by Louise Allen

The Winter Bride by Anne Gracie

Review

The Winter Bride by Anne Gracie

The Week: 9th – 15th November

Paris attacks Canberra lit up in solidarity with people of France Australia 14th november 1024 National Carillon Night

The National Carillon in Canberra. One of the multiple buildings lit up here in the colours of the French flag on Saturday night.

Well, what a week this has turned out to be. Terror in Paris, Russian doping, more arrests after the terror attack here in Australia… The last time I was in Paris there were two shootings. One was in a school in the centre of the city, and the other was actually in Notre Dame.

It is frightening what is going on at the moment.

Sunset Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Spring Sonya Heaney 13th November 2015 Garden Sky Clouds Nature

Friday evening in Canberra

Spring Canberra Australia 6th November 2015 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney Garden Flower Nature.

We had a few moments of sunshine and heat, but I’ve never seen so much rain in Canberra in my life (well, the whole country was raining). Hilarious that Prince Charles and Camilla came, and got rained on through a full day of outdoor activities. We’re not much for the monarchy here, and a little tired of being symbolically ruled by some people 17000 kilometres away.

ROYAL TOUR AUSTRALIA

They attended our Remembrance Day ceremony on the 11th. I’m astonished every year by how many people overseas don’t realise the date is commemorated worldwide, and not just in their own country.

Father Christmas waves to the crowd in North Terrace, November 14 2015.

WHY did Adelaide have their Christmas parade yesterday?? It was utterly bizarre to turn on the television and see people singing Christmas carols, and floats with Mary and Jesus and all that.

A little premature there…

I’ve been working 12+ hours a day to try and get things up for sale in time for Christmas. I’m so sleep-deprived, and have taken more painkillers than I should have because of all the headaches! However, people are already saying their Christmas shopping is almost done, and then you factor in shipping times, and consider why people shop so early, and… ARGH!

On top of that, I’m going to be away for a week in mid-December, so I’m trying to get more books read and reviews written and history posts prepared before I go.

The Clandestine Betrothal by Alice Chetwynd Ley

I read a really good traditional Regency (written in the 1960s) this week, but there probably won’t be a review up here until after Christmas! I do have a review on Goodreads. It really drove home what it is I’m missing from many historical romances being written at the moment.

British Writer Tracks Down Teen Who Gave His Book a Bad Review, Smashes Her With Wine Bottle.

British Writer Tracks Down Teen Who Gave His Book a Bad Review, Smashes Her With Wine Bottle.

Coming Soon

His Christmas Countess by Louise Allen

Cover Love

Laid Out by Sidney Halston

My review of The Rancher’s Christmas Proposal by Sherri Shackelford

The Rancher's Christmas Proposal by Sherri Shackelford

My review of Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

My review of An Amish Noel by Patricia Davids

An Amish Noel by Patricia Davids

Coming Soon

I enjoyed the first book in this series quite a lot, and Louise Allen is an excellent author. His Christmas Countess is one to look out for, and not just because the cover is gorgeous and so festive!

His Christmas Countess by Louise Allen

I’ve got to say, I’m no fan of Harlequin’s blurbs, because they do good books such an injustice. However, here is the one for this book:

A Christmas baby…

Grant Rivers, Earl of Allundale, is desperate to get home in time for Christmas. But when he stumbles upon a woman all alone in a tumbledown shack, having a baby out of wedlock, it’s his duty to stay and help her.

…leads to wedding vows!

Grant knows all too well the risks of childbirth, and he’s seen enough tragedy to last a lifetime. So once he’s saved her life, Grant is determined to save Kate’s reputation too…if she will consent to marrying a stranger on Christmas Day!