The Week: 24th – 30th June

Foggy Winter Morning Canberra Australia Crazy Cat Sonya Heaney 28th June 2019

The neighbours’ crazy cat, sleeping on my back deck instead of in his house on a very foggy Friday morning! (The day turned out sunny and bright in the end.)

I had some unexpected interruptions this week, which means I haven’t achieved everything on the dot-point list stuck above my computer!

My problem with not meeting my self-imposed writing goals is that I wanted to have two manuscripts completed and strong enough to send to editors before I head off mid-August for two months in Europe. Every day I miss a goal the stress piles on more. Oh dear…

I have many, many things to say about the rampant corruption in Western Europe that led to Russia being reinstated into PACE (the Council of Europe), but at this point I’ve pretty much given up on everyone. The West is being gleefully ignorant as they stumble right into World War Three.

Release Day for Sabrina Jeffries

project duchess (duke dynasty #1) by sabrina jeffries

100 Years Ago

Release Day for Sabrina Jeffries

The first book in Sabrina Jeffries’ new Duke Dynasty series is out now.

project duchess (duke dynasty #1) by sabrina jeffries

Project Duchess (Duke Dynasty #1) by Sabrina Jeffries

From New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries comes a sparkling new series about an oft-widowed mother’s grown children, who blaze through society in their quest for the truth about their fathers . . . and in the process find that love just might conquer all . . .

A series of stepfathers and a difficult childhood have left Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, with a guarded heart, enviable wealth, and the undeserved reputation of a rogue. Grey’s focus on expanding his dukedom allows him little time to find a wife. But when his mother is widowed yet again and he meets the charmingly unconventional woman managing his stepfather’s funeral, he’s shocked to discover how much they have in common. Still, Grey isn’t interested in love, no matter how pretty, or delightfully outspoken, the lady . . .
 
Beatrice Wolfe gave up on romance long ago, and the arrogant Duke of Greycourt with his rakish reputation isn’t exactly changing her mind. Then Grey agrees to assist his grief-stricken mother with her latest “project”: schooling spirited, unfashionable Beatrice for her debut. Now that Beatrice is seeing through Grey’s charms to his wounded heart, she’s having trouble keeping him at arm’s length. But once Grey starts digging into her family’s secrets, she must decide whether her loyalties lie with her family . . . or with the man whose lessons capture her heart . . .

The Secret of Flirting (Sinful Suitors #5) by Sabrina Jeffries

The Secret of Flirting (Sinful Suitors #5) by Sabrina Jeffries

The moment spymaster Baron Fulkham meets the stunning Princess Anne of Chanay, he’s positive her royal persona is a ruse and that she’s actually Monique Servais, the mysterious actress he met three years before in Dieppe. But as he pursues his suspicions, he uncovers a plot of attempted assassination and betrayal that could very well destroy his career, expose his own secrets…and ruin the woman he’s rapidly coming to love.

The Secret of Flirting is a sizzling historical romance filled with fast-paced storytelling, an enchanting heroine, and a sexy hero, perfect for fans of Regency romance.

The Secret of Flirting (Sinful Suitors #5) by Sabrina Jeffries

I have been enjoying the Sinful Suitors series for the last few years, even if I can’t keep all the series’ past, present and future heroes and heroines straight in my head. The Secret of Flirting definitely has the most outlandish of the plotlines so far (fake royalty!), but it is still an entertaining read.

These books are NOT Regency romances, despite popular labelling. They’re set in the decades after the Regency ended, a time period not used all that often in historical romance.

There is quite a lot of actual history that went into this story. At this point in time there really was a new country that needed a new ruler, and author Sabrina Jeffries has created a fictional plotline to fit into these real events.

The term “spymaster” does make me wince – it is overused in historical romance at the moment – but Jeffries has written some of my “best of” reads in the last few years. Because her style is a little less serious than some other authors, I make an exception.

Jeffries does tend to use a few old-fashioned genre tropes, like the surprise “punishment kisses”, which I’m not a fan of.

I do think that the story became a bit stagnant at about the 60% mark. There was a little too much focus on hero and heroine in private moments, and the plot seemed to disappear for a while. It did pick up later on.

What I do enjoy is the author’s use of historically accurate words, some of which I actually looked up, because I couldn’t believe they were from that era.

