Tag Archives: Georgette Heyer

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed That Weren’t My Typical Read

TTT 1.0

For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new theme and everyone is invited to join in! (Note: all book cover images in this post link to that book’s Goodreads page.)

Today’s Theme: Ten Books I Enjoyed That Weren’t My Typical Genre

This week’s theme was really hard for me, and if I weren’t already making an effort to read more broadly, this would be a serious kick in the pants for me! I had to cheat a lot with this list, and most of my “atypical” genres aren’t really all that atypical – most of them are just romance sub-genres I tend to avoid. That being said, most of the ways I want to expand my reading focus on exploring different cultures and perspectives rather than genres, and I’m okay with that, at least for now. So with that out of the way, here are my top ten!

Young Adult

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)  Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers, #1)  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda  The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Science Fiction is one genre that I feel like I should love, but I can rarely get into. I definitely did not have that problem with Illuminae. The fascinating format and action-packed plot kept me racing through the story and I finished it in a couple sittings!

Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron – I’ve reviewed both this book and it’s sequel, so you may have seen them on here before. It’s genre-nonconformity makes this series hard to describe to others, and I was initially hesitant to pick it up, but I’m so glad I did!

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – I can be a little wary of YA Contemporary, but more than that, I almost never read books from the perspective of one male main character. This is definitely something I’d like to change!

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – I adored this book, and retellings/YA romance aren’t exactly a stretch for me. I’m including this one because it’s also a more diverse YA novel, taking place in historical Persia and having been written by a woman with a mixed-race heritage. We absolutely need more diverse perspectives!

Adult

Venetia  Fortune's Pawn (Paradox, #1)  Hard to Be Good (Hard Ink, #3.5)  A Spear of Summer Grass  Silver Lining

Venetia by Georgette Heyer – I usually shy away from purely historical romances, despite being a lover of Jane Austen. This is largely because I often run into historically accurate context (like discrimination and xenophobia) that detract from my enjoyment of the romance. I didn’t encounter that in Venetia, though it does crop up occasionally in other Heyer novels.

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach – Here’s another Sci Fi! Just like I mentioned with Illuminae, this one was seriously action-packed, and it sucked me into the story.

Hard To Be Good by Laura Kaye – This novella was my first M/M romance, and I loved it 🙂 I was already a big fan of Kaye’s work, so I was more than willing to step out of my box for this one. It’s a good thing, too, because I discovered a new sub-genre to enjoy!

A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn – Here’s another Historical Romance. This one did have a couple cringe-worthy historical scenarios, but the African setting was vibrant and engaging, and the story was fascinating.

Silver Lining by Maggie Osborne – I have to admit, I only picked this American western historical romance up because it was a book club pick. I won’t be reaching out for the genre again any time soon, but I can say that Silver Lining made me laugh, and I’m really glad I gave it a shot.

Top of my TBR

Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor – For my tenth pick, I’m going with another diverse book that’s on the top of my TBR pile! This is a YA Fantasy taking place in Nigeria, and the blerb sounds fantastic 😀

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Which books shook things up for you? Link your own Top Ten Tuesday in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: This Year’s New-To-Me Favorite Authors

TTT 1.0

For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new theme and everyone is invited to join in! (Note: all book cover images in this post link to that book’s Goodreads page.)

Today’s Theme: Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015

I read so many great books this year. Here are 10 of my favorite new-to-me authors:

Young Adult:

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda  Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)  Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)  Carry On  Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers, #1)

Becky AlbertalliSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – After reading Simon, I am anxiously awaiting anything else Albertalli decides to publish.

Sarah J. MaasThrone of Glass and ACOTAR – I’m still not caught up in the Throne of Glass series, but mostly because I want to savor it. I fell in love with Maas’ fantasy writing this year.

Stephanie PerkinsAnna and the French Kiss trilogy – Because Étienne in Paris, Cricket in San Francisco, and Josh in New York…

Rainbow RowellFangirl and Carry On – I don’t think I will ever get over how much I loved Carry On. I’m sensing many more Rowell books in my future.

Rachel Aaron/Rachel BachNice Dragons Finish Last and the Paradox trilogy (Adult) – So far I’ve loved both her adult and her young adult work. Here’s hoping for more impending releases!

Adult:

Hearts in Darkness (Hearts in Darkness, #1)  The Kraken King (Iron Seas, #4)  Venetia  Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1)  Shadows Strike (Immortal Guardians, #6)

Laura KayeHearts in Darkness and the Hard Ink series – I will forever be indebted to Romance Novels for the Beach for convincing me to try to Laura Kaye’s work.

