Of One Heart (St. Briac #2) by Cynthia Wright (audiobook) – Narrated by Tim Cambell

This title may be downloaded from Audible via Amazon

A BATTLE FOR POSSESSION

… in which the beautiful young French widow Michelene Tevoulere becomes the pawn in a royal scheme involving England’s King Henry VIII and the court of France’s Francois I.

A BATTLE FOR POWER

… in which handsome young Earl of Sandhurst is betrothed against his will to the bewitching Michelen but conceives an even grander plot to outwit the kings and test both Michelene’s honor and her sensuality.

A BATTLE FOR PASSION

… in which the splendid Michelene finds the very depths of her womanhood aroused and tormented by a man her body adores but her mind resists.

Rating: Narration – B+ Content – C-

Of One Heart (originally titled A Battle for Love) is the second in Cynthia Wright’s St. Briac series and was originally published in 1986. It’s set in Paris and London in 1532/3 and charts the romance between an English Marquess and the beautiful young French widow he is ordered to marry, sight unseen. I am a big fan of the arranged marriage trope, and given I’m a bit of a Francophile to boot, I thought I’d find much here to enjoy. Sadly, however, I found a dull story that is stretched out for far too long, a couple of cardboard cut-out protagonists, a romance that isn’t particularly romantic and an ending so ridiculous that I couldn’t wait for it to be over. It’s largely thanks to the engaging performance by Tim Campbell that I was able to make it to the end without falling asleep.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

The Virgin’s War (Tudor Legacy #3) by Laura Andersen

the virgins war
This title may be purchased from Amazon.

As the Spanish Armada approaches Irish shores, Elizabeth I feels the full burden of her royal office. She must not let England fall to her former husband, King Philip of Spain. And Princess Anabel, their daughter, has yet to declare with whom her allegiance—and her support—lie.

Exiled Stephen Courtenay is in France with his brother, Kit, who has his own reasons for avoiding England. But rumblings of war, a sinister plot, and their loyalty to the crown call them home. Yet not even Pippa Courtenay, their sister, gifted with divine sight, can foresee the grave danger that awaits them all. As Queen Elizabeth commits her riches, her honor, and her people to the approaching conflict, she will risk everything—even her life—to preserve England’s freedom.

Rating:A

The Virgin’s War is the final book in Laura Andersen’s Tudor Legacy series and the sixth book to take place in the alternate Tudor timeline that she set up back in The Boleyn King, book one of her compelling Boleyn Trilogy. In that series, Anne Boleyn had given Henry VIII a son who lived to succeed him; and the current one picks up some twenty years later, with Elizabeth I having followed her brother to the throne. Mind you, this is no Virgin Queen; here, Elizabeth married – and later divorced – Philip of Spain and had a daughter by him, Anne Isabella (Anabel), Princess of Wales.

With the current vogue for books in series which also work as standalones, it can be tricky to review a book in which it is necessary to have read the others in the set without giving away too much – so there are bound to be spoilers for The Virgin’s Daughter and The Virgin’s Spy in this review.

It’s over two decades since Henry VIII’s reformation, and the political situation in England is still dominated by the religious divide between the Protestants and the Roman Catholics. Much of the action in The Virgin’s Spy takes place in Ireland, where English forces are fighting Catholic rebels who have the support of Mary, Queen of Scots. In this universe, Mary escaped from captivity in England and has subsequently married Philip of Spain, thus uniting two of the most important Catholic monarchs in Europe. Philip has had his eye on the conquest of England for some time, but in spite of the continual urging of his wife, he is prepared to wait for the right moment to invade. When news reaches him that Princess Anne and her mother have become estranged and almost openly opposed to each other, he realises that the time to strike is almost at hand. With Anne building her power-base in the north and making concerted efforts to win the hearts and minds of the people there, it seems as though there will be a royal rebellion soon, and Philip plans to take advantage of the split between mother and daughter to invade England. He knows the English will never accept him as king, but now there is Anne, young, lovely and widely beloved, who is obviously sympathetic to the Catholic cause and who, he believes will bring her country back to the true faith.

