Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Back to "Normal"

Of course, in the time it's taken me to write my update posts, I've now got eight more books that I've read and need to blather on about. I'll be doing them in two batches and be caught up again a lot sooner than that last lapse. I mean, eight is a hell of a lot better than 57, so this shouldn't take any time at all.

I'll start with the Romance novels, since that'll knock off four.

'The Edge of Impropriety' by Pam Rosenthal features a heroine who is an author, so it appealed to me right away. The hero is an antiquarian, so that got me even more interested. The book was smart and engaging and full of awesome dialogue and had a young child--well, a twelve-year-old girl--who was as smart and confident as her elders, but not in an annoyingly precocious way, which was such a refreshing change from how children are usually portrayed in these sorts of novels. The hero and heroine are also older (she's thirty-six and he's in his forties, at a guess) than one normally sees, and I love to see that. It means they both have pasts and that makes them interesting as characters. Pam Rosenthal is definitely an author I'm looking forward to seeing more from.

'Wicked Surrender' by Jade Lee was also quite excellent and I'm glad I already have 'Wicked Seduction' on my TBR pile. The heroine here is an actress who wants nothing more than the security of marriage. She becomes engaged to a young man whose family naturally deems her a most unsuitable wife. Even before the betrothal, said family sets plans in motion to separate the two. Of course, the plans backfire and the family member they elect  to seduce her away ends up falling for her, so they end up related to her anyway. There was an interesting twist that set up, and made me anxious to read, 'Wicked Seduction'. Maybe I'll do that tonight.

'Nearly a Lady' by Alissa Johnson, sadly, didn't quite match up to the quality of those two novels. Perhaps if I had read it first, I would have enjoyed it more. Unfortunately, the heroine just came across as very young. She was supposed to be twenty-five, but there were times when she spoke and acted like a child. She was supposed to be naive and sheltered, having grown up all-but-alone in the Scottish countryside, but even with her limited social interaction, I would have expected her to be more mature. Unfortunately, once I started viewing her as little more than a child, the whole book became kind of squicky.

'His Mistress by Christmas' by Victoria Alexander was witty and charming and featured another pair of very grown up protagonists. It also has an element of farce to it, in that there's a marriage that isn't quite and two families who descend on our hero and heroine for Christmas and endless attempts to keep the truth from everyone, who, of course, all find out anyway.

I could also spend some time on Terry Pratchett's 'Snuff', since it had a lot of elements often found in historical romances--decamping to one's country house, a mama with a passel of unmarried daughters, a neighborhood bluestocking who upsets the village's ideas of propriety--but it also had gnomes and crime and a thrilling fight on board a boat on an out-of-control river and Sir Terry's usual insights into human nature in the guise of lighthearted fantasy. So, hey, I guess I have told you about it without really meaning to. Which means I've killed five of eight and only have three to go 'til I'm completely and totally caught up. Not bad.

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