Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

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.

Goodreads | Amazon | nook

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.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

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.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

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.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

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.

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | nook | Sony | Kobo

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.

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Lazaraspaste came to the romance genre at the belated age of twenty-six. While she prefers historicals, she's really up for anything . . . much like her view of food! Some of her favorite authors include Jo Beverley, Anne Stuart, Lisa Kleypas and Joan Smith. Once a YA librarian, she is now working towards an advanced degree in literature with the mad idea of becoming a critic and teacher. Though she loves romance, fantasy has always been her first love. She hates never-ending series and believes the ending is the most important part.

12 Comments

  1. Jan
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 10:23:14

    Wow. I clicked on a lot of links with this one. Most of these look intriguing at the least.

    Out of curiosity, why an ex-fantasy reader?

  2. Lazaraspaste
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 11:52:52

    Not totally an ex-fantasy reader. But fantasy as a genre has this annoying tendency to have sequels. Lots and lots of sequels. I HATE sequels. Trilogoies I can deal with. But I think you can’t have a narrative arc without an ending and the eternal series that fantasy authors love to have (MORE drama! MORE death! MORE! MORE!)drives me up the wall. So yeah. I love a good fantasy novel but I also love an ending.

  3. Julie
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 13:01:38

    I am reading No Proper Lady, too! I am only about 100 pages in, but I like it so far. I like Joan, too, and find her unique, so hopefully I will remember this book longer than 2 days after I finish it (lol)

  4. Jan
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 13:19:55

    @Lazaraspaste: I can see where you’re coming from, although I feel that lately that’s true for a lot of romance as well.
    Series, series, series, they are everywhere. (And I hate waiting on the resolution oh so very much.)

  5. Jennie
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 13:42:34

    Lazarapaste, I also read the Jillian Hunter. I didn’t care for it too much; it ended up just being very blah for me. I hope you like it better.

    The Fine book sounds fascinating – is it very sciency? I can’t handle anything too technical, but the subject interests me a lot.

  6. Lazaraspaste
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 14:42:45

    @Julie: I’ll be reviewing it, long form, so look for that.

    @Jan: Yeah, it isn’t so much waiting for resolutions that I hate, but NO resolution. I mean, there are a lot of fantasy novels that just keep on going when they should have hit an ending. But you are right, it is something we are seeing more in romance, especially PNR.

    @Jennie: I can deal with meh but blah. We’ll see. Like I said, not very far into it yet. But the Fine is awesome. It isn’t super techy, and I’m not a science person either so. Yeah. An interesting well written book that really examines that prejudices that blind scientists as they approach data.

  7. JoannaV
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 15:31:17

    No Proper Lady looks very interesting, and I really appreciate that Sourcebooks charges less for ebooks than for print – something you can’t say for most publishers.

    And the Gender book by Cordelia Fine sounds really interesting. If you want a similar view of how prejudices have affected our view of nutrition and diet read Gary Taubes “Why We Get Fat” – it will make you wonder about how objective science really is when human prejudices are involved.

  8. Liz Mc
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 18:12:42

    @Jennie: I LOVED Fine’s book. She discusses a lot of science and social science research, but in terms aimed at a general reader, so it is very accessible. And she is really funny.

  9. Darlynne
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 18:22:29

    I really enjoyed Native Star and am hopeful about The Hidden Goddess. There were quite a few new books over the summer (summer for me, everyone else was on to them sooner) that I have my fingers crossed for worthy sequels. Minor disappointment or letdown I can handle; train wrecks, not so much, but let’s think positively.

  10. Belinda Kroll
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 08:08:30

    Hi Lazaraspaste, I’m glad you’re enjoying the book despite the problematic elements! I know I’ll have to work on some things for my next book. Each one is a learning process!

    Quick note: the listed title of my book is incorrect. It’s “Haunting Miss Trentwood,” not “The Haunting of Miss Trentwood.” As such, the search terms for Goodreads are incorrect.

    Thanks!

  11. Jane
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 08:14:19

    @Belinda Kroll Fixed. thanks for the heads up.

  12. Jane
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 08:15:14

    @Jennie I read the Hunter book too and while I appreciated the non noble class of the protags, it lost a lot of steam after the opening. I sincerely wanted to like it more.

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