Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Historical Recommended Reads

Hi Cozies! I've decided to do two Recommended Reads posts for the third quarter of 2010 because it seems I've read quite a bit in the last three months. Quite a few books wound up on my keeper shelf and to avoid a post that just keeps going and going, I'm doing historicals today and highlighting contemporaries and paranormals on the 16th. Keep in mind that not all these books were published this year. I believe strongly in trying both recent titles and not-so-recent titles. Most titles listed today were reviewed for The Season. (Note: Books reviewed for The Season are ranked on a scale of 1-10 while personal reviews are ranked on a 1-5 scale.)

Devil's Highlander by Veronica Wolff (My Review: LOVE) - This book begins a new saga, Clan MacAlpin, for author Veronica Wolff. And an exciting series launch it is! From the first page to the last, I was completely swept away by Devil's Highlander and enjoyed every moment lost in Cormac and Marjorie’s tale. I felt that it is also a unique tale, a departure from the usual Highlander romance setting and plotline. Amidst the well-researched streets and docks of Aberdeen, the book takes on weighty issues like human bondage and child labor as well as explores the depths to which guilt and blame can destroy lives. I look forward to the next story in the Clan MacAlpin saga. Meanwhile, Devil’s Highlander has all the right ingredients for a must-read historical romance.... (Read the full review at The Season)

Never A Bride by Amelia Grey (My Review: 8/10) - Clever characters, smooth prose, and a fluid pace make Amelia Grey’s Never A Bride an enjoyable read. This book is both romance and mystery as the heroine, Mirabella Whittingham, risks her reputation to find the scoundrel who led her family’s ward, Sarah, to an untimely death. To do so, she must kiss every titled bachelor who fits the description Sarah left behind of her “Prince Charming.” Conflict ensues when the fiancĂ© who abandoned Mirabella for America returns. Grey’s voice and writing style are on par with Julia Quinn’s. My only issue with it is the tendency to repeat information the reader already knows. Her love of the Regency time period radiates from the pages of this book. It’s everything I love about romance in Regency times and I highly recommend it to fellow lovers of the genre.... (Read the full review at The Season)

All Night with a Rogue by Alexandra Hawkins (My Review: 5/5) - I read this first book in the Lords of Vice series after the second, Till Dawn with the Devil (below). Although both books are standout Regency romances, the Lords of Vice debut is superb! I enjoyed every moment with both the hero, an unrepentent rake, and the heroine. I've mentioned before that it's hard to find a romance where I enjoy the main characters in equal measure. I thought the villains of this book were also well-written.

Till Dawn with the Devil by Alexandra Hawkins (My Review: 8/10) -
This is a page-turning read that turns out a most unexpected villain. Still, the story resolved itself quite nicely and I was satisfied with the outcome. There is no doubt that Alexandra Hawkins is making a splash in historical romance and fans of the genre who haven’t read the Lords of Vice series should sit up and take notice. These men are downright delicious. I haven’t been this excited about Regency heroes in some time. They are the ultimate bad boys of the ton, rogues and scoundrels to the last, but fresh and addictive, adding their own brand of devilry to the Regency scene. I cannot wait for more in this series and have already scoped out the next title, due out early next year.... (Read the full review at The Season)

Something About Her by Jeannie Ruesch (My Review: 4/5) - I was eager to read this author's debut because it was presented so well in all the advertising I saw on it. The story was not without a few issues, but overall I had fun reading this Regency. Ruesch's voice flows well and is almost light-hearted. I liked the heroine and learned to love the hero. There are several sub-plots and villains, but they are all tied up in the end. The prose is smart and polished, but it was the ending that really got me on an emotional level. I look forward to seeing Jeannie's Ruesch's future works!

Scandalous by Candace Camp (My Review: 6.5/10) - Within the first few pages, this book didn't waste any time sweeping me along for the ride. In Scandalous, the reader gets a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Hamilton family and the mystery of John Wolfe's identity. The book expands on that, weaving the motivations and colorful personalities of neighbors and friends into the fabric of the story and its suspenseful elements. Despite a few story issues, it isn't hard at all to imagine why Candace Camp is a historical favorite. Her writing is exquisite, the work of a consummate professional. Scandalous is written in so well a hand and so well-paced I was almost surprised to find myself flipping pages so fast. Suffice it to say, I could hardly put this book down once I became immersed in the story. The sub-plots and arcs were no doubt a complex balancing act, but Camp fashions it all together beautifully, crafting this suspenseful historical with finesse.

My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme (My Review: 5/5) - I always like to toss in a little non-fiction, just to mix things up every quarter. After seeing Julie & Julia this past spring, I couldn't help but pick up Julia Child's memoirs. I knew it would be a treat, but it went so much further than I thought in terms of depth of emotion and political overview. I loved this book mostly because Julia Child wasn't just an innovative chef - she was also a highly disciplined writer. I could not put this book down once it started and I didn't want it to end. It's one of the best memoirs I've read in some time. The most fascinating thing about it was the glimpse into post-war France. It wasn't just the food that left me hungry at the end of of every page; it was the colorful descriptions of Paris and the French countryside.

Be sure to check out The Season for upcoming fourth quarter historical romance reviews....

Stay tuned for more third quarter recommended reads later this week! And readers, I'd love to hear your recommended reads from July, August, and September!

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