Cover Love

I don’t think I need to explain why I love this cover! The Hollow of Fear (Lady Sherlock series #3) by Sherry Thomas is out now.

The Hollow of Fear (2018) (Lady Sherlock series #3) by Sherry Thomas

Under the cover of “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” Charlotte Holmes puts her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. Aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, Charlotte draws those in need to her and makes it her business to know what other people don’t. When her dear friend Lord Ingram stands accused of the murder of his estranged wife, Charlotte goes under disguise to help prove his innocence to Scotland Yard.

Cover Love

Need I say anything? All my favourites: Victorian, London, 19th-century fashion, atmosphere!

Fun fact: I nearly ended up living and working in Belgravia, but to nineteen-year-old me, it didn’t seem like a great place to be. What an idiot I am; it’s full of rich Brits. 🙂

A Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock #2) by Sherry Thomas

The Week: 29th May – 4th June

Driving past Australian Parliament on Saturday afternoon (taken from the back seat of the car). Canberra’s winter has a lot of sunshine!

First day of winter in Canberra.

A colourful last day of autumn on Wednesday.

Above is our neighbour’s ancient, blind, deaf cat this week. For some reason she has just now (at nearly nineteen years of age – in her nineties as a human) decided to move into our house. The problem is, her blindness means she often misses our back door and instead sits there and stares at the brick wall! We had to put a mat out for her because she sits there for hours…

In five days I went from frightening her at every turn, to patting her for the first time, to – on Friday – having her walk into the house, climb on top of me, and settle in for the evening. I felt a bit triumphant to gain the trust of such an unlikely cat.

We began winter with some gorgeous weather, but I’m terrified it’s already June!

So much – not all of it good, some of it hilarious – happened this week.

UPDATE: Yet another terror attack in Britain. 😦 😦

Yesterday Russia deployed 60 000 MORE troops to Crimea. Something else for everyone to ignore. People talk about how bad it was people ignored Hitler, but when Hitler started wars, the world started reacting. Putin has been invading countries for a decade now.

My cousin’s house burnt down – I kid you not. It made the news, and because it’s in the country and he was in Sydney it makes it all so much more difficult to deal with.

The ridiculous thing is that he was renting it out, and the renters basically blew it up by putting embers in a bin near the gas and electricity. However, there aren’t many laws protecting landlords from their tenants’ idiotic behaviour, so this is going to be costly for the innocent party in this mess.

Olivia Newton-John announced she has cancer again. My mother did costume work for one of her tours a few years ago, and apparently she is one of the most genuine, normal, nice celebrities behind the scenes.


Winter Reads

Thought for the end of the week.

My review of When to Engage an Earl (Spinster House #3) by Sally MacKenzie

My review of The Cornish Escape by Lily Graham

My review of What We Find (Sullivan’s Crossing #1) by Robyn Carr

Nice Hat!

The Cornish Escape by Lily Graham

Victoria Langley’s world crumbles when her husband leaves, but she knows exactly where to go to mend her broken heart. The rugged shores of Cornwall will be her perfect sanctuary. 

In the quaint, little village of Tregollan, nestled in the sea cliffs, Victoria is drawn to Seafall Cottage, covered in vines and gracefully falling apart. Inside she finds a diary full of secrets, from 1905.

Victoria is determined to unravel the diary’s mystery, but the residents of Tregollan are tight-lipped about Tilly Asprey, the cottage’s last owner. Just as she reaches a dead end, Victoria meets Adam Waters, the lawyer handling the cottage’s sale. He’s handsome, charming, and has a missing piece of the puzzle.

Tilly’s diary tells a devastating love story that mirrors Victoria’s own. Can Victoria learn from Tilly’s mistakes, and give herself a second chance at love? Or is history doomed to repeat itself?

The Cornish Escape by Lily Graham

I have a fascination with Cornwall, so I was excited to read this one. It’s a solid, interesting read, even though I seriously question the “romance” labelling. (The UK and US differ pretty heavily on what they define a romance as, with the expectation in America that much more time be spent with the love interest.)

This women’s fiction mystery was a well-written, engaging read. It has a bit of everything in it, with marriage issues, a big move to a new town, a mystery surrounding an old diary, new friends (and, yes, eventually some touches of romance).

It was a surprise to see it written in the first person, which is practically a universally hated style outside teen books, but I think the author had the talent to pull it off. It’s a tough way to write without starting every sentence with ‘I’.

There’s a fine line between making a small town quirky and interesting and making it clichéd. It worked here, and I think the appeal of Cornwall for many is the sense of community the area gives off in the media.

I also liked that the major players seemed to be regular people you might to see in real life. Dialogue and behaviour was natural; this is an author who doesn’t feel the need to make her characters perfect in order for them to have a romance.

Overall, I enjoyed this book for a change from my regular reading. It’s an easy read with solid writing throughout.


Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Crimson Peak

I haven’t seen this Victorian, gothic, horror, mystery, whatever it is yet. In fact, I probably won’t make it to the cinema, and the DVD release isn’t until next year, so I went and read a detailed summary instead!

I feel like I should support it because Mia Wasikowska is from Canberra, but I also like the rest of the cast – and the costumes!

Perfect or imperfect, I love the whole Victorian gothic romance theme it has going on. And Tom Hiddleston has really grown on me, whereas I used to be one of the people screaming: What’s all the fuss about??!! Also, I have just about forgiven Charlie Hunnam for almost starring in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie!