I did find it odd that the heroine, who had been living in northern France her whole life, would be complaining about the weather in southern England – anyone who has spent a summer in the northern half of France knows that it is NOT exactly a tropical paradise, and that the area is prone to freak storms!

This was generally an entertaining addition to the series. It isn’t my favourite, but Jeffries always writes very readable books.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 19th – 25th February

^^^^

I have no idea why it keeps starting partway through!

Plenty of Winter Olympics-watching happened this week. The best moment was Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir winning ice dance gold.

R.I.P. to Emma Chambers

Kyiv Ukraine Euromaidan Memorials Sonya Heaney May 2016

This week marked four years since the pro-Russian snipers opened fire on the public in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city. The war rages on, even though I haven’t seen it in the Australian, European, or American news for a long time.

Ukraine's Oleksandr Abramenko won the men's aerials freestyle skiing gold medal to break Belarus' dominance in the event at the Winter Olympics..

Ukraine did win a gold medal in Pyeongchang, however!

My review of Gold Rush by Jennifer Comeaux

Gold Rush by Jennifer Comeaux

Lisa Kleypas News

Hello Stranger (Ravenels #4) by Lisa Kleypas

Out Soon

The Secret of Flirting (Sinful Suitors #5) by Sabrina Jeffries

Reread: My Life Next Door

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

The Bombing of London Library

On 23rd February 1944 The London Library came within a few feet of being totally destroyed. Bombed Second World War Two0241_-_The_Art_Room_19440238_-_

Out Soon

The next instalment in Sabrina Jeffries’ Sinful Suitors series is due out in a few weeks. I have been enjoying this series quite a bit, even if the blurbs always make the books sound completely outrageous!

I will be reviewing the book here on the release date, but the review is already up on Goodreads.

The moment spymaster Baron Fulkham meets the stunning Princess Anne of Chanay, he’s positive her royal persona is a ruse and that she’s actually Monique Servais, the mysterious actress he met three years before in Dieppe. But as he pursues his suspicions, he uncovers a plot of attempted assassination and betrayal that could very well destroy his career, expose his own secrets…and ruin the woman he’s rapidly coming to love.

Best of 2017

In no particular order: my favourite reads of 2017:

(I guarantee I’ve forgotten at least one book!)

Edge of Truth (The Legionnaires #2) by Brynn Kelly

Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

Devil in Spring (Ravenels #3) by Lisa Kleypas

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

The Lost Letter: A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

The Lost Letter A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

My Lady Governess by Elise Clarke

My Lady Governess by Elise Clarke

Someone to Hold (Westcott #2) by Mary Balogh

someone-to-hold-westcott-book-2-by-mary-balogh-uk-australian-cover

The Most Dangerous Duke in London (Decadent Dukes Society #1) by Madeline Hunter

the-most-dangerous-duke-in-london-decadent-dukes-society-1-by-madeline-hunter

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

Surrender to the Marquess (Herriard #3) by Louise Allen

surrender-to-the-marquess-herriard-3-by-louise-allen

Mogul (The Knickerbocker Club #3) by Joanna Shupe

mogul-the-knickerbocker-club-3-by-joanna-shupe

Marrying His Cinderella Countess by Louise Allen

(To be reviewed in a couple of weeks.)

Marrying His Cinderella Countess by Louise Allen UK Australian Mills and Boon Cover

Forbidden River (The Legionnaires #2.5) by Brynn Kelly

Forbidden River (The Legionnaires #2.5) by Brynn Kelly

Marry in Haste (Convenient Marriage series #1) by Anne Gracie

marry-in-haste-marriage-of-convenience-by-anne-gracie

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors #4) by Sabrina Jeffries

The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors #4) by Sabrina Jeffries

And – to be released in early 2018:

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter: a Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

My Goodreads review.

The Viscount and the Vicar's Daughter A Victorian Romance by Mimi Matthews

The Week: 25th September – 1st October

Blue Sky Sunny Afternoon Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Eucalyptus Trees Garden Gum Trees Nature Hot Sonya Heaney 27th September 2017Sunny, warm Canberra on Wednesday – the national news said it was raining here (they always say that)!

