Archive for the 'Historical' Category

09
Jun
08

Marie Brennan: Midnight Never Come

England flourishes under the hand of its Virgin Queen: Elizabeth, Gloriana, last and most powerful of the Tudor monarchs.

But a great light casts a great shadow.

In hidden catacombs beneath London, a second Queen holds court: Invidiana, ruler of faerie England, and a dark mirror to the glory above. In the thirty years since Elizabeth ascended her throne, fae and mortal politics have become inextricably entwined, in secret alliances and ruthless betrayals whose existence is suspected only by a few. Two courtiers, both struggling for royal favor, are about to uncover the secrets that lie behind these two thrones.

When the faerie lady Lune is sent to monitor and manipulate Elizabeth’s spymaster, Walsingham, her path crosses that of Michael Deven, a mortal gentleman and agent of Walsingham’s. His discovery of the “hidden player” in English politics will test Lune’s loyalty and Deven’s courage alike. Will she betray her Queen for the sake of a world that is not hers? And can he survive in the alien and Machiavellian world of the fae? For only together will they be able to find the source of Invidiana’s power — find it, and break it . . . .

Midnight Never Come is a historical fantasy that’s also an interesting take on faerie lore. I don’t generally pick up historical fantasies or historical anything, for that matter, but this one had what for me was an interesting hook, the twining of the lives of the Queen of England and a faerie Queen.

On that count, Midnight Never Come does not disappoint. The author handles the politics and the intrigue with a deft hand, moving seamlessly from Elizabethan England to the world of evil faeries and then back again.

A book that starts out quietly, Midnight Never Come builds in an elegant crescendo to a powerful finish, much as both Lune and Deven grow as characters into what they finally become. It’s definitely one of my favorite faerie books of the year.

Midnight Never Come rates 4 out of 5.

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26
Jun
07

Beth Williamson: The Legacy

Noah Calhoun always felt like an outsider in the Malloy family, even though he’d been legally adopted at age fifteen by Nicky, the only sister in the pack. After an accident nearly kills his father, Tyler, Noah decides to leave and find his own place in the world. Using the skills his ex-bounty hunter father taught him, Noah finds a job as a small town sheriff. Rosalyn Benedict didn’t need a fresh-faced do-gooder sheriff trying to help her. She’d been surviving just fine on her own. Living on the streets since she was a child, Rosalyn was smarter, tougher, and stronger than most people ever hope to be.

With her stubbornness or his pigheadedness, will Noah and Rosalyn find that one place where they both belong?

One of the best things about The Legacy is how clearly Noah’s and Rosalyn’s voices are differentiated, especially Rosalyn’s.

Most of my favorite parts of the book are told in her POV. There’s just something about Rosalyn’s voice that clicks for me.

Noah is the hero I expected after ‘meeting’ him in the first Malloy book, The Bounty. Great continuity there.

This book essentially has two endings. One is the ending of the Malloy series, and the other is Rosalyn and Noah’s.

It is the ending of the Malloy series that I’ve a quibble with, and admittedly, this is a personal quirk. It irritates me to read endings where everyone’s happy happy happy.

But it’s worth a read, and while I’ve not read books 2-6 of the Malloy series, I think this is a great example of ending a series while the series is still good.

The Legacy rates 3.5 out of 5.

12
Jun
07

Shannon Stacey: Taming Eliza Jane

When a man sets out to tame a strong-willed woman, he’d best hang on to his hat.Will Martinson, the town doctor, already has a heap of troubles on his plate, what with a pregnant whore, an ailing friend and a sheriff with a bad habit of shooting people. The last thing he needs is a strong hankering for a woman who thinks it’s her duty to turn a man’s life upside-down.Eliza Jane Carter is a woman on a mission. She’s going to improve the lives of the women in Gardiner, Texas before moving on to the next town. But when her finances take a turn for the worse and her chaperone heads for the hills, Eliza Jane is stranded in a town full of riled up menfolk, a gun-happy sheriff and one handsome doctor who makes her question everything she ever believed about the love between a man and a woman.

I honestly wasn’t going to read Taming Eliza Jane the moment I got my hands on it. All I was planning to do was open the file to make sure it came through in one piece.

Then I thought I’d just take a peek at the first chapter. And I was sunk. I read it cover to cover (figuratively because this is an ebook) in less than an hour.

The first half is stronger than the second half. Part of it was that the first half was just good fun. Had me giggling out loud, and that rarely happens.

It was once Eliza Jane and Will’s relationship turned serious that I liked it less. The pacing was weaker as well, which certainly didn’t help.

I’m not one who wants or needs tidy endings, though I would have liked So-and-so to have been caught for it.

But the epilogue made up for most of the shortcomings, and I cannot wait for Becoming Miss Becky!

This rates 4 out of 5.

PS Shannon Stacey is guestblogging for me, and this is an ARC from the publisher, Samhain Publishing.

22
May
07

Summer Devon: Learning Charity

Once a gentleman’s daughter, the now destitute Miss Charity Vincent was forced to become Cherry the whore. Yet her core of a well-bred young lady remains intact — she is a thoroughly incompetent prostitute.Eliot Stevens came from America to London for business and now he sees a way to mix his business with fun. Cherry can teach him the manners he needs to fit into society and in exchange, he can teach her about pleasure-which might improve her life or shatter it.

The blurb’s rather misleading about the heroine. I’m not sure that she’s a thoroughly incompetent prostitute, just a reluctant one, and at the start of the book, she’s not been one for long. So we can add inexperienced (it’s all relative, remember?) to boot.

Eliot…came across as rather 2-dimensional to me, and unfortunately, so was the book.

I know it’s a novella, but I think that Devon (aka Kate Rothwell) didn’t dig deeply enough into the issues about Charity being a prostitute, and how Eliot feels about that. Hence the 2-dimensional feeling.

Never thought I say this, yet here I am: I would buy it if it was rewritten into a full-length novel.

This rates 3 out of 5.

06
Apr
07

The Historical Thang Again

First, I came home yesterday and went straight to bed.

That’s why I didn’t do my usual blog-rounds etc. The insomnia got to me, finally, I think.

Anyway, here are my responses to the lovely people who came by yesterday. 🙂

There’s a cut, because it’s reaaaaally long.

Continue reading ‘The Historical Thang Again’

03
Mar
07

Colleen Gleason: The Rest Falls Away

Beneath the glitter of dazzling 19th-century London Society lurks a bloodthirsty evil… .Vampires have always lived among them, quietly attacking unsuspecting debutantes and dandified lords as well as hackney drivers and Bond Street milliners. If not for the vampire slayers of the Gardella family, these immortal creatures would have long taken over the world.In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake.

But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous, moonlit streets, Victoria’s heart is torn between London’s most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her enigmatic ally, Sebastian Vioget.

And when she comes face to face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make the choice between duty and love.

The Rest Falls Away is the first book in Colleen Gleason‘s Gardella Vampire Chronicles.

I liked Victoria, and I liked even more the fact that Colleen allowed her to make mistakes that Victoria is going to have to live with.

I do wonder if perhaps there’s too much relying on the vis bulla, an amulet that gives Venators (vampire slayers) qualities like greater strength and speed. Another thing that bugs me is that Victoria’s only been studying the martial art of kalaripayattu for a month, but she’s become so expert in it–at least, she comes across that way to me.

As a vampire book, it doesn’t score so well, but this is probably skewed by the fact that I like my vampire books really dark and some gore wouldn’t be amiss either.

This rates 3.5 out of 5.