Friday, September 21, 2018

Review: Portrait Of A Spy

Portrait Of A Spy Portrait Of A Spy by Daniel Silva
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A painfully moving tale of people trying to do the right thing, especially to help women who are held back by government and religious authorities. The Gabriel Allon tales are truly ripped from the headlines and catching up on them is a glimpse into recent historical events. I'm still enjoying them immensely, but sometimes they're so wrenching that I can't read them too close together. It will be a while before I'm ready for #12.

View all my reviews

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Review: Lord Braybrook's Penniless Bride

Lord Braybrook's Penniless Bride Lord Braybrook's Penniless Bride by Elizabeth Rolls
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I liked the story and I enjoyed the characters, but I could barely read it because of the constant back-and-forth switching of POV. Within the same scene we'd jump from head to head and it made the narrative confusing and unnecessarily distracting. This is a shame, because I've enjoyed other Regency romances by Ms. Rolls and I don't recall them having this issue, or perhaps not to this degree. I'll continue to read her work and hope this was a one-off.

View all my reviews

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Review: A Study in Honor

A Study in Honor A Study in Honor by Claire O'Dell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In an all too real, all too dystopian near future, there are still people on whom you can rely, people who have your back. People like Dr. Janet Watson and Sara Holmes.

Watson is a war veteran, scarred and damaged, unable to practice surgery with only one arm and a malfunctioning, ill-fitting bionic replacement for the arm destroyed in battle. Holmes is....Holmes. Enigmatic, elegant, owner of an outstanding DC property, in need of a roommate. And that's the beginning of the adventure as these amazing women team up to solve a mystery with broad implications.

"Holmes and Watson" is one of the most enduring tropes of the last 150 years and O'Dell has put a fresh spin on it with characters who are so very different from the traditional canon, yet bring the sensibilities we've come to cherish in these partners in crime-solving. The mystery is engrossing, the action is non-stop, and I look forward to reading more of these tales.

View all my reviews

Review: European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun read that explores many of our classic horror villains and tropes, but upends them by making the monsters women who cooperate rather than tear things up. Goss has delved deep into literature of the macabre to bring forward characters like Mary Jekyll and her half-sister Diana Hyde (who may be my new role model) Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein and so on. However, it was especially delightful in this novel to figure out early on who the woman head of the secret society of mad scientists was. The clues were there, and...

S

P

O

I

L

E

R



since I'm one of the few people I know who actually read and enjoyed H. Rider Haggard, I knew it was She Who Must Be Obeyed! Great fun to see Ayesha again.

The best part of these books is how girls are getting it done. No man swoops in to save them, they figure things out and take care of it. I'm looking forward to reading more Adventures of the Athena Club!

View all my reviews

Happy Birthday to the Star-Spangled Banner!

“You underestimate the will of the American people, Doctor.” He poked his finger in the air for emphasis. “When you push us, we push back. Hard. John Bull cannot bully America into surrendering now any more than you could forty years ago. Have you already forgotten the lesson of Fort McHenry?”
He rummaged in his desk and pulled out a tattered newspaper, much folded and creased.
“My mother sent this to me with the letters, a newspaper from home. A Mr. Key wrote a poem about the battle, titled ‘The Defence of Fort McHenry.’ Look here—‘the land of the free and the home of the brave.’ That’s America, Charley! I won’t ask you to drink to an American victory, but you won’t mind if I have a tot?”
David poured himself some rum while humming a tune. She listened, her head cocked to the side.
“I know that tune—I heard it in the inn where I waited to board the Lady Jane. It is ‘To Anacreon in Heaven,’ is it not? I recall the people who attempted to navigate its melody often failed miserably.”
“Maybe it’s a song best attempted while drinking for the full effect. But I’m told it is now popular in Baltimore with lyrics based on Mr. Key’s poem—‘And the rockets’ red glare…’”
Charley snickered as his voice strained through the notes. “That tune will never catch on, Captain. Certainly not the way you sing! Best you stick to sailing your ship.”

--Sea Change

Charley's wrong, of course. The poem and song became a part of the American nation. Today it is still our much loved (if difficult to sing) national anthem celebrating the land of the free and the home of the brave! Happy birthday, Star-Spangled Banner!

Monday, September 03, 2018

Happy #LaborDay!

