Thursday, 13 September 2018

A regency romance and thriller combined: "The Marquess (Regency Nobles Book 2)" by Patricia Rice

The novel starts with a townhouse burning. The two cousins who live there manage to escape with their lives but the rich cousin is badly burned. The poor one wonders why people wanted something bad to happen with her nice cousin.

This romance novel is longer than the usual regency romance. This one does not stop after the hero and heroine slept with each other and fell in love (yes that seems the way to do it even in Regency romances nowadays). Only halfway down the book they then have to find out who is putting her life and that of her cousin in danger.

Although sometimes a bit slow the writer is good in world building and creating believable characters. I was sorry to see the book ending.

Review of "Isabella of Angouleme" by Erica Lainé

Set in England and medieval English ruled what is now Western France. A few centuries after Normandy nobles conquered England the descendant of William the Conqueror is king of England and has still vast lands in France although Normandy is recently lost by King John (the evil brother of Richard Lionheart known by the general public from Robin Hood movies). Kind John died and his minor son is now King of England and the lands in France. His mother the queen mother arrives in Angouleme to rule her ancestral home in the name of her son.

Unbeknownst to me this novel was the middle part of a trilogy around the historical figure of Isabella of Angouleme and the people around her like her son the English king and her husband a count in what is now Southern France. You can read it without having read part 1 but of course will miss the end of her story when you do not read the last novel.

At the beginning of the novel I expected it to be a story centred around Isabella and we more or less looking out of her eyes. However the story is told as a kind of spider on the wall looking in on other people as well like the young king, his tutor, the French king, the count de Lusignan etcetera. This makes it less a novel and more a history book if you know what I mean. I did not at all identify myself with Isabella.

Because of that I would recommend this novel to people who like to read history books. For people who hope to find a medieval romance or adventure novel this book is not for them. I think the people who want to learn more about the historical facts of this era would enjoy reading the novel.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Review of "The line between", the new novel by Tosca Lee

This one kept me awake as it is very captivating. This novel is more or less two separate stories that connect in Wynter Roth. At the beginning of the novel Wynter is banned from the religious cult she grew up in and in Alaska a hog eats from a defrosted Caribou carcass.

One storyline is Wynter looking back on her life so far. As a young girl her mum took her daughters and joined a religious cult that runs a settlement and sells heirloom seeds. Through the eyes of a child and teenager we see the cracks in the veneer. This part of the novel was the most interesting and the best psychologically developed.

This story is woven into a pandemic disaster story. Some months after Wynter went to live with her late mother's best friend that lady's husband, a doctor, is called to research weird cases of early onset dementia that are popping up. One evening he calls them and warns them to leave the city as he expects a pandemic to happen. While the family sleeps in preparation of an early departure Wynter's sister rings the doorbell and hands Wynter a package related to the disease that was bought by the leader of the cult. From that moment on the story turns into an action thriller with Wynter crossing a country in chaos.

That action part of the story is very entertaining but lacks the depth of the other storyline. For instance I did not feel her grieve. But that might be due to the anti-anxiety medication she is still taking.  But developing a serum is as far as I know quite time-consuming.

What is interesting to see is how the writer puts one religious man who is a prepper (someone who thinks the world will end soon and hordes food and supplies) but who is utterly selfish against another prepper who is religious in his actions (and named something sounding like Peter's son) who is a good person and utterly unselfish. I like it when in books religious people are not painted as all nutcases or people faking goodness.

 I am wondering what the title mean. The fine line between good and bad? Or the line between the two stories? Or the line between the two sisters?

All in all a very entertaining book. A four stars out of five.

This is an ARC. The book will be available for sale in January 2019

Monday, 3 September 2018

A free novel for you: (today's offer) "Murder at Merisham Lodge: Miss Hart and Miss Hunter Investigate"

A #free copy for you:

In this delightful mystery set in 1930s England, house servants Joan and Verity put on their detective caps after their employer is murdered at her country estate. Can they save an innocent man by catching the real killer?

Review of "The Sadist and the stolen Princess"

Writing a story set in a historical period has one big pitfall : historical incorrectness. When I received this novel as an ARC to write a review about it that was what almost stopped me reading. I have the feeling the author mixed up the Edwardian era with the Victorian one. As far as I know London in 1880 had no electrical lighting nor telephones. Moreover the Duke is addressed in a fashion like in the Middle Ages. But I thought that the author needed a chance and it would be fair when I continued reading.

The thing is that the lovestory that develops is endearing. I have nothing with BDSM so that is a challenge in itself. But here we have a man who only learned that intimacy had to involve pain otherwise it would not arouse him and who regards himself as disfigured and a woman who needs a bit of fear. However it is made clear that hurt should never involve harm. So all what happens is a domineering man who might be rough or bites. But due to the bond they start to share mentally that is not even a prerequisite later on. I smiled when Willow remarked she could not understand 'Pride and Prejudice' and thought "Well it is a matter of what you fancy it seems".

This is again a timetravel romance. An American woman does research in London in the present day and is transported to the late 19th century. More or less right into the arms of the disgraced Duke of Warrick who takes her home. Hiding in his abandoned townhouse they get to know each other better. That part I liked best.

The book is part of a series and that might be the reason why his family history and what happened in India is not that well explained.

So far a 3 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Prince Edward's Warrant by Mel Starr - review of a historical mystery novel

When you are a fan of the Cadfael mysteries this might be the book for you as well. We are still in medieval England but a century after the Cadfael settings. Master Hugh is a surgeon who is summoned to the court of the crown prince of England, the man we now know as 'the black prince'. Prince Edward is not feeling well. His intestines are troubling him again and master Hugh has cured him before. However during the first evening meal at court the knight who accompanied Hugh to court drops dead. It is soon clear the man was poisoned. The prince gives master Hugh the task to go and find the murderer.

The murder mystery is not the biggest appeal of this novel but the worldbuilding is. I had the feeling I was watching a movie about 14th century London. The writer weaves all kind of historical, medical and theological details in the story and also uses a lot of contemporary words. You can almost see the houses in a street in London been built over the street and thus blocking the sunlight, the traffic jams on London bridge or the different food people dining in the manor house were given depending on their status and thus seating. I also was surprised of the difference between a surgeon and a physician in those days. It is like reading a history lesson disguised as a well written mystery.

It is part of a series but this novel was the first I read of that series - I was given it as a ARC to write an honest review about it - and it works well as a stand alone story. Though I would advice people to read the series in a chronological order as sometimes older events are mentioned.

a 5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

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