Booklist: Starred Review!
This was a fun read! Unlike most romances where the relationship between the two protagonists is plagued by misunderstandings, and self-doubt. It is also an unusual romance novel in that the woman propositions the man. Martha, just widowed, needs to conceive an heir, within the next month, or the country estate falls to her rapist brother-in-law. Martha is a practical do-gooder. The rake that she hires to “give” her an heir, Theo, was exiled from London to the country by his father, for being a lay-about, money spender.
Both of them learn to be better people, Theo learns to take an interest in his estate, and start caring for people. Martha learns to let her hair down a bit, and get to know her neighbors as real human beings, Not charity cases.
There is humor and awkward sex. 3 out of 4 hot chilli peppers, as far as spiciness goes.
This book was recommended to me, by experts at the Reader’s Advisory Workshop I attended.
Harper Kane Olympic Swimmer gets caught up shady government operations, when her microbiologist brother Bobby is killed after he develops a serum that gives people psi-onic powers. Now the government that funded these experiments wants her dead, and they send in their best op Rome Lucian. Unfortunately, for the government, Rome realizes something is fishy, and decides to aid Harper.
This was a fun quick read. However, the plotting could be more credible, with less coincidences. Like why would Bobby be shot, the very day, the very minute, Harper arrives for a visit?
The adventures of Morgan and Miach continue as they search for the source of the evil that is flooding the land and then for the means to defeat this evil. Miach enters the Weger’s tower where Morgan has fled in order to avoid any magic (the tower is a magic sink). Miach attempts to convince Morgan to join him in the outer world. Then they journey to Torr Dorrain to meet with her elven grandparents who thought her dead. Afterwards Miach attempts to sneak off to take care of nasty evil by himself, sparing others the vile danger. Morgan hates being left behind, and eventually turns the tables on Miach, by sneaking off herself to close the well of Gair. Finally, Miach and Morgan pledge to Not sneak off but to involve their partner.
I really like the value given to libraries in this series. Almost every castle/fortress has a library, that has access to valuable information, in the form of history or spells, etc. When Miach bests the evil mage Droch at a challenge he claims his reward as 1 hour free reign in the library. Another time the 2 sneak over the walls of a fortress, not to steal some jewels or a magic sword, nay, but to gain access to the LIBRARY!
I am really enjoying Kurland’s books. Star of the Morning is the first full length novel in the Nine Kingdoms series. Orphan Morgan has been raised by mercenary bandits, and then left at an education-rich orphanage when her courses start, finishing her education by becoming a warrior extraordinaire. She hates magic and magicians alike; unfortunately, for her, it appears she has magical abilities, and will be the only person able to wield the Sword of Angesan needed to save the large Kingdom of Neroche from evil. The king of Neroche and his brother Miach, Archmage disguise themselves as commoners to seek their hero, someone to wield the sword of Angesan against the approaching evil. The story alternates between Morgan and Miach narrating their respective viewpoints of the tale. Kurlands writing sparkles with subtle humor, for example, when Morgan tells Miach, he aught to obtain a sword so he can defend himself, he replies “Oh, but I might cut myself” playing the innocent reminiscent of the effete landowner Zorro.
I cannot wait to read the rest in the series. Be forewarned, Kurlands’ other two series time-travelling romances, though interesting, don’t appear to be as well crafted as her Fantasy series of the Nine Kingdoms.
Beatrice Shakespeare Smith’s story continues. Now free of the Theater, riding in a caravan Bertie and Ariel and her 4 fairy sidekicks search for Nate and for Bertie’s father (with Bertie fending off Ariel’s advances en route). Bertie is able to write stories in her journal that come true in the real world, but her wishes are fulfilled to the letter of the law, Not the spirit of the request. So she wishes for a feast, including a large scrumptious wedding cake, ideally the food would show up inside their caravan, but instead they come to a village where a large wedding is taking place, and No they have Not been invited.
I wondered if Matchev would be able to continue the magical storyline, given that the setting changes from the inside of the theater to the larger world outside. Though the tamber changes, it is a rollicking faster-paced adventure that stays true to the original world.
The adventures of Diana Bishop Royden de Clairmont, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, continue, as she and husband Matthew time travel back to Elizabethan England. Diana seeks a witch to tutor her, and they also search for the lost book Ashmole 782.