But Elizabeth and Anabel are two fiercely intelligent, politically astute women and they are playing a long game. At the suggestion of Pippa Courtenay, Anabel’s closest friend and adviser, Anabel makes the move north to Middleham Castle (Richard III’s former home and stronghold) and begins to court the approval of the region’s Catholics by recruiting two of the most high profile of them to her Council. Anabel and her mother deliberately maintain the fiction of an estrangement and take care to have little contact with each other; and over the next couple of years, they carefully orchestrate their preparations for England’s defence.

Laura Andersen has impressed me once again with her meticulous research and her talent for interweaving the threads of her alternative history so cleverly in and out of the existing tapestry of historical fact. Yet for all her skill in mapping out these momentous events, she doesn’t lose sight of the personal stories that are so closely woven through the larger political canvas. Minuette and Dominic Courtenay, Elizabeth’s oldest friends, have roles to play, as do their four children, Lucette, Stephen and the twins Kit and Pippa. Lucette’s story was told in The Virgin’s Daughter and Stephen’s in The Virgin’s Spy, but they have prominent parts here, especially Stephen, who was stripped of his titles and banished from England as a result of his actions in the previous book. Pippa is a mystic and has the gift of second sight; it’s she who sets Anabel’s plan in motion by suggesting she move north, and she who is instrumental in rallying support among the towns and villages of the region. Pippa and Kit share one of those unusual mental bonds so often found between twins, but the strain of keeping some of the things she knows from her brother is starting to weigh very heavy on Pippa and her strength is failing. Meanwhile Kit and Anabel are struggling with the depth of their feelings for each other; a princess cannot marry where she chooses and they have always known this – but with a Spanish invasion imminent, Anabel must do whatever she can to help to secure the throne.

This is a deliciously complex story that builds gradually and reaches a breathless climax that is full of both triumph and sorrow. Ms Andersen has created a set of wonderful characters for whom I came to care and whose joys and heartbreak (seriously – I cried more than once) I experienced right along with them. She does a terrific job with the characterisation of Elizabeth in particular, exploring the burden of sovereignty, her necessary isolation and how she continues to face decisions head on, no matter how difficult they may be. I enjoyed the insights into her relationship with her two closest advisors – Burleigh and Walsingham – and her long-term and sometimes uneasy friendship with Minuette Courtenay. And if, like me, you fell a little bit in love with Dominic in the first trilogy, you’ll be pleased to see him at Elizabeth’s side once more as he responds to her call to arms and takes his place as one of the nation’s most trusted and respected military leaders.

Unlike the earlier Boleyn Trilogy, however, this one ends firmly in its alternate timeline, which feels perfectly right given the struggles and personal tragedies this set of characters has endured in order to get there. Perhaps it’s a teeny bit too perfect, but by the time I reached the epilogue I really didn’t care. I was so strongly caught up in the story and the experiences of the characters had impacted upon me so viscerally that I felt they absolutely deserved the ending they got. The Virgin’s War is a splendid end to another superbly written and researched trilogy by this author, and I am eagerly awaiting whatever she comes up with next.

The Virgin’s Spy (Tudor Legacy #2) by Laura Andersen

the virgins spy

This title may be purchased from Amazon.

Queen Elizabeth I remains sovereign of England and Ireland. For the moment, at least. An Irish rebellion is growing and Catholic Spain, led by the Queen s former husband, King Philip, plans to seize advantage of the turmoil. Stephen Courtenay, eldest son of Dominic and Minuette, Elizabeth s most trusted confidantes, has accepted a command in Ireland to quell the unrest. But the task will prove dangerous in more ways than one.

The Princess of Wales, Elizabeth s daughter, Anabel, looks to play a greater role in her nation, ever mindful that there is only one Queen of England. But how is Anabel to one day rule a country when she cannot even govern her own heart?

Rating:A-

This is the second book in Laura Andersen’s Tudor Legacy series, which returns to the alternate Tudor time-line she created in her Boleyn Trilogy some twenty years or so after the events that took place in The Boleyn Reckoning

While The Virgin’s Spy CAN work as a standalone, I wouldn’t recommend picking it up if you don’t have at least a bit of background information about both series. The setting is Tudor England – but one in which Anne Boleyn gave Henry VIII a son who lived to maturity and who succeeded his father to the throne. While that trilogy ended with history “back on track” and Elizabeth I becoming Queen of England, Ms. Andersen didn’t stop there, and went on to marry Elizabeth to Philip of Spain (off-screen) for the couple to have a daughter, Anne Isabella (Anabel), and then get divorced.

