What Lazaraspaste is Reading—August to September
Haunting of Miss Trentwood by Belinda Kroll, Self_Published
Mary Trentwood’s father is dead, but not gone. His ghost lingers, interfering with Mary’s life. Things become even more complicated with the arrival of Alexander Hartwell, a barrister looking into the blackmail of his elder sister. An interesting and different historical romance. There are some problematic aspects, but overall I’m enjoying it so far. When I finish this, stay tuned for a full review.
The Temporary Wife by Mary Balogh, Signet
I got my copy at a USB for $2, but you all can find this book now available in ebook format starting in February 2012. So yay! Charity Duncan desperately needs a job, but like all of us in desperate need of a job, the interview process isn’t going so well. Her last chance is as a governess for a Mr. Earheart. But Mr. Earheart is really the Marquess of Stanton, and he doesn’t need a governess. He needs a wife. A wife that will prove to his father, once and for all, that he may be the heir to a duke, but he is not his subject. Balogh either really works for me or really doesn’t. There are a lot of genre tropes at work in this novel, but somehow Balogh keeps them from sliding into cliché. I particularly like Charity’s overall dignity and practicality when it comes to her situation. She can come off a little like Pollyanna, what with the bringing warmth to a cold and dysfunctional family thing, but the prose keeps it from descending into the saccharine. B.
A Bride Unveiled by Jillian Hunter, Signet Select
I’m barely into this, but so far I like it a lot. My BFF has long been a Jillian Hunter fan, especially of the Boscastle series. What I like so far is as follows: the fact that the hero is NOT an aristocratic. Lord, I’m sick of aristocrats. I’m also rather fond of the strange shifts in temporality and character POV that I think do a good job of capturing those early teen years when things are both excruciatingly slow and too quick all at once. We’ll see how I feel about this book when I more than three chapters in.
No Proper Lady by Isabel Cooper, Sourcebooks Casablanca
The book blurb calls this “Terminator meets My Fair Lady,” which appeals to me since I’m on this kick about weird, mean, and ugly heroines. So far, so interesting. The world-building is solid. Really solid, especially since this is a time travel book. Time travel so rarely makes sense. So either you have to have such an awesome story that nobody cares (see the first Back to the Future movie. Still, so good after 26 years). The characters are well-drawn and do not fall into the types we usually see when we read historical romance. The magic makes sense, too, and this is something I appreciate as an ex-fantasy reader. It has a great opening chapter that really sucked me in and at this point, I very much like Joan, the heroine. Stay tuned, once again, for a full length review when I finish this sucker.
The Hidden Goddess by M.K. Hobson, Spectra
I reviewed the first book here at Dear Author, and I’ve been waiting for the second one. Only a few weeks have passed since the end of Native Star, but we find Emily Edwards and Dreadnought Stanton are already facing trouble again. Stanton has become the leader of the Credmantic Institution in New York City, and Emily has become his fiancé—a role which is just not as interesting or glamorous, as much as she loves Stanton. This book answers the questions that the last one raised, but did not. Mostly those questions dealing with Emily’s past. This was a very solid read for me but not as delightful as the first book. I’m not sure why, still. I think, perhaps intentionally, the emotional atmosphere of the book is a lot more frustrating and tense. As such, I found myself being similarly frustrated and tense. While this is a testament to the writing, it did dispel what I found so charming in the first book. Overall, an good sequel and a nice ending to Emily and Dreadnought’s story. B.
Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine, W.W. Norton & Co.
I’ve been wanting to read this one for quite some time now. Fine goes about debunking the myth that there are hardwired sexual differences in the human brain. I’m not that deep into it, but I appreciate what Fine does in the Introduction by way of drawing parallels to current rhetoric regarding the mental and intellectual differences of men and women and their historical counterpoints. It is disturbing to see how much things have not changed when it comes to attitudes about what is male and what is female. I really look forward to finishing this book.