Only Enchanting

I love romance and this book has it in spades, do not think it is all flowery language and no substance though, it is a fantastic book and I cannot recommend it enough – the best of the series so far.

 Flavian, Viscount Ponsenby, was devastated by his fiancee’s desertion after his return home. Now the woman who broke his heart is back- and everyone is eager that they revive their engagement. Except Flavian, who in a panic, runs straight into the arms of the nearest young woman.

Agnes Keeping has never been in love and never wishes to be. But then she meets the charismatic Flavian, and suddenly Agnes falls so foolishly and so deeply that she agrees to his impetuous proposal of marriage.

But what will happen when she discovers the real reason he married her?

This is the next instalment of the fabulous “Survivors Club” by Mary Balogh and this offering does not disappoint. Flavian, with his stutter and gaps in his memory, is definitely an easy man to fall in love with and I would happily have taken him home myself! His memories are locked away, what he does remember doesn’t make sense but with Agnes he feels safe and that is exactly what he said to her when proposing “because I want to be safe with you.”

Agnes is a widow who suddenly finds herself dealing with feelings she never knew existed with a man she does not fully understand. At sixes and sevens, she gets more confused when they go to London but that is where the fun begins. It soon becomes clear that Agnes is not going to go down quietly. I love her and her compassion, as well as the fact she refuses to be cowed by society.

A large part of the story takes part during the annual survivors club gathering so we were able to catch up with previous characters – always something I love. As with the other stories in this series the writing is very powerful and emotive, and I feel Mary Balogh’s writing really captures how I would imagine the characters to be feeling, so it is very easy to get pulled into the story.

I love romance and this book has it in spades, do not think it is all flowery language and no substance though, it is a fantastic book and I cannot recommend it enough – the best of the series so far. You do not need to read the others in the set first but I am sure once you read this one you will want to.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Mary Balogh
  • Series: Survivors Club (4)
  • Format: Paperback
  • Publisher: Piatkus
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

The Arrangement

 Blinded by a cannon blast on the Napoleonic battlefields. Vincent Hunt, Lord Darleigh, needs to escape the well-meaning, meddling – and matchmaking – of his family. Luckily, he is saved by a stranger, a lady with a captivating voice. When Miss Sophia Fry’s intervention on his behalf finds her unceremoniously booted from her guardian’s home, there seems only one solution…

This is the second book in the Survivors Club series but can easily be read as a stand alone. Vincent is so young compared to the usual heroes from this period yet seems so much older than his years due to what he had to endure. He is very much wounded on the outside and Sophia, in her own way, is wounded on the inside.

Circumstances throw them together and this story is about their developing relationship rather than any major angst, murder or mayhem. It is all about the romance. Yes there are misunderstandings, but nothing that made me throw my hands up in frustration! Ms. Balogh manages to weave a story that holds the attention without the dramatics.

Despite being blind Vincent is confident in himself (well mostly anyway), while Sophia in complete contrast is suffering from a severe lack of self esteem. Together they manage to bring out the best in each other and the character development is a key part of the story. I love the romance of the story and the characters are perfect for each other.

In summary, a very well written story that focuses on the characters and the way they evolve and develop as they heal each other. A great romantic read.

Book Information
  • Author: Mary Balogh
  • Series: Survivor's Club (2)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Our Week in Books – Week 27, 2013

 Tracey

This week I read six books – in no particular order.

I read a couple more of the In Death series by J.D. Robb – Vengeance in Death and Holiday in Death. Both excellent books and each rated at 4.5 stars. I highly recommend reading this series if you are a fan of detective stories with a good dollop of romance. As the series goes on there is still romance but definitely much less than in the first couple of books.  Surprisingly for me, I don’t mind! The romance that’s there is great but the stories themselves are really good.

I finished off Key of Valor by Nora Roberts and again really enjoyed that, the Key Trilogy comes to an end with this book. You definitely need to read the series in order however, as they do follow on almost seamlessly.

I also read three historical romances this week – the first was More Than a Mistress by Mary Balogh. I find Ms. Balogh’s books very romantic and they always manage to elicit a very satisfied sigh at the end and this one is no exception – 4 stars.

I last two were Mills & Boon books by Helen Dickson – A Question of Marriage and The Wedding Wager. I loved both of these regency era romances with very feisty heroines and would give them both 4 stars.

So there you have it, a nice healthy dose of romance for me this week – nothing new there then!

 Grete

I’m still caught up in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire but sadly I’m almost finished with the available books.  I finished A Feast For Crows, moved swiftly on to A Dance With Dragons Part 1: Dreams and Dust and am now reading A Dance With Dragons Part 2: After The Feast.  I don’t think I am going to know what to do with myself but will be avidly for news of when Winds of Winter will be released!