My admiration for the way the author interweaves actual historical events and personages with her alternative events and fictional characters is undimmed; anyone with some knowledge of the period will recognise familiar situations, some of which play out as they actually did, and some which take off in another – equally plausible – direction. The political intrigues and machinations are superbly described – these are the sorts of books you need to concentrate on, although that’s no hardship because they’re so compelling – and the characterisation of Elizabeth, in particular, is superb. Ms. Andersen gets to the heart of what it means to rule and how difficult it can sometimes be; she shows how isolated Elizabeth really is by virtue of her position; how difficult it is to strike a balance between doing something for the good of the realm and doing something she knows to be right. The reader really gets a sense of how the difficult decisions affect Elizabeth and how torn she can be.

The other principal characters in this series are the four Courtenay siblings, the two sons and two daughters of Dominic and Minuette Courtenay, Duke and Duchess of Exeter. Following the events of the previous trilogy, the Courtenays live quietly and mostly away from court, even though their rank and friendship with the queen places them among the highest in the land.

In the previous book in the series, The Virgin’s Daughter we followed Lucette, the eldest of the siblings as she travelled to France at Elizabeth’s bidding and got caught up in a desperate feud between the two Le Clerc brothers, one of whom she eventually married. The focus in The Virgin’s Spy turns to the Catholic rebellion in Ireland and to Stephen, the Courtenay’s eldest son and heir. Stephen is twenty-one and his considered level-headedness has often seen him compared to his formidable father, a man whose quiet dignity belies a sharp mind, an unbending sense of honour and leadership qualities that are second to none. But although he doesn’t show it, the constant comparisons are wearing, and Stephen is eager to step out from under his father’s shadow and make a name for being something other than the son of the great Dominic Courtenay.

He gets his chance when he is sent to Ireland to in order to reinforce the English troops engaged in fighting the Catholic rebels. His commanding officer, the Earl of Ormond, is an experienced and pragmatic man Stephen finds he can respect. Not so Captain Oliver Dane, who is brutal, uncompromising and without conscience, as Stephen discovers when Dane orders the slaughter of Irish prisoners after an English victory. Stephen is furious and disgusted at such an act and can’t help speaking out against Dane’s orders, something which marks him for trouble and earns Dane’s implacable enmity. Following a raid on his camp, Stephen is badly wounded and is brought home to recover, but his mind is more severely injured than his body and it is some time before he can let go of his rage for long enough to be able to coldly plan his vengeance. But to gain that, he needs to return to Ireland – and to do so, he must make a bargain with Walsingham, Elizabeth’s spymaster, and infiltrate one of the principal rebel strongholds.

It’s a decision which is going to profoundly change the course of his life, but from which there is no going back.

Ms. Andersen does a great job in balancing the personal stories of the Courtenays, Elizabeth and Anabel against the bigger picture of the highly volatile political situation. Mary Stuart, formerly Queen of Scots and now married to Philip of Spain, wants Spain to join forces with their Irish Catholic brethren against the English oppressors, and war is inevitable. It’s just a question of when it’s going to happen and how long Elizabeth has to prepare for it.

The relationship between the queen and her heir is very well drawn; Anabel is as keenly intelligent and politically astute as her mother, but she also has to face difficult choices in her personal life. A princess cannot afford to love where she chooses, and her growing attachment to Kit Courtenay can’t be allowed to interfere with the need for her to make a matrimonial alliance with France or Scotland. Kit’s twin sister, Pippa, who is Anabel’s closest friend and adviser, is also struggling with her feelings for Matthew Harrington (the son of their father’s oldest servant and friend) as well as to bear the burden placed upon her by the ‘gift’ which enables her to gain insight into the future. I particularly enjoyed seeing Kit come into his own in this book. Before, he was characterised as a charming, devil-may-care type who made people laugh and whom nobody took seriously. But now, he’s growing up and finding his identity apart from his father and the older brother he idolises but can’t help resenting. Dominic and Minuette have roles to play, too, and I enjoyed meeting them again. They are parents of grown children, yet it’s clear that they are still as devoted and in love as ever they were as they try to reconcile their desire to stay out of the spotlight with their strong sense of duty.

