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.

covfefe!

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!

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

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

If love is a malady, the Spinster House ladies have caught it, one by one.

Miss Jane Wilkinson couldn’t be more delighted when her two best friends marry, creating a much-desired vacancy at the Spinster House. For the first time in her twenty-eight years, Jane can be free of her annoying older brother and enjoy complete solitude—with the exception of the Spinster House cat, Poppy. If only Jane’s unruly thoughts didn’t keep drifting to handsome Alex, Earl of Evans, in the most un-spinster like ways…

Though jilted once, Alex has always intended to marry and raise a family. Now that his two closest friends have tied the knot, he is more determined than ever to find a wife. If only it wasn’t the intriguing Miss Jane Wilkinson that his heart—as well as the rest of him—desired. Not only does she appear uninterested in marriage, it’s clear she’s the managing sort. And yet, despite Alex’s fiercely independent spirit, the idea of being managed by her is quite appealing. Now if he can only convince her to give up her beloved Spinster House in favor of a far more pleasurable home—in his arms…

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

Sally MacKenzie writes fluffier Regency-era romances with engaging characters and a nod to (rather than adherence to) the manners of the era.

I think I was a little lost on the backstories of the characters in this third instalment in a series, and didn’t make the greatest effort to figure it out. This is definitely a series to follow in order to get the most out of.

I liked both hero and heroine, as anachronistic as they sometimes seemed to be. I really appreciate authors who make their characters likeable, and I always give major bonus points to a hero who WANTS to get married (especially in an era where it was an obligation to his title).

However, the discrepancy in the social status of hero and heroine made this one a hard-sell. This was not an aristocratic hero who behaved like a man of his social standing – I mean… the puppet show!

The heroine inexplicably lives totally on her own – except for a cat. This is not believable to me, especially for a woman apparently able to marry into the aristocracy. The world was different then; even people on pretty meagre incomes didn’t do everything on their own.

Hero and heroine also do a lot of touching. What makes behaviour two hundred years ago different to today is that men and women touching each other was a big deal, not something you did as a matter of course.

If you like your historical romances light, fluffy and modern, this might be more the book for you than for me.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 3rd – 9th March

 ParliamentOttawa

Canadian Parliament flies the Ukrainian flag.

My week in books? Well I read the first FOUR books in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. I want to read the rest!

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs

I started two below-good Regency romances. One of them was written by a US author who clearly couldn’t stop her far right-wing political views from bleeding through into the book. Not exactly appropriate to fill a book set in England with NRA propaganda!

So I didn’t finish either of those books.

Instead, I picked up sweeter Regency by Theresa Romain.

 Pro-Ukrainian Anti-Russian invasion protest Canberra Australia 5th March 2014 2

Pro-Ukrainian demonstrators in Canberra.

Scary week for the world. Missing aeroplane, Russia essentially declaring war on Ukraine. They’re forcing an illegal referendum on Ukraine in a few days, and there’s not a “No” option on the ballot form – they’re forcing Crimea to become part of Russia.

 Pro-Ukrainian Anti-Russian invasion protest Canberra Australia 5th March 2014 Russians taking photographs

Russian embassy staff photographing us for God only knows what reason.

We had a protest at the Russian embassy here in Canberra and were harassed by KGB-style Russian staffers. The Australian Federal Police actually told us to file a complaint against the Russian embassy. The Russians seem to think the USSR still exists – and even in Australia they treat people like that!

Naked in Death is still only $2.99

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

My review of The Returning Hero by Soraya Lane

The Returning Hero by Soraya Lane

My review of Most Eligible Sheriff by Cathy McDavid

Most Eligible Sheriff by Cathy McDavid

My review of Loving Lord Ash by Sally MacKenzie

Loving Lord Ash by Sally MacKenzie

My review of Turn Up the Heat by Kimberly Kincaid

Turn Up the Heat by Kimberly Kincaid

My review of Passionately Yours by Cara Elliott

Passionately Yours by Cara Elliott

Loving Lord Ash by Sally MacKenzie

Loving Lord Ash by Sally MacKenzie

A Little Misunderstanding…

Kit, the Marquis of Ashton, is in a sticky wicket. He married young and for love–how naïve. He discovered his mistake the very day of his wedding, but he is saddled now with a wife he’s reluctant to trust. And however much evidence he gathers against faithless Jess, he can’t seem to prove her guilt to the final judge–his foolish heart.

 

Jessica knows she’s bobbled her marriage, however innocently. A fairytale wedding makes no difference if she hasn’t got the marquis charmed to show for it. Well, she’s had enough of accidental encounters with naked gentlemen and near misses explaining things to her husband. It’s time to buck up and go win her man back–even if she has to fight very dirty indeed.

Loving Lord Ash by Sally MacKenzie

First, I must comment on the cover. The heroine of this book has black hair. Her dog is supposed to be a big, scary thing capable of hurting the hero when he stood on his foot.

Uh…

Loving Lord Ash is a wallpaper historical in the best sense of the term. It’s a romp that you will just want to keep on reading, and I loved every moment of it, but if you’re after a realistic historical romance, move straight on.

This is the third in a series. As ever, I’ve not read the earlier books. While I could tell when previous storylines were referred to, I think I did fine without knowing all the backstories.

Sally McKenzie writes well. Even as half of me was saying, This is so unrealistic!, the other half was saying, This is so much fun!

One interesting point is that not only the heroine, but also the hero is a virgin. I felt so sorry for them, both embarrassed about it, as she is twenty-eight and he thirty, and they’ve been married for years. Quite an unusual situation!

If you’re a stickler for realism, then you might have an issue with:

The heroine has violet eyes! She has no qualms about embracing naked men who aren’t her husband. Divorce is talked of like it was quite an easy and common thing to manage! Nobody has a problem with homosexuality (back then – seriously?). There’re massive coincidences and Big Misunderstandings at every turn.

On the other hand, the hero is fair-haired – not cut straight out of the regular old historical romance mould. And ARSE is spelt properly every time!

I’ve seen some early reviews for this book that were incredibly positive. If you’re someone who’s in it for the fun, then you’ll probably love it. If you prefer your heroines to be a little more historically accurate, then it might be a struggle.

Review copy provided by NetGalley.