“You may have noticed I am wearing one of your shirts this morning.”
“Oh yeah,” Rand murmured. He’d noticed. Looked like she had two puppies in a sack in there, tusslin’ when she moved.
“The reason I am wearing your clothes is because the laundry needs to be done and you have not done it.”
That statement took him out of his contemplation of how much fun it would be to undo the rest of the buttons on his shirt and give those pups some air.
“What?”
“I said, you have not done the laundry, Washburn.” Julia turned back to the grate to squat down and flip the cakes.
“Yeah, well, that’s your job. You’re the wife.”
She turned her head and looked up at him with raised brows. “Is that what you thought? That because that magistrate pronounced a few words over us I would take over all the domestic chores? Who did your laundry before you had a wife?”
Rand shifted and ran his free hand through his hair. “I did my laundry. But I didn’t like it!”
“No one likes it. Here is what I propose… I will continue with the chores I have been doing, the cooking and tending the garden and keeping the cabin neat. I will even do the mending. But you will do the laundry. After all,” she said dryly, “it’s not like you have a lot of acreage to plow out there.”
“No, but I do have to hunt and fish to keep food on the table. I can’t be spendin’ all day doin’ women’s work!”
“If it is women’s work, it is not work this woman ever did. At the estate where I lived there were laundresses who did the cleaning for the entire household. I can cook better than you can, but it seems to me that if you have experience doing laundry, then you can continue to do a better job than I would. Not to mention that if I am spending all my time doing laundry, then I won’t have time to make the pork pie I was planning for dinner. With persimmon cake for dessert.”
There was something wrong with this logic, Rand knew it, but he couldn’t come up with a good argument. It became even harder to think about it when Julia waltzed past him into the house carrying a plate and leaving behind an aroma of griddle cakes, syrup, and woman.

--Smuggler's Bride

Happy Labor Day to all the hard working American women and men who keep the laundry clean, the fish caught, and the persimmon cake on the table. This is your day to be recognized, and for all of us to be aware of how much we depend on the labor of others. Thank you!

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Review: Regency Christmas Gifts: Three Stories

Regency Christmas Gifts: Three Stories Regency Christmas Gifts: Three Stories by Carla Kelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A delightful break from summer's heat, with Kelly's trademark stories of rather ordinary people being extraordinary human beings. They're not only doing well, they're doing good, what's called tikkun olam--"repairing the world" among those of us who don't celebrate Christmas, but still enjoy a solid, weepy love story.

Each of these tales has its own charm as lives are made better and love discovered during the holiday season. I miss the old Regency Christmas collections that used to come out each year, but it's nice to know some of the best authors in the genre continue to release their holiday best.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

#IVoted

“If I climbed I could gather more gourds, and some fruit also.”
He looked at her sternly.
“There will be no climbing.”
Daphne stopped smiling and straightened her sore back, because she had been thinking about this all day.
“I am not sure I should have to always do what you tell me to do, or not to do, Dr. Murray. I know you are a natural philosopher and learned, but in America they let men vote equally, the stupid ones as well as the clever. Not that I am stupid, I am just not as learned as you are. While we are here on this island, just the two of us, we should be voting as equals, don’t you think?”
He looked at her in astonishment, setting down the gourd.
“I am amazed, Miss Farnham, that a properly brought-up Englishwoman would take the riff-raff in America as her model for appropriate behavior. No, this is not a situation calling for some anarchic form of democracy. Your vote is not equal to mine."

--CASTAWAY DREAMS

Be like Daphne! Get out there today and exercise your right to vote! When you're done, you can read all about Daphne Farnham and grumpy Doctor Murray in the Aspen Gold winning historical, Castaway Dreams, available in ebook and print again!   #FloridaPrimary #IVoted


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Happy #NationalDogDay!

The pups were in the scullery and Mattie sat amidst them on the floor as they frolicked about her looking like animated snowballs. Their mother watched them closely, but Daphne came over and hummed to her, scratching her behind her ear, and the dog relaxed. Coquette’s coloring was more varied than Pompom’s, as she sported dark tan ears, a pattern carried over onto some of the pups.
Most of them left Mattie to mock-fight among themselves, but one, the smallest of the litter, ran at Mattie, pounced on her gown, then jumped off. He hunkered down on his chest with his bottom in the air, tail wagging as he yipped in joyful play.
Mattie scooped the little clown up and covered him in kisses as he squirmed in her hands and tried to lick and bite at her chin. She looked up at them then, her blue eyes wide over the dog’s head.
“Oh look, Papa! Look, Miss Burke! It is our puppy!”
Lydia leaned over and said in St. Armand’s ear, “I am not going to tell her she can’t have that puppy.”

--The Pirate's Secret Baby 

Today is #NationalDogDay, though diva dachshund Dodi would assure me that every day in our
house is Dog Day. She came to us nearly three years ago as a pup from Doxie Tales Rescue, but like most owners of dogs, I believe she rescued us more than we rescued her. She keeps me moving, guards my domicile, listens patiently when I read aloud to her, cuddles and watches football with my husband, and gives us unlimited love every day.

I hope all the good boys and girls currently with rescue organizations or shelters find their forever homes, and that all of them have a wonderful life.

If you'd like to read more about Mattie and her pup, or Daphne's bichon Pompom, check out award-winners Castaway Dreams and The Pirate's Secret Baby, and look for grown-up Mattie's story, What the Parrot Saw, in 2019.