That’s all from me this week, happy reading!


Our Week in Books is a regular blog post from Tracey and Grete, catching up on everything they’ve read recently.

Our Week In Books – Week 13, 2013

TraceyTracey

This week I found myself unable to let go of the Cynsters quite yet, so started with another couple of books which I enjoyed immensely.  The Perfect Lover and The Ideal Bride both get 4 stars from me.

I then decided to move on from the Cynsters but stayed with the historical romance genre and picked up The Devil’s Web by Mary Balogh. Usually I absolutely love Ms. Balogh’s books, but for some reason I found myself not liking the protagonists very much and as a result my enjoyment of the book was affected. I felt James was totally self-centred and selfish rather than as tortured as I think he was meant to come across, and Madeleine was just not likeable. The story however was okay and I would give it 2.5 stars. It was a much darker romance than I am used to so if you are not really into the hearts and flowers type romances, you may enjoy this one more. There were some very intense and emotional scenes especially towards the end when they accept their love for each other.

A Night of No Return by Sarah Morgan was my next pick, a solid romance designed to make you feel warm and fuzzy (which of course it did). Sarah Morgan is probably my favourite Mills and Boon author, I always feel happy after reading her books even though she usually manages to make me cry at some point, and this book was no exception! 4 stars.

Then what should pop through my door except Lover at Last – well no prizes for guessing what my next book was.  I very quickly finished it and loved it, this series is showing no sign of fading. Watch out for a joint review later this week.

Until next time!

P1030285Grete

Yes, it’s time I finally joined in on this weekly blog post and while I’m not the demon speed reader Tracey is, I have been getting through some of the books I have badly wanted to.  My week has also been weirdly spaced out with my husband being on holiday although he has been enjoying some quality time with the xbox which has left me free to read.  I do confess I was caught up in some games too so it’s not ALL been reading *blush*.

With the final book of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson) being released at the start of the year, I really wanted to catch up on the last four or five books, finish the series and find out how it all ended.  My memory for books just isn’t what it used to be so that means it’s re-read time!  I finished Book One, The Eye of the World, and was honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  I remember it being good but as I first read it in 1992 and a lifetime ago I wondered if it would stand up to today’s fantasy.  I will do a review for it soon as older books need love too.

A Graphic Novel came next – Dragon Age: Those Who Speak by David Gaider, Alexander Freed and Chad Hardin.  This is the collected sequel to Dragon Age: The Silent Grove and continues the story of Alistair, Isabella and Varric.  Just as good as the first one and a solid 4 stars.

Lover At Last by J.R. Ward arrived and I was so excited to read it!  I have been waiting for Blay and Qhuinn’s story for ages and it did not disappoint.  I couldn’t put it down and loved it SO much!  As Tracey said, our joint review will be up this week 🙂

I’m now reading The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan, Book Two of The Wheel of Time and it is pretty good so far.

That’s it from me, see you next week!


Our Week in Books is a regular blog post from Tracey and Grete, catching up on everything they’ve read recently.

Tracey’s Week in Books – Week 10, 2013

 This week started with me finishing off Serpent’s Kiss by Thea Harrison, another good book and a worthy addition to the series – check out my full review here.

Next I plucked Simply Magic by Mary Balogh out of my book pile and the title says it all! I really enjoy this author’s work, her premise is usually quite simple, very romantic and so well written. There were a couple of things I felt were left hanging without being resolved properly but a definite 4 star book for me and I totally fell in love with the hero myself, at numerous points in the story. This is the third in a series but I do not feel I missed out by not reading the others first.

My next book was by a new author for me – One Deadly Sin by Annie Solomon and I would only give this 2.5 stars. I hated the heroine and could not really put my finger on why, but I didn’t warm up to her at all and the hero also didn’t do much for me either! I nearly gave up half way through but the suspense plot kept me reading and the last quarter of the book picked up pace leading to a very unexpected ending. So 2.5 stars because the plot was good but no higher because I didn’t like the protagonists.

Shadow dance by Susan Anderson was up next. This was a good book and I’m giving it 4.5 stars. This is one of her earliest books and is a romantic suspense. I absolutely loved loved loved the hero and the build up between him and Amanda. There was a good suspense plot going on but for me the interaction between the protagonists was the highlight.

How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn was my next book – This was brilliant, and a 5 star review is coming soon. I completely adored the story and the protagonists.

That concludes my reading for this week, haven’t decided what to start next – all will be revealed next week!


