Another wonderful, thought-provoking historical romance from the awesome Courtney Milan; she really can do no wrong when it comes to romance. The Suff...moreAnother wonderful, thought-provoking historical romance from the awesome Courtney Milan; she really can do no wrong when it comes to romance. The Suffragette Scandal concludes the Brothers Sinster series, although this is one more novella forthcoming that features a character introduced in Suffragette Scandal. I’ll be sad to leave the series, but I can’t wait to see what this author dreams up next; I depend on her for great romances that make you think. Every time I pick up a Milan book I always expect the usual historical romance fare, and each and every time I am blown away with how out of the ordinary her tale unfolds, and her latest is no exception.
Frederica “Free” Marshall is a young woman of twenty-six and the owner and editor of the Women’s Free Press: By women – for women – about women. She certainly has challenges being an independent woman in 1877, but she doesn’t let that stop her from pushing away until she gets small freedoms for herself and other women in the world. However, as strong and independent as Free is, there are some who would go to any lengths to shut her down, especially since she turned down their “gracious” offer to become their mistress, and surprisingly Edward Clark was not that man, meaning Milan effectively turns the conventional and expected into something new and so much more meaningful.
Edward Clark is a forger and also the brother of James Delacey (the guy that propositioned Free) who is intent on ending the Women’s Free Press by any means necessary. Unfortunately for James, Edward has no intention of letting that happen and decides to help Free foil his brother that left him to die. Of course, Edward did not expect to be bowled over by Free:
Every time he thought he knew what to expect from her, she upset his expectations. He Felt buffeted about, unsure of his footing.
Also, she liked boxing.
God, this was bad. Very, very bad. (p. 47)
It may be bad for Edward but it’s certainly very, very good for readers.
The events in Edward’s past have made him cynical about life in general and he’s sincerely unconvinced that Free and women like her will ever accomplish their mission:
“Maybe in a hundred years of women voting, you might manage a single female Prime Minster.” He gave her a rough smile. “But just the one, and even so, people will never take her seriously. If she’s stern, they’ll blame her menstrual cycle. If she smiles, it will be proof that women are not strong enough to lead. That’s what you’re setting yourself up for, Miss Marshall. A lifetime of small wins, of victories that land like lead in your stomach. Your cause may be just. But you’re delusional if you think you can accomplish anything. You’re pitting yourself against an institution that is older than our country, Miss Marshall. It’s so old that we rarely even need to speak of it. Rage all you want, Miss Marshall, but you’ll have more success emptying the Thames with a thimble.” (p. 94)
Despite his belief in the fruitlessness of Free’s mission, he never once disrespects her and even comes to realize that there is value in the small victories. And that transformation, my friends, is what makes this so much better than your average historical romance. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly do not need thought-provoking romances every day of the week, but I loved that this was a refreshing change.
The Suffragette Scandal has all the hallmarks of a Milan novel. There’s the signature humour and wit, the fantastic historical details, and a strong romantic relationship that’s founded on something more than lust. I absolutely adored The Suffragette Scandal and I highly recommend it, as well as its predecessors. Luckily enough, the heroes and heroines from the previous books also make cameo appearances in this latest installment.
The very last thing that I have to comment on is the author’s choice to populate her novel with characters outside the usual social classes. While there are upper crust characters, I love that the author takes a risk and moves to the working class in her novels and novellas. The era that the author writes in was a time of change and I love the fact that Milan conveys this in many of her works, but has done so especially in the Brothers Sinster series. Suffragette Scandal was not filled with balls and fripperies, but instead took a closer look at everyday life, which is, again, a refreshing change in the historical romance genre.
Ultimately, I hope I have convinced someone to give Milan a try, I promise you wont be disappointed. And now, I must go and re-read some other Milan books, perhaps starting with The Duchess War, still my favourite of the Brothers Sinister series.
I moderate the nonfiction book club at the library where I work. I'm not much of a nonfiction reader, so at times this is a challenging task for me, e...more I moderate the nonfiction book club at the library where I work. I'm not much of a nonfiction reader, so at times this is a challenging task for me, especially picking the books to discuss for each monthly meeting. For July I decided on Orange is the New Black. I knew that it was a t.v. show, but beyond that, I was simply thinking practically. Book club sets cost money, and since Orange is the New Black is popular, I was pretty sure that it would at least get used again.