The time period is less friendly to women, and at first, it seemed like Diana was needing to be rescued and taken care of too much, but then, the she would take some risky action that you thought would be problematic, but turned out to be the correct solution, standing up to Mathew on numerous occasions.
I enjoyed visiting with historical characters such as Kit Marlowe and Walter Raleigh from the School of Night as well as traveling to Prague and the court of Rudolf II, the holy Roman emperor and king of Bohemia.
I also enjoyed the consequences of time travel showing up in small modern day changes.
I enjoyed Franny Billingsley’s book Chime so much, that I decided to check out her earlier fiction aimed at children. The protagonist keeps the “folk” at bay in the houses she serves, if she doesn’t she is the first line of defense and suffers intense pain and the possibility of death. She comes to a new estate where the “folk” are much fiercer than what she is accustomed to. She is hiding the fact that she is a girl, because “folk keepers” are not supposed to be female. She discovers other things about herself as she goes along.
Like Chime, the clues to the mystery are all out on display, easy to decipher, IF you know that there is a mystery to be solved, and if you can figure out which is the most important puzzle to solve.
So, you can see that Billingsley has really polished her writing over the years, but the essentials are present in this story.
Great Read! this was recommended by Angie & Courtney a while back, so glad I finally picked it up. Katsa has a special talent, the talent to kill. Then she meets Po, also “graced” with the ability to fight. Join Katsa as she travels across the 5 lands and learns more about her grace and the world and its possibilities.
2nd book in the series, where more family background is explained. Interesting series. Am waiting for the third book on CD.
Protagonist is a Grim Reaper (yep something different from the vampires, werewolves, etc). She can talk to the dead who haven’t crossed over yet, which is very helpful in her PI work. She also has a love interest with supernatural powers (to say the least). The BCD received great reviews (though I didn’t care for the audio narrator’s voice for the main character). What the review didn’t mention was just how spicy some of the scenes are.
This new mystery author weaves a cozy mystery around a strong female protagonist left widowed after WWI and set in the British countryside of a wool mill town. Kate Shackleton agrees to help a friend from the war days find out what happened to her father before the friend’s wedding day. Kate hopes to find the father alive so he can walk his daughter down the aisle, but warns her friend the truth may be much more unpleasant.
Well you really ought to read this after you finish the last in the Wicked Lovely Series….because it finishes or picks up individual tales/plotlines from the various protagonists in that series, as well as having a couple of other short stories unrelated to the Wicked Lovely series. The first one I read, about Donia & Keenan was a little fluffy with Not much happening, but I did enjoy hearing more about Irial and Niall – though, I am bored to tears with Leslie, please give her a rest. The story The Sleeping Girl was in some ways a redo or Wicked Lovely, but in other ways it was fresh. I didn’t like the vampire story Transition, it was a bit too much negative deja vu (and gross). I liked the Selchie tale, it had an interesting twist.
I have really enjoyed, well some of her work, [Lips Touch:Times Three had some depressing endings] Blackbringer & then the sequel Silksinger, were really refreshing great new fantasy worlds FRESH. And Daughter of Smoke and Bone is FRESH as well, but a new world, set partly in Prague (a place I romanticize and would like to visit). Its an entirely new world this Smoke and Bone place or well a couple of worlds. There’s a certain O Henry “Gift of the Magi”esque twist in this book (but it wasn’t as obnoxious as the Gift one). I can’t wait to see where this new series takes us. And it looks like Paramount Pics has bid in the range of $700,000 for this recently released book – hot dog!
The saga of Clary and Simon and Jace and the rest continues. Its nice to be back with the characters themselves. Its nice to see Simon grow. However, the book drags toward the end and reads starts to read like a romance. Well my definition of a romance, where the protagonists are TOO STUPID to communicate and take risks with the person they like. Well, here the protagonists’ behavior is too stupid to believe. They continually run off without letting anyone else know – have you ever heard of teamwork? You have characters leaving their beloved (brother, s.o., friend, etc) a character filled with self-loathing and suicidal thoughts on the top of the rooftop with a corpse – seriously?
Then the book ends in a cliff-hanger, well it seems more like the start of another book, like a teaser, but that could have been more clearly stated.