Meljean Brook Iron Seas series – Brook is my favorite Steampunk author, and I can’t wait for the Blacksmith’s story!

Georgette HeyerVenetia and Faro’s Daughter – I was REALLY late to the Georgette Heyer party, but I’m really glad I found another author to fill my Jane Austen cravings.

Jeaniene Frost – The Night Huntress and Night Prince series’ – I read a whopping 14 books by Frost this year, and I can’t wait for The Sweetest Burn to come out next March.

Dianne Duvall Immortal Guardians series – Duvall became one of my go to authors this year, especially when I’m in the mood for characters that are both kick ass and kind-hearted.

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Who are some of your own “new” favorites? Link your TTT in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Syllabus If I Taught “Kickass Heroines 101”

TTT 1.0

For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new theme and everyone is invited to join in! (Note: all book cover images in this post link to that book’s Goodreads page.)

Today’s Theme: Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101

I’m a day late on this one, but better late than never! It took me forever to figure out which theoretical class I was going to teach because my interests within the romance genre are pretty broad. I finally settled on one common thread that links together so many of the books I love: the Kickass Heroine. She’s compelling, capable, and intelligent – not to mention a force to be reckoned with – and she can be found in any genre! To that effect, I tried to come up with a well-rounded “syllabus” that includes a variety of genres and different incarnations of “kickass.”

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)  Grim Shadows (Roaring Twenties, #2)  Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1)  Venetia

Celaena – Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas – (YA Fantasy) Starting the list with a bang, Celaena is both deadly and cunning. For fans of YA fantasy with a hefty does of assassins and political intrigue, this is a must read! (Here’s a link to my review of book one.)

Hadley Bacall – Grim Shadows by Jenn Bennett – (Historical – Roaring Twenties) One of the foremost experts on macabre artifacts, Hadley is sharp as a tack and has spent most of her life in museums. When an ancient Egyptian curse brings her out into a world more suited to Indiana Jones, raucous adventures ensue 🙂 (Here’s a link to my review.)

Cat Crawford – Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost – (Paranormal) Cat is the ultimate vampire hunter. I love this series because it spans a decade or so of her life, and you really get to watch her grow, both emotionally and as a force of nature. If you’re a fan of darker vampire stories, you should definitely give this one a try.

Venetia Lanyon – Venetia by Georgette Heyer – (Historical – Regency) Heyer has written so many wonderful heroines, but of those I’ve read so far, Venetia is my favorite. She’s witty, honest, a bit sheltered from the world, and not afraid to go for what she wants in life. (Here’s a link to my review.)

Die for Me (Revenants, #1)  Riveted (Iron Seas, #3)  Fortune's Pawn (Paradox, #1)

Kate Mercier – Revenants Trilogy by Amy Plum – (YA Paranormal) I’ve mentioned this series on my blog several times now, and it’s because I just can’t get enough of it. Kate is loyal, intelligent, hard-working, compassionate, and the list goes on and on. (Here’s a link to my review of book one.)

Annika Fridasdotter – Riveted by Meljean Brook – (Steampunk) Annika stands out on this list, because there are plenty of things she doesn’t excel at (most of which involve social interactions), but she is so loving and open. It’s refreshing to read about a character who isn’t weighed down by social constructs and takes risks most of us would be terrified of. (Here’s a link to my review.)

Devi Morris – Paradox Trilogy by Rachel Bach – (Science Fiction) Devi is another warrior heroine. Her goal in life is to join the most elite rank of guards at the disposal of her king, and she will fight tooth and nail to get there.

Winterblaze (Darkest London, #3)  A Spear of Summer Grass  After the End (After the End, #1)

Poppy Lane – Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan – (Steampunk/Fantasy) Poppy Lane is an ice elemental. She also happens to be the leader of London’s supernatural police force and intelligence agency. This series on the whole is a great blend of steampunk and fantasy – I highly recommend it!

Delilah Drummond – A Spear of Summer Grass – (Historical – Roaring Twenties) Delilah’s magnificence is in her force of will. She has both good and bad qualities, but she does everything with aplomb, and she’s willing to sacrifice it all to do what she feels is right. If you’re in the mood for a compelling read with a vivid setting in Africa, give this one a go!

Juneau – After the End Duology by Amy Plum – (YA Dystopia) I had to put Juneau on this list. Having grown up in the Alaskan wilderness, she’s truly a jack of all trades. If there’s anyone I would want to be stranded with in a life or death situation, Juneau would be her! (Here’s a link to my review of book one.)

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What course would you teach? Let me know about your top ten in the comments!