Another week, another struggle to get my reading up to date! I have about forty review books I’m behind on. Hmm…

Coming Up for Mary Balogh

My review of A Talent for Temptation (Sinful Suitors #4.5) by Sabrina Jeffries

My review of The Reunion by Sara Portman

Harlequin’s Free Reads

The Latest Romance Genre Insult

A Talent for Temptation (Sinful Suitors #4.5) by Sabrina Jeffries

A Talent for Temptation (Sinful Suitors #4.5) by Sabrina Jeffries

Filled with New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries’s signature charm and wit, this novella in the hugely popular Sinful Suitors series is sure to tempt you!

Widow Meriel Vyse is stunned speechless when someone tries to abduct her on her way to a ball. Fortunately, Quinn Raines, her secret beau, shows up to foil the attack. Unfortunately, as the two of them are struggling with her abductor, Meriel accidentally stabs Quinn with a knife.

Unbeknownst to Meriel, Quinn set up the fake abduction so he could play the hero and win her hand in marriage. But now that his plan has gone disastrously awry, can he convince her that he’s still the man for her?

A Talent for Temptation (Sinful Suitors #4.5) by Sabrina Jeffries

Sabrina Jeffries is always a good bet for an entertaining historical romance. This is a SHORT novella that fits into the author’s current (and very good) series, but it is perfect as a standalone.

I liked both hero and heroine, and especially liked that they were so *normal*. The hero was adorably disastrous, and the plot (such as it is in such a short story) was funny.

Sometimes it’s nice to be able to have a story you can read in one sitting, and Jeffries’ humour and sparkling writing makes her perfect for shorter work.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors #4) by Sabrina Jeffries

The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors #4) by Sabrina Jeffries

When Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave, is forced to flee after killing a man in a duel, he expects his secret love, Brilliana Trevor, to go with him, or at the very least wait for him. To his shock, she does neither and sends him off with no promise for the future. Seven years and one pardon later, Niall returns to England disillusioned and cynical. And being blackmailed by the government into working with his former love to help catch a counterfeiter connected to her father doesn’t improve his mood any. But as his role as Brilliana’s fake fiancé brings his long-buried feelings to the surface once again, he wonders who is more dangerous—the counterfeiter or the woman rapidly stealing his heart.

Forced to marry another man after Niall was exiled, the now widowed Brilliana wants nothing to do with the reckless rogue who she believes abandoned her to a dreary, loveless life. So having to rely on him to save her father is the last thing she wants, much less trusts him with….But as their scheme strips away the lies and secrets of their shared past, can she let go of the old hurt and put her pride aside? Or will the pleasures of their renewed passion finally enable them both to rediscover love?

The Pleasures of Passion (Sinful Suitors #4) by Sabrina Jeffries

A note: this book has one of THE most embarrassing titles ever, with a Bold and the Beautiful cover. Don’t judge it for that!

For those who are wondering about the heroine’s name: HERE is the origin of “Brilliana”. I liked the choice because it was historically accurate AND unusual. Character names in historical romance can become repetitive, but then authors usually make the mistake of going for anachronistic choices.

I really liked this book. It uses my favourite trope: the reunion romance. It also resolved a storyline that was hinted at in the last instalment in the series.

When I review so many books I do lose track of characters. Between the last entry in the series and this one I’ve read God only knows how many books, but at least forty in the historical romance genre alone. I do wish I’d gone back and reread the scenes between Niall and Brilliana before starting this one – you don’t need to, but it adds something.

There are so many secrets and lies between hero and heroine in The Pleasures of Passion. Niall had to flee England after fighting a duel, but Brilliana wasn’t free to run away with him in that moment. Both of them being young at the time, they were easy to manipulate into thinking each had betrayed the other.

This resulted in years of separation, and Brilliana being forced into marriage to another man, a man who died in terrible circumstances a few years later.

Now, this is the sort of angst I like, especially so when it’s done by a skilled author, as Sabrina Jeffries is. I love more than any other trope an angsty reunion, and I think the drama was drawn out for just long enough.

I always worry when the terms “spy” and “fake engagement” turn up in this genre. I’m not a fan of either, and yet in this book they both worked perfectly for me. The counterfeiting storyline gave the two of them opportunities to sort through the disaster of their failed relationship, and to get over their anger.

I was also happy with Brilliana’s little son, who read as a real child, not a Romance Novel Kid.

I don’t really have any complaints. Pretty much everything in this one worked for me, and it was one of my better reads by this author. And yay for a fair-haired hero!

I will say, though: having a character called “uncle Toby” was a little distracting for me. Uncle Tobys is a breakfast cereal brand!

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.