Tracey’s Week in Books is a regular blog post from Tracey, catching up on everything she’s read recently.

 

The Proposal by Mary Balogh

A reluctant war hero, Hugo comes from a wealthy middle class family becoming a Lord by virtue of heroic acts in the Napoleonic Wars. He has a chip on his shoulder the size of a mountain, particularly towards the upper class members of society – excluding his best friends of course. They call themselves the Survivors Club and look forward to their reunion once a year where they can reflect and renew friendships.

Lady Gwendoline Muir lost her husband to a freak accident and has a permanent limp from a riding accident. She has had no desire to remarry, being content with her life and her extended family. While visiting an acquaintance, circumstances conspire to have her at the house where Hugo and his friends are staying.

Tracey’s review

What a fantastic book, this is historical romance at its very best in my opinion.

Hugo is  a scowling hero, he rarely smiles in the book but when he did it made my heart go a-flutter – it probably wouldn’t have happened if he scowled less and smiled more and the author describes him so well I could see it very clearly. I really enjoyed the fact that Hugo came from a different background to the usual in these books and I so wanted to give him a big hug and make it all better. I do feel at times he could have been a bit more masterful and less ‘woe is me’ and there was one instance when I wanted him to turn round and hit someone. At the end of the day though it did all fit in with his uneasiness at not being being part of the ton by birth and his survivor’s guilt.

As a widow in her 30’s Gwendoline knows her own mind and has been around the ton long enough to be able to steer Hugo and his sister as appropriate. It was interesting to see the heroine being a sponsor at a ton ball instead of the one being swept off her feet. It makes a change for the female to be the self assured one and not the male.

This book is very romantic, but at no point did the story become boring or too mushy. The descriptions were excellent and it was good to see how the other half live in the regency period, not just the ton. The love affair was not all plain sailing of course – it never is, but the difficulties and problems seemed very real and true to the period in history. Unlike a lot of similar books the relationship was a  slow burn rather than from hello to sex in no time at all! At the end of the book I had that satisfying warm fuzzy feeling I so love.

The prose, description and sheer romance of this book are fantastic and I look forward to more books about the ‘Survivors Club’.

This is only the second book by this author I have read but I am definitely looking forward to more and I think I have a large back catalogue to catch up on!

Grete’s Review

I’m a relative newcomer to historical or regency romance, having been persuaded to try it by Tracey.  I’ve loved the authors I’ve tried so far and this is the first book by Mary Balogh I’ve read.  It had a bit more of a formal tone to the writing than I expected but it’s not a bad thing, just different from some of the other authors.  It did take me a little while to get into it but once I’d warmed to the characters, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down.

Like Tracey, I loved seeing two sides of the regency period, both upper and middle class, and how they stay separate and view each other and then what happens when they mix.  The catalyst for the successful blend is definitely Gwen who is a wonderful character and as wounded in her heart as the members of the Survivors Club.  I love that it didn’t make her bitter and resentful, instead she was sweet and generous with a brilliant touch of humour.

Hugo, poor man has been to hell and back and again, I can only agree with Tracey on his rare smiles.  They were used to brilliant effect by Mary Balogh and had a lot of impact when they appeared.

I liked the build up of the romance, that first passionate encounter was really well timed and the following ‘will they, won’t they’ added a lot of tension but wasn’t frustrating in the least.

This is definitely not a book filled with clever plot twists and turns and in all honesty, it would have ruined it, had it been.  It is simply pure passionate and wonderful romance at its best.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Mary Balogh
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Slightly Married

A dying man’s plea on a battlefield in France and a solemn vow made in payment of a debt leads Colonel Lord Aiden Bedwyn to Ringwood manor and Miss Eve Morris. Realising the extent of her plight Lord Aiden offers her a marriage based on pure convenience intending to leave her alone to live her life. He reckoned without his brother the Duke of Bewcastle!

This is a story by an author I have never read before and I absolutely loved it. It seemed to have a much sounder historical basis than the usual regency romances I read (but in reality I do not know that much about the period!) and the behaviour of Aiden and Eve seemed much more what you would expect of individuals in this time period.

The descriptions within the book were rich and easy to picture without being over the top. There was not as much sex as in some other regency books – but there was some and what there was, was enough for the story!  While there was no major plot, action or adventure running alongside the relationship between the two protagonists,  the story had me completely captivated throughout. Don’t get me wrong, a lot happens and it was plenty to keep the story moving.

It was very much about introducing the Bedwyn family as well and I understand the other siblings (there are a few – yay lots of books) will be getting their own stories also. I look forward to finding out more about them and cannot wait to read more books by this author.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Mary Balogh
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)