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Review: Someone to Remember

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Someone to Remember by Mary Balogh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Mary Balogh, both for her stories and for her craft. One of the things I love about her work is how she'll take a stock character like "fussy, aging spinster aunt" and subtly bring her forward until you realize that's a person, someone with dreams and hopes of her own.

Enter Matilda Westcott. She was introduced to us in the earlier Westcott stories as, yes, the fussy, aging, spinster aunt, but we had glimpses of her personhood all along. Then in Someone to Honor she emerged as not only a person, but a key character, and I loved it.

Now we have her own "second chance at love" story, and it's adorable and sweet and yummy. There's no high drama, no pirates, but the question of "Can a woman approaching 60 find love?" is answered in the best way possible. We're reminded that while we see the package--the no longer svelte debutante, …

Thank you, veterans

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Indeed, when Captain Doyle returned there was a full report. A peace treaty had been negotiated restoring Great Britain and the United States to their antebellum status. “But what of the prisoners?” Charley asked Captain Doyle. “A Yankee trader from France bound for Charleston put into port a few days back. That is how we got the news. The governor is not interested in having a gang of Americans roaming through Kingston, and asked if we would ‘host’ them for a while longer until they can ship out with their countrymen.” It was that simple. Men who two days earlier would have run each other through or blown each other to pieces, now were up on deck toasting each other’s countries with carefully rationed grog. Captain Doyle wisely put a limit on the amount of alcohol served, knowing that it wouldn’t take much to re-ignite the conflict on a smaller scale. “Captain Fletcher told me I do not understand men, Mr. Bryant,” Charley said in bemusement later that night. “I have to agree with hi…

Review: The Art of Theft

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The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I continue to enjoy this series, and the mystery in this one had me flipping my Kindle pages to find out where it was going. The author manages to keep a lot of balls in the air as she juggles characters and relationships, and I especially enjoyed seeing the secondary characters play a larger role. The slow-burning romance between Charlotte and Lord Ingram is still smokin' hot, and I look forward to more Lady Sherlock stories in the future.

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Review: Fathers of Conscience: Mixed-Race Inheritance in the Antebellum South

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Fathers of Conscience: Mixed-Race Inheritance in the Antebellum South by Bernie D. Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's hard to tag a book "really liked it" when the subject matter is so accurately and depressingly focused not on the rights of enslaved people to inherit (not the issue, essentially they had no rights), but on the rights of white men with guilty consciences to leave money and property to blood relatives who were black.

This work is geared towards attorneys and researchers, and I found it interesting because even though I am not a lawyer, my husband does estates, wills and trusts in Florida. Land inheritance in the rural south to this day can be quite convoluted, but this book deals in particular with men who wanted to provide for their offspring or their children's mothers. Not surprisingly, white relatives who were not direct descendants fought these distributions and the courts had to deal with cases that could vary from state to state.

I…

Review: The Hound of Justice

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The Hound of Justice by Claire O'Dell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Part of what determines whether I give a book four or five stars on Goodreads is if I find myself at odd times of the day wanting to go back to reading it, or when it keeps me up late to finish. The Hound of Justice is one such novel, an excellent follow-up to the first of the Janet Watson Chronicles. Because we are already familiar with the near-future dystopian America from A Study in Honor we can get right into the story, and I especially enjoyed seeing Dr. Watson try to re-establish herself as a successful surgeon.

We also learn more about Sara's family, Janet's dating life, Janet's family, and why the Confederacy continues to wreak havoc on society in a divided country. I liked the focus on the characters in this book (even more than the mystery) and it bodes well for further Holmes/Watson stories going forward.

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Review: Brazen and the Beast

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Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love stories about strong women who know what they want and go after it, no matter what era they live in. Hattie may be an earl's daughter but she grew up near the docks (her father's title was a late-in-life reward) and will never be part of the ton. She's too big, too loud, too assertive...too much. So at age 29 she's ready to live life in The Year of Hattie, where she goes after what she wants, starting with a night with a paid companion.

Beast and his brother Devil didn't fight their way to the top of their massive smuggling business by playing nice, and when he awakens tied up in Hattie's carriage, his first thought is to get even with whomever put him in this position.

Clearly, these two are made for each other and they figure that part out pretty quickly. The drama that's thrown into the mix comes from Hattie's family's involvement with Beast's troubles, and the en…

Review: Aurora Blazing

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Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent, page turning read. It satisfied my love of both science fiction and romance, and gave us a kick-ass princess who's good at keeping her special skill set hidden until it's needed. She's also good at weaponizing fashion, not just in the sense of how jewelry can do double duty, but knowing how the right dress, the right look, can slay when one enters a room.

The hero was the kind of buttoned-down-we're-just-waiting-for-him-to-explode person any princess would want at her back, and after some rough starts he comes to fully appreciate her in all her guises.

Jessie Mihalik is a capable author who delivers the goods, and that's exactly what a reader wants when diving deep into strange worlds, cyberhumans and high stakes politics.

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