July What We’re Reading

Christina here with a round-up of what the Wenches have been reading this month. This is a truly varied selection and I hope there will be something for everyone and that you find something that appeals to you. I’ve already clicked on a few things myself …

My own favourite reads this month were the two new Wench books – The Crystal Key by Patricia Rice and The Rake’s Daughter by Anne Gracie.

Crystal KeyThe Crystal Key is the third book in the Psychic Solutions Mystery series, and these stories just keep getting better and better. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, which broadened the cast and built on the previous books in a most satisfying way. Ghostbuster Evie Malcolm Carstairs has finally got together with gorgeous lawyer Jax Ives and they are raising their ward, Loretta, together while trying to make ends meet – her by speaking to ghosts and him by setting up a new law practice in the tiny town where they live. When Evie and her hacker team at the Sensible Solutions Agency take on a new case that involves a dead former FBI agent – an old lady who had been poking around in things she shouldn’t have – and a potential murder, things start to heat up. Jax tries to keep Evie out of trouble, but she has her own way of dealing with things and doesn’t think she needs his help. He wants to do things the proper way while Evie and the others don’t always take the legal approach. Add to that the fact that his reclusive sister Ariel starts to help his best friend to uncover a major scamming network run by some seriously unscrupulous people – while slightly coming out of her shell – and he has his work cut out for him making sure everyone is safe and the bad guys get their come-uppance. With a huge cast of crazy but wonderful characters, this is a fabulous story that kept me turning the pages. I can’t wait for the next book in the series to see what will happen next!

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Away to the Highlands

Braemar castle signNicola here. Last week I was lucky enough to be on holiday in the Scottish Highlands, staying in a historic cottage above the town of Braemar. There aren’t many things that I have in common with the Queen, but for a few days we were within 20 miles of each other as Braemar is just down the road from Balmoral Castle! Our cottage however, whilst very comfortable indeed, was a lot smaller than the royal residence although just as interesting historically. Braemar too is an absolutely fascinating little town with a hugely interesting history and I had the treat of taking both an exclusive tour of the town and of the castle with two different but equally knowledgeable guides, and I thought I would share some historical snippets here.

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Claimed by the Laird – Scottish Brides Book 3

Claimed by the Laird - USNicola here, celebrating the publication of Claimed by the Laird, the third and final book in my Scottish Brides trilogy.

Writing a Scottish-set Regency series has been great fun. It’s allowed me to mix romance, danger, adventure, pirates and whisky smugglers with wonderful settings, feisty heroines and gorgeous heroes. I’ve been able to draw on my many trips to the Highlands and to do lots of research into everything from bagpipes to shipwrecks. I’ve flown to Fair Isle and walked the walls of ruined castles. I love my job! 

Particularly lovely has been the reader feedback; I’ve already been asked if there will be any more Scottish Brides books and because I always enjoy revisiting a series, I’d never say never. There are some characters who are already asking for a sequel… One reader told me that they wanted to join the Highland Ladies Bluestocking Society, the club that two of my heroines belong to. I'd like to be a member too!

The idea for the Bluestocking Society arose from my reading about the Scottish enlightenment and the Joseph_Highmore_-_A_Club_of_Gentlemen_-_Google_Art_Project (1) discussions and intellectual meetings that took place mainly in Edinburgh. The Poker Club, the Select Society and the Oyster Club were examples of real Scottish clubs where scientists, writers and thinkers met to discuss ideas and eat delicacies such as salt haddock. These were male-dominated (as in the picture) but it struck me that well-to-do, independent minded women could also form their own society. The members of the Highland Ladies Bluestocking Society discuss books and reading but they also have an improper side and an interest in activities as various as life drawing and belly dancing!

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