There are several different storylines being pursued here, some of which end with the book and some which will no doubt be concluded in the following one, The Virgin’s War. Ms Andersen has once again crafted a compelling, fast-moving and complex story and peopled it with a set of principal characters it’s easy to care about and root for. The Virgin’s Spy is a terrific read and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction but is in the mood for something a little different.

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All About Romance: My Favourite Reads of 2015

I still haven’t found the time to put together a post of my favourite books from last year or to update my reading challenge post. I really want to do it and fully intend to, but for now, here’s the post I wrote for All About Romance listing my Top Ten Books of 2015.

2015 top 10I both love and hate these sorts of round-ups. On the one hand, I like to look back over my reading year and see what I’ve enjoyed (and try to forget what I didn’t!) but on the other, narrowing it down to a “best of” can be difficult if one has had a good reading year, something I count myself fortunate to have had in 2015.

Looking back through my reviews of books published, I’ve given one A+ (my only one in the almost three years I’ve been reviewing for AAR), which went to K.J Charles’ A Seditious Affair, which is also my top pick of the year. I’ve given 5 A grades and 13 A- grades, so my choices have come from that group and also include a couple of titles I didn’t review at AAR. In no particular order, then, my choices are:

 

 

You can read about the rest of my choices at All About Romance.

Watch the Lady by Elizabeth Freemantle (audiobook) – Narrated by Georgina Sutton and Roy McMillan

watch the lady audio

The daughter of the Queen’s nemesis, Penelope Devereux, arrives at court blithely unaware of its pitfalls and finds herself in love with one man, yet married off to another. Bestowed with beauty and charm she and her brother, The Earl of Essex, are drawn quickly into the aging Queen’s favour. But Penelope is saddled with a husband who loathes her and chooses to strike out, risking her reputation to seek satisfaction elsewhere. But life at the heart of the court is not only characterised by the highs and lows of romance, there are formidable factions at work who would like to see the Devereux family brought down. It seems The Earl of Essex can do no wrong in the eyes of the Queen but as his influence grows so his enemies gather and it is Penelope who must draw on all her political savvy to prevent the unthinkable from happening.

Told from the perspective of Penelope and her brother’s greatest enemy the politician Cecil, this story, wrought with love, hatred and envy, unfolds over two decades in which we see the last gasps of Elizabeth’s reign, and the deadly scramble for power in a dying dynasty.

This audiobook can be purchased from Audible via Amazon

Rating: A-/B for narration; B+ for content

Watch the Lady is a fascinating piece of historical fiction based on the life of Lady Penelope Rich, the sister of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. Penelope is widely believed to have been the inspiration for Sir Philip Sydney’s famous sonnet sequence, Astrophel and Stella; and her life was an unconventional one, to say the very least. She was beautiful, possessed of a fine mind, took a keen interest in politics and, for a woman of the time, was able to live life on her own terms, sustaining a long-term relationship with a man to whom she was not married while at the same time retaining the favour of the queen, who was not a woman tolerant of any sort of impropriety among her ladies.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals.

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The Virgin’s Daughter (Tudor Legacy #1) by Laura Andersen

the virgin's daughter

Since the death of her brother, William, Elizabeth I has ruled England. She’s made the necessary alliances, married Philip of Spain, and produced a successor: her only daughter, Anne Isabella, Princess of Wales. Elizabeth knows that her beloved Anabel will be a political pawn across Europe unless she can convince Philip to grant her a divorce, freeing him to remarry and give Spain its own heir. But the enemies of England have even greater plans for the princess, a plot that will put Anabel’s very life and the security of the nation in peril. Only those closest to Elizabeth—her longtime confidante Minuette, her advisor and friend Dominic, and the couple’s grown children—can be trusted to carry forth a most delicate and dangerous mission. Yet, all of the queen’s maneuverings may ultimately prove her undoing.

Rating: A-

I have always enjoyed reading historical fiction, but I tend to stick to books about “actual” history – so when Laura Andersen’s The Boleyn King came out a few years ago, with a storyline based on the premise – “what if Anne Boleyn had given Henry VIII a son?” I was sceptical, and didn’t pick it up immediately. Eventually, however, curiosity won out, and I’m glad it did, because if it hadn’t, I’d have missed out on what have been some of my favourite books of the past few years. I reviewed the final book in the Boleyn TrilogyThe Boleyn Reckoning last year, knowing that Ms Andersen’s next venture would be a series of books featuring the daughter of Elizabeth I.

