Recently Reread

Lisa Kleypas’ Victorian romances are books I go back to time and again. I recently reread Devil in Spring, the third instalment in the 1870s-set Ravenels series. I reviewed it HERE, and I love it because – like the others in the series – it has unique situations in a fascinating decade of the era.

The UK/Australian cover is below. The weird, prom queen US one is at the bottom of the post!

devil-in-spring-ravenels-book-3-by-lisa-kleypas-uk-cover

An eccentric wallflower

Most debutantes dream of finding husbands. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy – and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realise their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven.

Devil in Spring (2017) (The third book in the Ravenels series) A novel by Lisa Kleypas

The Week: 1st – 7th April

Happy Canberra Wine Week! The – erm – week goes from the 5th to the 14th, which isn’t exactly a week as much as it is an excuse to have two weekends of drinking wine!

I have a big announcement to make in a few days…

My review of Need Me, Cowboy (Copper Ridge #6) by Maisey Yates

need me, cowboy (copper ridge #6) by maisey yates

Romance.com.au

and

Harlequin’s Free Reads

Harlequin Publishing Logo

“Plagiarism, ‘book-stuffing’, clickfarms… the rotten side of self-publishing.”

Amazon kindle Ebooks

April Fools’ Day

800px-Elephant_side-view_Kruger april fool's day prank lioness cub kruger national park south africa 2017

Romance.com.au

I have no idea how I didn’t know about this site until last night. It is home for all of Harlequin Australia’s imprints, as well as for Avon Romance books etc. However there’s a lot more to it than that.

There is a blog, and there are videos and giveaways. I really like the layout, too. In a time when so many book sites are dying out, I think this one really works, and it makes it easy to shop by genre across multiple imprints under the HarperCollins umbrella.

Check it out here: romance.com.au

Need Me, Cowboy (Copper Ridge #6) by Maisey Yates

need me, cowboy (copper ridge #6) by maisey yates

He’s not a man to be played with.

Not without consequences.

For five years, Levi Tucker had no control over his life, locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. Never again would any woman—any desire—overtake this cowboy’s common sense. Now Faith Grayson, the sexy, brilliant architect he’s hired to design his grand new house, is sorely testing his resolve. Faith is too young. Too innocent. Maybe just too tempting.

Need Me, Cowboy (Copper Ridge #6) by Maisey Yates

If you’re looking for a solid, well-written contemporary romance, Maisey Yates is a good bet. I was a bit alarmed that after I downloaded this review book I discovered it was number six in a series, but – apart from some obvious “past couples” factoring into the plot – it works as a standalone read just fine.

For me, and I assume many other readers, the reason Need Me, Cowboy appealed was because it has a hero who is fresh out of prison (he was wrongly convicted of his wife’s murder). I know themes like this fascinate many readers.

(Unlawful Contact by Pamela Clare, A Not-So-Perfect Past by Beth Andrews, and young adult book Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles come to mind, if you want books with similar themes.)

In truth, the cowboy aspect of the story is minimal, which was fine with me. I was more interested in the characters dealing with the “hero out of prison” conflict. He has a lot of anger to deal with, and no idea what to do about it.

I haven’t read a book in this Harlequin line for ages, and had forgotten the heat level – it’s fairly steamy, but doesn’t rule the story.

The hardened, jaded hero-meets-innocent, hardworking heroine trope is popular, and can be done really badly or be really well. In this case, I think it worked. Yates is good enough at her characterisation that she gives everyone unique personalities and quirks.

I especially loved that the heroine was very inexperienced in some aspects of life, but that it worked in a modern context. I didn’t, however, like the stereotyped promiscuous blonde woman named Mindy (of course) who was with the hero at the bar. On the other hand, I did appreciate that she wasn’t made out to be nasty.

These books are quick reads, which means a tight focus on the main two characters and a relationship that has to move rather fast. In this case, I was convinced by the pairing.

Recommended for anyone who finds these tropes appealing in their romance reads.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

London Calling by Veronica Forand

London Calling by Veronica Forand

Small town police officer Emma Ross loves her simple life––but it takes a hard turn into crazy when she’s kidnapped by MI6 and is put under the protection of an over-bearing, albeit sexy, Scotsman. A man who believes she’s lying to protect her father—a father whom she had no idea worked for British Intelligence and is now missing.

Liam Macknight’s partner was assassinated and he’s certain Emma’s father had something to do with it. But the stubborn woman isn’t talking, and she’s determined to get herself killed trying to find out the truth. Locking her in a room does no good––he tried that. So he’s forced to work with her, even if he’s not sure he’ll ever be able to trust her.

When he’s assigned to kill her dad to protect the identity of British spies in the Kremlin, he knows what little trust they’ve gained is about to be destroyed forever…

London Calling by Veronica Forand

I haven’t read much romantic suspense lately, but I’ve been meaning to change that, and the plot of London Calling sounded pretty interesting. Espionage? Kremlin shenanigans? London? Great.

Veronica Forand has a knack for writing suspense stories, and – honestly – it’s a hard genre to get right. Getting those action scenes you have in your head onto the page so they read the way you’ve imagined them is SO much harder than it seems, but Forand can do it.

The author has also done some good research. Some authors in the genre don’t bother with all the little details, and write about their settings and the government agencies their characters deal with in very bland terms, but that’s not the case with this book. The details are there, and a look at the author’s blog tells me she takes her research seriously.

However, I feel the need to do a bit of nitpicking: WHY do all the British characters speak in perfect American English? It’s the basic stuff that’s wrong: vacation instead of holiday, asshole instead of arsehole, windshield instead of windscreen, cookies instead of biscuits, pants instead of trousers. And “buddy” is a term of endearment I’ve only ever heard in North America.

This is just British English #101, and I feel like an editor should have noticed if the author did not.

However, I’ll forgive her the mix-up with Eastern European naming customs (different gender; different surname), as it wasn’t a major thing in the book.

That aside, I’m always happy to dip back into the romantic suspense genre to find someone who knows how to write their action and adventure, and this was an original plotline borrowing from present-day events – exactly the sort of suspense I want to read.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.