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Weight it up and read all about it

One Night for Seduction Book Cover One Night for Seduction
#1 Wicked Dukes Club
by Erica Ridley
historical, fiction, romance, Regency
WebMotion (
8 April 2019)
Image result for queen anne wine gallon
This is the best Erica Ridley book I've read so far - and I've read a large number! Why? Because I've learnt a lot of new things about life and shopping in the Regency age.
I had no idea that there were so many different weights and measures around in this time. and I've discovered the origin of why the American gallon is not an English gallon. All of which was very mysterious before.
So in real life there was an Act of Parliament in 1824 that laid down the exact weights for measures in the UK.
A gallon was to be measured as the volume of 10 pounds of distilled water weighed at 62 degrees Fahrenheit, with a barometer pressure of 30 inches or 277.274 cubic inches.
So very precise!
The old Troy pound was later restricted as being used only to weigh drugs, precious metal and jewels.
But it was not until 1963 that the rod and chaldron (who has ever heard of that?! But it was apparently a measure of coal being 36 bushels), were finally abolished.
Now isn't that fascinating?
But to add to the confusion, the American weights and measures guys adopted the units the English used before 1824. This means that an American gallon is based on the Queen Anne wine gallon of 231 cubic inches and is thus 17% smaller than the English. The Old English (Queen Anne) Wine Gallon was standardized as 231 in3 (133 fl oz) in the 1706 Act 5 Anne c27, but it differed before that, as an example the London 'Guildhall' gallon before 1688 was 129.19 fl oz.
And the US bushel is 3% smaller; with the American dry pint being .551 cubic decimeters and the English keeping the wet and dry pint the same at .586 cubic decimeters. Yes the wet American is the same as the English to confuse us all...
I do hope everyone followed all of that!
So for me, the story was in the usual good form of Erica with a great heroine and a somewhat bemused hero but for me,  being a history buff, the weights and measures issue sent me off into research land which doesn't often happen these days. Well done Erica!

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Convenient Marriage?

The Earl's Countess of Convenience Book Cover The Earl's Countess of Convenience
Penniless Brides of Convenience, Book 1
Marguerite Kaye
Romance , Women's Fiction, Historical
Mills and Boon
04 Apr 2019

A countess in name only…

…tempted by a night with her husband!

Part of Penniless Brides of Convenience: Eloise Brannagh has witnessed first-hand the damage unruly passion can cause. Yet she craves freedom, so a convenient marriage to the Earl of Fearnoch seems the perfect solution! Except Alexander Sinclair is more handsome, more intriguing, more everything, than Eloise anticipated. Having set her own rules for their marriage, her irresistible husband might just tempt Eloise to break them!

Once upon a time there was an Earl who need a bride in order to inherit his estate and sort out the mess and debts his profligate father and forebears had left him with. But where was he to get one? With money? And in need of a hasty marriage and preferably without the need for a marriage bed.

Not that he swung that way, but more that he couldn’t be bothered to have a real wife who would need him to do things with him.

And then there was a girl – or young woman more like, who also needed a hasty marriage, but she didn’t really have a fortune and to cap it all was American! And Trade! So not really a suitable marriage prospect at all.

But as with these novels the two were brought together and a marriage of convenience for them both, was organised.

A nice novel in this genre wit some amusing touches and well written even if sticking closely to the script. I like these as long as the heroine doesn’t simper, and this one didn’t!

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And Cornwall grows fine wines

The House at Greenacres Book Cover The House at Greenacres
Darcie Boleyn
contemporary fiction, romance, humour
Canelo escape

All roads lead home…

When Holly Dryden fled Penhallow Sands nearly a year ago she was determined to put the past – and Rich Turner – behind her. But now an unexpected loss and financial trouble has led her back to the family vineyard and it’s time to tell Rich the truth – he’s a father.