So yes, The Virgin’s Daughter takes place in another alternate Tudor timeline, this time one in which Elizabeth actually married Philip of Spain and had a daughter by him. The book takes place some twenty years after the events of The Boleyn Reckoning; Elizabeth’s daughter, Anne Isabella, is eighteen years old and in full possession of the famed Tudor temper and her mother’s – and grandmother’s – cleverness and guile, and the queen and her Spanish husband have long been estranged and are about to divorce.

While it’s not absolutely necessary to have read the Boleyn Trilogy in order to appreciate this story, I do think potential readers would benefit from having a knowledge of the events that took place in those books and a familiarity with the principal characters – especially Dominic and Menuette Courtenay, whose daughter Lucette is the principal protagonist in The Virgin’s Daughter.

At the beginning of the book, Elizabeth summons Lucette and asks her to undertake a particularly difficult and delicate mission, which will require her to travel to the French estate of the LeClerc family. The LeClercs and the Courtenays are very close; Renaud LeClerc is one of Dominic’s closest friends and it was he who provided shelter to Menuette when she fled the late king’s wrath, and it is at his family home of Blanclair that Lucette was born.

Elizabeth’s wily spymaster, Francis Walsingham, has reason to suspect that one of the LeClerc men – Renaud or one of his sons, Nicholas and Julien – is the brains behind the Nightingale plot, which aims to free Mary Queen of Scots from English custody. Elizabeth wants Lucette to visit the family on the pretext of being interested in marrying either of the LeClerc sons, and to try to find out who is behind the plot. Lucette is both wary and intrigued. She has known the LeClercs all her life so the idea that one or more of them could be working against Elizabeth is abhorrent to her – yet she is restless in England and is willing to go to France, even though she knows her mother and Dominic are likely to be less than enthusiastic.

Once there, she renews her acquaintance with Nicolas, with whom she’d been dreadfully infatuated as a child, and his younger brother Julien, whom she had always found rude and dismissive and had never liked. It’s not long before she realises that both brothers are keeping secrets – but which one is the traitor and which one can she trust? Nicolas, now a widower with a young son, is as handsome and amiable as he ever was, but Julien, reputed to be a rake of the first order, clearly deeply troubled and who hasn’t been home in eight years is the man to whom Lucette is inexorably drawn.

I’m not going to spoil the plot, which is enjoyably complex without being confusing, and will just say that I loved all the background detail, the intrigue and the skilful way in which Ms Andersen weaves her various plot strands together. I was particularly invested in the gradual revelation of the truth that lies behind the LeClerc brothers’ tortuous, complicated relationship, and how it ultimately plunges both Lucette and the Princess Anne into a dangerous game of treachery and deception.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Virgin’s Daughter, which grabbed me from the first page and quickly became a book I couldn’t put down. The amount of research that has gone into the story is evident, because the majority of the historical figures who appear in the story actually lived and many of the events described actually happened; and it’s sometimes difficult to tell fact from fiction. It takes a great deal of knowledge and skill to “get it wrong” in such a way as to be completely believable and the author does just that in a very readable and captivating manner.

The main plotline is well executed, but I also very much enjoyed the Courtenay’s familial relationships and found the complicated relationship between Elizabeth and her daughter to be very plausible; two very strong-willed, clever women, both knowing that they hold the fate of a kingdom in their hands are never going to be completely easy in one another’s company.

The romance between Lucette and one of the LeClerc brothers plays a large part in the story, although it’s not the main focus. It does seem to spring into being almost fully-formed, but there is a depth of feeling from both characters that makes it work within the larger context of the story.

As this is an ongoing series, there are plotlines left to be wrapped up in the following books. This one ends with an almighty cliffhanger, which left me with a big smile on my face (at Ms Andersen’s audacity!) and I’m eagerly awaiting the next in the series this autumn.

A 2014 Retrospective

I was going to write a “favourite books of 2014” or “best books of 2014” post or something of that nature, but then realised that I’ve written and contributed to a number of those, so I’m doing something different here.

cat_asleep_on_bookSo instead, I’m stealing an idea from the lovely Wendy the Super Librarian and have been looking through my Goodreads Stats to see how my ratings panned out across the year. Because I review a large number of new and current releases, the majority of the books I read in 2014 were published in 2014, but I managed to squeeze in a few others. And because Goodreads counts print/ebooks and audiobooks of the same title as two different books, while my total for the year was 231, it’s probably closer to 180 different books.