Review: The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

The Grand Sophy

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer is a Regency romance and is perhaps one of Heyer’s most popular books. It tells the story of a feisty young woman named Sophy, who is the product of an unconventional upbringing and a wonderfully unique personality. Like all of Heyer’s Regency romances, the story is funny, over the top, and full of witty dialogue.

If you are a fan of old school Regency romances, romantic comedies with a hefty dose of absurdity, or want a fun way to brush up on your SAT words, I definitely recommend this book.

A Regency Character Summary:

The Grand Sophy: Sophia Stanton-Lacy is our plucky heroine, and she is quite a character! She wishes the best for everyone and seems to believe that it is her duty to turn everyone’s troubles to right. Fortunately, she is clever enough to figure out how, in most cases, and in this book she has set her sights on fixing the woes of her Aunt’s family. She also has no qualms about setting down those who are quite accustomed to getting their way.

“Now, that,” said Sophy, “I am very glad to know, because if ever I should desire to please you I shall know just how to set about it. I daresay I shan’t, but one likes to be prepared for any event, however unlikely.”

Mr. Charles Rivenhall: While not the patriarch of the Ombersley family, Charles does control the purse strings and has become the dictator over his parents and siblings. He begins the story engaged to an equally oppressive woman, Ms. Wraxton, who brings out all of his worst qualities. Charles’ obnoxious manner of ruling the house and his poorly matched engagement are among the trials that our dear Sophy takes it upon herself to fix.

Lord Charlbury: Charlbury is in love with one of the Ombersley daughters, Cecilia, who has unfortunately fallen in love with a young poet. Despite his many virtues, he fell victim to being her family’s chosen match for her, as well as a poorly timed case of the mumps that kept him away for several weeks.

Lord Charlbury might be constitutionally incapable of addressing her as Nymph, or of comparing bluebells unfavorably with her eyes, but Lord Charlbury would infallibly provide a cloak for her if the weather were inclement, lift her over obstacles she could well climb without assistance, and in every way convince her that in his eyes she was a precious being whom it was impossible to guard too carefully.

Mr. Augustus Fawnhope: The young poet in question, Augustus is CONSTANTLY working on his verse and is generally oblivious to pretty much everything else going on around him.

‘”Lo, as a careful housewife runs to catch One of her feather’d creatures broke away!”‘

Miss Eugenia Wraxton: Ms. Wraxton is an infuriatingly abhorrent character, passive aggressively knocking down everyone she dislikes under the guise of behaving as a “proper” young lady should. I pretty much wanted to strangle her the entire story. Sophy, on the other hand, handles her admirably and even manages not to harbor her any ill will (miracle of miracles).

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I do feel compelled to say that, yes, this story does involve a romance between first cousins. While this happened all the time during this book’s historical time period, it’s understandable that some are super skeeved out by this given today’s standards. I just imagined that they weren’t actually blood relatives and was able to put it out of mind.

My one major issue with this book (and the reason I docked an entire star) was the random Jewish moneylender that cropped up in the middle of the book. I know a lot of other reviewers have mentioned this, but I couldn’t write my own without addressing it. The character depicts every horrifying Jewish stereotype, and it was disgusting to read. I don’t know if this is a product of the Regency Era, the 1950s when this was written, or Heyer’s own prejudices. Either way, it was unnecessary, out of place, and severely detracting from the story.

All in all, I really liked the writing and main characters, the story and relationship nuances was hilarious, and the plot was entertaining. While Venetia is still my favorite Heyer, I’m going to keep working my way through the rest of them!

3 of the 9 words I looked up while reading this book:

urbanity – suavity, courteousness and refinement of manner
Nabob – a person of conspicuous wealth or high status
rodomontade – boastful or inflated talk or behavior

Click here to see my review on Goodreads.

Review: Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer

Faro's Daughter
Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer is a Regency romance full of mischief. It tells the tale of a woman working in a gaming house, a young man fervently hoping to marry her, and the young man’s uncle, who is willing to go to any lengths to prevent a wedding that will never come to fruition, regardless of his interference. Full of Heyer’s usual talent and Regency snark, hilarity quickly ensues.

If you are a fan of old school Regency romances, romantic comedies with a hefty dose of absurdity, or want a fun way to brush up on your SAT words, I highly recommend this book.

A Regency Character Summary:

Max Ravenscar: Very wealthy, reserved, and calculating, Max Ravenscar likes to win. When Miss Grantham refuses his offered bribe of money in return for not marrying his young cousin, his pride and competitive nature kick into overdrive. He WILL ferret out Miss Grantham’s motives and he will use them to beat her in the war that inevitably follows.

