Two books for the price of one today! Two completely different books, at that. Both of these titles are publishing in July and feature characters who wear capes, but that's pretty much where the similarities end.
'A Gentleman Never Tells' by Amelia Grey is an Historical Romance set in London in some vague, undefined Historical Era of Restrictive Undergarments for Women. There are dogs in it. And a bosom actually heaves. Yup. Right there on page 271, the heroine's bosom heaved. And, overall, it's actually pretty good. I definitely felt satisfied with the ending, though it did feel rushed at one point and the dognapping subplot seemed rather unnecessary. Not that the dogs themselves were unnecessary. Not at all. Brutus--the heroine's giant, aging mastiff--was one of my favorite characters and had quite the satisfying character arc. Prissy--the hero's sorta-Pomeranian (her lineage is a bit muddy) inherited from his mother--was off the page for much of the book, but still managed to capture my heart, even though I don't care for small dogs.
'Shadowcry' by Jenna Burtenshaw is a YA novel that takes place in a land called "Albion", so I immediately assumed it was England. It started out feeling kind of medieval-ish, but then there was a bookshop, so I had to move it up in time to probably the latter half of the 18th Century. Then there was a train, so I had to move it up by at least another century. And then there were flourescent lights. I have no idea when this book is supposed to take place. I'm not even sure that Albion is England, though it does appear to be an island nation at war with "The Continent". At some point, though, I realized that the story had taken over and I didn't really care where or when it took place. The characters were too interesting. Oh, not the heroine. She was fine, but not compelling. I was much more interested in Edgar and especially in Silas. Edgar has secrets, which is excellent in the boy who may or may not become a love interest. Silas is set up as a villain, and he is, to an extent. What I ended up most enjoying about this book was the fact that Silas was a layered, nuanced character who I wanted to know more about. Plus, he had a crow. I like crows.
So, that's what I read last night. Or, in the case of 'A Gentleman Never Tells', finished reading. Tonight, I get to start reading for August. There's usually a break between months, but July's books took longer than I anticipated, so the stack of manga that I was looking forward to diving into will just have to wait.