Twelfth Night by Deanna Raybourn

Twelfth Night by Deanna Raybourn

New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn returns with a brand-new novella, starring her beloved heroine, the intrepid Lady Julia Grey

To mark the passing of another decade, the esteemed—and eccentric—March family have assembled at Bellmont Abbey to perform the Twelfth Night Revels for their sleepy English village. But before Lady Julia and her handsome, sleuthing husband, Nicolas Brisbane, can take to the stage, a ruckus in the stable yard demands their attention. An abandoned infant is found nestled in the steel helm of St. George. What’s more, their only lead is the local legend of a haunted cottage and its ghastly inhabitant—who seems to have returned.

Once again, Lady Julia and Nicholas take up the challenge to investigate, and when the source of the mystery is revealed, they’ll be faced with an impossible choice—one that will alter the course of their lives…forever.

Twelfth Night by Deanna Raybourn

This is apparently #5.6 (so, a bonus novella) in the Lady Julia Grey series. Needless to say, this is another review copy I picked up without knowing anything about it or the series it belongs to!

Reviews are all over the place for this series. Set in Victorian England, there’s no denying it’s incredibly anachronistic – on the first page our protagonist’s sister walks into her bedroom and comments on her brother in law’s nudity, like it’s a joke. The women discuss family planning and not having children as if they’re living in 2014, and the way they swear… If you’re looking for the quintessential stuffiness of the Victorian era, well, it’s not here.

And yet… This author has taken more care with the dialogue and correct terminology than any other American author of historical romance I’ve come across. I wasn’t cringing at wrong (non-English) words the way I all too often am.

Despite the massive and frequent anachronisms, I think Deanna Raybourn has a real talent for writing strong characters. She even makes the servants actual people with their own thoughts and ideas. This novella was a perfect length for the plot, and while I was pretty lost with all the unfamiliar characters, I still enjoyed reading it.

I think I would give Raybourn’s work another go. However I’d really appreciate it if someone in the editing process said a big No Way to some of the outlandishly modern behaviour!


Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Where It May Lead by Janice Kay Johnson

Where It May Lead by Janice Kay Johnson

A revelation that could ruin everything!

Instant attraction is the stuff of books and movies. Or so Alumni Relations Director Madison Laclaire believes…until she meets Detective John “Troy” Troyer. From closing down the restaurant on their first date to sharing steamy looks in meetings, Madison is completely into Troy. Even better, the feelings are mutual. Once this alumni weekend is over, they can pursue the plans they have for each other.

But those plans get sidelined when the college opens a decades-old time capsule. Inside, a student confesses knowledge about the campus’s only murder—an unsolved murder. Worse, Troy’s investigation points to Madison’s father as a suspect. Suddenly her loyalties are split. And making the wrong choice could cost her a future with Troy…

Where It May Lead by Janice Kay Johnson

I really hate how so many books describe the heroines as being so much shorter than the hero – only to have the cover designers use extremely tall models!

When I read the very excellent From This Day On last year, I didn’t realise there was a book that came before it that was connected. There’s actually no way you’d know – other than the fact the trigger for both books’ plots is the opening of a time capsule (and the fact the hero and heroine of the next book are in this one for a couple of sentences).

Both a really good books that have a strong mystery theme. Where It May Lead is as much about a cold case – a murder – as it is about the relationship. I liked it. I also like that the conflict in the relationship is a direct result of the time capsule revelation. Why is that? Because what hero, Troy’s father leaves in the time capsule is evidence implicating heroine, Madison’s father in the murder.

It’s really, really rare that an author can pull off a love at first sight sort of storyline. In this one it might not be actual love at first sight, but it’s something very close to it – and it’s believable.

I really just liked this book. However, that’s hardly a surprise, as I’ve never read a bad book by Janice Kay Johnson. She’s amazingly good, and recently has demonstrated a real talent for writing crime/mystery sort of stories. As ever, the packaging of Harlequin books wouldn’t immediately make you think that, but there’s a lot more to her stories than you’d expect.

One thing that made me wonder in this one is how many details so many people remembered from thirty-five years ago. Maybe people do remember that much when it is such a significant event as a murder on a university campus, but I’m not so sure. For example, about thirteen years ago I was questioned by police in relation to an attempted murder (which I was clearly a witness to, not the person doing it!), and just over a decade later I couldn’t give you the kinds of details these people were giving…

However, I liked this book so much. The romance genre has been a little stale recently, with lots of Navy SEALs and more sex than anybody could ever want to read. I’m loving that I still have favourite authors I can count on to deliver a strong plot, books that are smart to boot.

Currently Free: The Wild Place by Barbara Goodheart

The Wild Place by Barbara Goodheart is free at the moment.

The Wild Place by Barbara Goodheart

Julie Landis, a successful account executive and community volunteer, is injured risking her life to save two young children. She doesn’t expect the fifteen minutes of fame that follow–not to mention the anonymous hate letters, sadistic acts, and death threats that result from the publicity. Who is her tormentor, and why does he hate her? She has no idea what he looks like, or if she ever had contact with him. Nothing in her past would explain why someone would want revenge against her–or so she thinks.

As her unknown predator stalks her, leaving taunting clues, his actions become increasingly bizarre and horrifying. When he ruthlessly murders a woman, Julie knows that her life, and that of her lover, Andy, is in grave danger.

She desperately tries to identify her tormentor, but before she can, he strikes without warning. He viciously attacks her. She fights back. But as her strength is slipping away, she sees him turn his fury on Andy. She must find a way to stop him–or die trying.