Miss Deborah Grantham: Miss Grantham is a lot like Jane Austen’s Emma. That is, if Emma’s position in life classified her as a strumpet among the ton and if she had been far less self-entitled. Rather than focusing all her energy on the love lives of others, Deborah is singularly focused on winning her battle with Mr. Ravenscar. She is so heartily offended by Ravenscar’s bribe and its assumptions about her character that she is determined to pretend she will marry his cousin at all costs. Deborah refuses to be bested, even after events take a sharp turn toward the absurd.

“Oh, if I were a man, to be able to call him out, and run him though, and through, and through!”

Lady Bellingham, who appeared quite shattered, said feebly that you could not run a man through three times. “At least, I don’t think so,” she added. “Of course, I never was present at a duel, but there are always seconds, you know, and they would be bound to stop you.”

“Nobody would stop me!” declared Miss Grantham blood-thirstily. “I would like to carve him into mincemeat!”

Lord Mablethorpe: As a man who has not quite come of age (just 2 months shy of the magical 21st birthday), he is unable to marry without parental consent – which is truly a shame because there is nothing he wants more in life than to immediately marry “Deb.” Of course, everyone else knows that Deborah is merely his first love and the infatuation will fade. Deborah herself has absolutely no desire to bind herself to Mablethorpe and manages to never actually consent, though she lets him follow her around like a lost puppy.

Faro’s Daughter also has the usual assembly of side characters to round out the story and enable the main cast. I  particularly liked the boxing doorman and the unrepentant heiress who toys with fortune hunters.

3 of the 17 words I looked up while reading this book:
farrago – a confused mixture
magniloquent – using high-flown or bombastic language
obdurate – stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion or course of action.

See my review on Goodreads

Review: Venetia by Georgette Heyer

Venetia
Venetia by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was my first read by Georgette Heyer and I’m so glad to have found another excellent author who wrote in the Regency period!

Like all great Regency romances, this one was full of wit, character studies, and a strapping vocabulary. The quirky, strongly developed characters won the day, so it seems only fitting to include a summary of them in this review.

A Regency Character Summary:

Miss Venetia Lanyon: As our heroine, Venetia was a lovely focal point for the story. Having lived most of her life in seclusion, she managed to reach 25 years of age as an unmarried, well-mannered, and very attractive woman. She is also very lively and independently-minded, to the chagrin of almost everyone who knows her (save Damerel and Aubrey). Venetia is an open woman who speaks her mind plainly, leading to many hilarious conversations.

A delicately nurtured female (unless all the books lied) would have swooned from the shock of being kissed by a strange man, or at the very least would have been cast into the greatest affliction, her peace cut up, her spirits wholly overpowered. What she would not have done was to have stayed to bandy words with her wolfish assailant.

Lord Damerel: A 38 year old rake, Lord Damerel has lived quite a life and is often the topic of gossip. He finds a kindred spirit when he meets Venetia by chance, who, due to her personality and nontraditional upbringing, suits him perfectly. They soon become fast friends and confidants, against everyone’s advice and the “better judgement” of the ton.

Damerel, entering rudely on to the scene, instantly dominated it, and whether he was the villain or merely a minor character it was useless to deny that he had infused life into a dull play.

Aubrey Lanyon: Venetia’s younger brother, and closest friend for many years, Aubrey is full of book smarts and the impetuosity of a teenager. At 17 years old and with a disabled hip that causes a severe limp, he has spent most of his life studying. He lends frequent quips to the story, usually with the goal of shutting down some of the more ridiculous characters.

Edward Yardley: As one of the only men Venetia’s father allowed to enter the household, Edward feels he has an advantage at gaining her hand. Too bad for him that he is delusional, insulting, and contrary to Venetia’s character in almost every way. He was the “Mr. Collins” of this story, refusing to give up his perceived claim on Venetia, no matter how many times she rejected him.

“I daresay he won’t remain at the Priory above a day or two, but while he is here it will be best for you to discontinue your solitary walks,” Edward said, with a calm assumption of authority which she found so irritating that she was obliged to choke down a hasty retort. “You know,” he added, with a wry smile, “that I have never liked that custom of yours.”

Oswald Denny: The second of Venetia’s countryside suitors, Oswald is around 20 years old and fancies himself a Byron hero, all moody and dashing. Damerel is described as being everything that Oswald wishes to be, and the poor kid can’t handle the weight of his excessive jealousy.

Beyond these characters, there are a plethora of other meddling neighbors and family members, as well as horrifying in-laws. If you are an Austen fan, or a general fan of Regency period romances, I highly recommend this book!

PS – Thanks to the Kindle creators for the dictionary/Wikipedia lookup function, because I must have used it a couple dozen times for words like avuncular, raiment, and punctilious!

See this review on Goodreads