Looking through my stats (and if I’ve counted correctly!) the majority of my reading and listening fell within the 4/5 star bracket, which is pretty good going.

I gave 34 books and 19 audiobooks 5 stars (some will have been 4.5 stars rounded up) A/A-
I gave 63 books and 32 audiobooks 4 stars (some will have been 4.5 stars rounded down) B+/B
I gave 43 books and 15 audiobooks 3 stars (some will have been 3.5 stars rounded down) B-/C+/C
I gave 14 books and 2 audiobooks 2 stars C-/D+/D
I gave 3 books and two audiobooks 1 star (one of the books was a DNF, as was one of the audiobooks, because the narration was utterly dire.)

Putting together the list of books to which I gave a 5 star/A rating, it’s interesting to see that I’ve rated as many audio books at that level as I have printed books. Obviously, when rating an audiobook, I take the narration into account too – and if you look closely, you’ll see there are three names that crop up repeatedly as the narrators on those audiobooks; Nicholas Boulton, Rosalyn Landor and Kate Reading, who are, quite simply, three of the best narrators around when it comes to historical romance. In many cases, these are audiobooks where I may have rated the story at a A- or B+, but the narration is so good that the overall rating is bumped up. Of course, even the best narrator can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, so even in those audios where the story isn’t quite at the five star level, it’s not going to be a dud!

The reviews are linked to the titles below the images.

5 star books:

 


Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh
Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne
Douglas: Lord of Heartache by Grace Burrowes
The Captive and The Traitor by Grace Burrowes
Prospero’s Daughter by Nancy Butler
Vixen in Velvet by Loretta Chase
At Your Pleasure by Meredith Duran
Fool Me Twice by Meredith Duran
Mr (Not Quite) Perfect by Jessica Hart
Marrying the Royal Marine by Carla Kelly
Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean
The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan
The King’s Falcon by Stella Riley
It Takes Two to Tangle by Theresa Romain
Shadow Lover by Anne Stuart
The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas

5 star Audiobooks:


The Escape by Mary Balogh & Rosalyn Landor
The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne & Kirsten Potter
The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne & Kirsten Potter
Captives of the Night by Loretta Chase & Kate Reading
Lord of Scoundrels Loretta Chase & Kate Reading
Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase & Kate Reading
A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare & Carolyn Morris
Arabella by Georgette Heyer & Phyllida Nash
The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer & Georgina Sutton
The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer & Daniel Philpott
Venetia by Georgette Heyer & Phillida Nash
The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale & Nicholas Boulton
Uncertain Magic by Laura Kinsale & Nicholas Boulton
The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan & Rosalyn Landor
The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan & Rosalyn Landor
It Takes Two to Tangle by Theresa Romain & Michelle Ford
Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James & Mary Jane Wells
His at Night by Sherry Thomas & Kate Reading<
The Mask of the Midnight Manzanilla by Lauren Willig & Kate Reading

Honourable Mentions:

– go to books and audios I’ve rated at 4.5 stars/A-/B+, but which I’ve rounded up to five because while there might have been something that niggled at me, it was a damn good book and felt closer to 5 stars than 4. Or just a book that, despite a few flaws, I really enjoyed.


The Boleyn Reckoning by Laura Andersen
The Laird by Grace Burrowes
The MacGregor’s Lady by Grace Burrowes & Roger Hampton
Scandal Wears Satin by Loretta Chase & Kate Reading
Firelight by Kristen Callihan & Moira Quirk
When the Duke Was Wicked by Lorraine Heath
The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber
Three Weeks with Lady X by Eloisa James
Strangers at the Altar by Marguerite Kaye
Sweet Disorder by Rose Lerner
It Takes a Scandal by Caroline Linden
Till We Next Meet by Karen Ranney
Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn
The Devil’s Waltz by Anne Stuart
The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

I think it’s fair to say I had a pretty good year, reading-wise, with a high proportion of books I’d describe as good or better, and not too many “meh” or dire ones. (Although where would we be without the odd turkey to snark about?)

The first crop of 2015 releases looks promising; I’m taking part in a few challenges next year as well, which I’ll post about soon so I can keep track and I’m looking forward to my next year of reading, listening and reviewing.

How did you do last year?