Surrounded by the memories of what they once shared Holly’s anger fades in the glow of Rich’s undeniable love for their son and the way he selflessly steps in to help the vineyard out of trouble. As Holly watches Rich flourish in his new role as father to baby Luke, she realises that though they can’t change the past, the future is still theirs to write…

An uplifting, emotional Cornwall-set romance perfect for fans of Holly Martin and Phillipa Ashley

This is a gentle second chance romance, set in Cornwall and their vineyards.

It is cosy in style and written so as to be fairly contemporary in language but not explicit in behaviour – the behaviour is implied as we have 2 pregnancies before marriage in it!

It is very family oriented and lauds the benefits of living within a multi-generational household unit – even though this can be very problematic as my mother-in-law would have attested if she admitted it… her mother being a tyrant..

Overall a very pleasant story and style, but for me a little too sweet, I prefer more drama and bite.

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Lying is bad

I never Lie: Book Cover I never Lie:
Jody Sabral
psychological thriller,
Canelo
Pub Date 11 Jun 2018

Is she the next victim? Or is she the culprit…?

Alex South is a high-functioning alcoholic, teetering on the brink of oblivion. Her career as a television journalist is hanging by a thread since a drunken on-air rant. But when a series of murders occurs within a couple of miles of her East London home, she's given another chance to prove herself.

Alex thinks she can control the drinking, but soon she finds gaping holes in her memory, and wakes to find she’s done things she can’t recall. As the story she’s covering starts to creep into her own life, is Alex a danger only to herself – or to others?

This gripping psychological thriller is perfect for fans of Fiona Barton,  B A Paris and Clare Mackintosh. 

Whilst I thought it interesting to to see the lies told to herself by Alex about how she wasn’t an alcoholic, I found the overall story too slow to capture my interest.

Alex clearly thought she was in control even though it was obvious she wasn’t and she ignored her black holes in her memory and the blackouts she experienced. And ignored the fact that she just needed a ‘little drop’ to function.

The decline of an alcoholic and the damage they do to their nearest and dearest and others they come into contact with is shown by the story but I  still didn’t manage to finish reading to the end.

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I like Llamas

Reinventing Hillwilla Book Cover Reinventing Hillwilla
Hillwilla #3
Melanie Forde
animals, llamas, farms, family drama
Independent
November 4, 2018
340

Life on a llama farm, set in remote “Seneca County,” West Virginia, transitions from contented to chaotic in this final novel in the Hillwilla trilogy -- all under the watchful eye of canine guardian Ralph. Five years after we first met northern urban transplant Beatrice Desmond, she is finally adapting to her mountain hollow among the wary “born-heres” and is more open to the blessings in her life. She has developed a rewarding mother-daughter relationship with troubled local teenager Clara Buckhalter and is inching toward marriage with dashing, but complicated entrepreneur Tanner Fordyce. Meanwhile, Clara sets off on a productive new path, one that would have been unthinkable had Beatrice never come into her life. All of that progress is suddenly jeopardized by Clara’s scheming mother Charyce. Ultimately, the upheaval touched off by Charyce’s schemes serves as the catalyst for new beginnings for the Seneca County misfits (even Ralph).

I was aware that I was ‘dropping in’ to an existing series but normally any author of a series plans for this, with each book having its own storyline. In this series, this was not the case. I found myself thrown into the continuing storyline as though this was a rather large book  that had been chopped up because it didn’t fit a preconceived length.

There was some explanation of what had come before but this didn’t seem to fit naturally into the storyline, more that it had been inserted in as an after thought.

However, the storylines began to gel about half-way through to make an ending to this series.

I did have a point of query in this story though. Sophie the llama they finally adopted was found to be pregnant as she gave birth. Llamas take 11 months to complete gestation and during her life Sophie had been a guard llama – where therefore had she found a boyfriend? An intact male – as the majority of guard llamas would not be intact.

In many ways I like the story and the llamas – I like their wool – who I found rather endearing. I was intrigued by the concept of guard llamas and checked them out. They are a real thing. It seems that their size and smell makes them so strange to the natural USA predators of sheep and cows, that they scare most of them away.

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