I didn't expect to like Orange is the New Black, but as soon as I got through chapter one, I was hooked. This was a great memoir and one that I found well written and perfect for readers who do not normally gravitate towards nonfiction (my hand is raised here). Kerman combines thought provoking information about the American prison system with engaging anecdotes from her time at Danbury Correctional Facility. There was a great balance between the info and Kerman's own experiences, and it was that combination that kept me flipping through the pages.
Orange is the New Black opened my eyes to the harsh realities of prison life, which often seemed contradictory. On one hand, prison didn't seem as bad as I expected. Kerman seemed to adapt well and conducted her stay in prison with poise and wisdom. But when you looked beyond Kerman's matter-of-fact tone, that's when you really understood how illogical the prison system really is. I think the scene that struck me the most is when Piper is attending a seminar to prep her and her fellow prisoners for release. Teaching the women about health was a correctional officer who worked in food services at Danbury:
The guy from food services was very nice and very funny. We liked him a lot. He told us that it was important to eat right, exercise, and treat your body as a temple. But he didn't tell us how to get health care services that people with no money could afford. He didn't tell us how we could quickly obtain birth control and other reproductive health services. He didn't recommend any solutions for behavioral or psychiatric care, and for sure some of those broads needed it. He didn't say what options there might be for people who had struggled with substance abuse, sometimes for decades, when they were confronted by old demons on the outside (p. 249-50).
I was shocked to learn that prisoners are given virtually no support in returning to the world outside of prison. How is this rehabilitative? To me, it seemed like most prisoners were set up for failure from the get-go. Unless a prisonor had the type of support system that Piper had, the world outside of prison can be a very scary place. Imagine being locked up for 15 years and smartphones are invented by the time you come out, how do you cope with that?
Orange is the New Black got me thinking about issues that I'd never considered before. This issue about the actual purpose of prison formed a large part of the discussion when the book club met at my library. Some people felt little sympathy for the prisoners, but most recognized how broken this system seems. Many of the "characters" that populate Kerman's book could definitely make it in the free world, and many wanted to, but without someone supporting them on the outside, many were doomed with failure.
Ultimately, I was surprised in reading Orange is the New Black. I didn't think I would like it, and I was worried that it would be a pity party offered up by the author. Kerman never once decried the fact that she was sent to prison. She admitted that she had committed a crime and was willing to accept the consequences, and I admire the author for that. This book was well-written and gets you thinking about a segment of the population that I don't think is on many people's radar. That fact that I'm thinking about the book and the issues that it raised days after finishing reading it, is a mark of how engaging I found this book. I don't have any interest in watching the Netflix show, but I am curious about how Canadian prisons stack up in comparison. Some future research my be required on my part.
The Sacred River was a lovely historical novel, beautifully written, and totally evocative of colonial Egypt. It was a somber novel, filled with the t...moreThe Sacred River was a lovely historical novel, beautifully written, and totally evocative of colonial Egypt. It was a somber novel, filled with the themes of death; however, it ends with rebirth, bringing a sense of hope to the final chapters.
The novel focuses on a short period for three very different, but related women. First, we have Harriet Heron, a young woman, who has been bedridden for most of her life due to asthma. When her doctor hints that there’s very little that he can do for her, Harriet begs him to recommend to her parents that she should travel to a warmer climate to help her breathing. Harriet has long had a fascination with Egypt and would love to explore the city of Thebes before she dies.
Harriet’s mother, Louisa, is convinced that traveling to Egypt will help her daughter so she cautiously takes on the adventure without the accompaniment of her husband. What Louisa doesn’t count on is the resurrection of her past during the journey. A past she desperately doesn't want anyone to kow about.
Lastly, Louisa’s sister-in-law and Harriet’s aunt, Yael, is also joining the ladies on the journey to Egypt. Yael is the last person to ever want to go on a spontaneous adventure, but her brother insists and Yael finds herself growing in the foreign city in an unexpected way. A staunch charity worker and devout woman, Yael finds herself learning much about the city and gaining a sense of freedom that she's never before experienced.
The Scared River wasn’t really what I was expecting. I was thinking that this would be more of an adventure story, and to an extent it was, it just was an adventure of personal growth rather than the conquering of terrain. Each of the three women begin the novel as somewhat pathetic creatures, but through their respective journeys they each learn something about themselves and what they learn allows them to go forward into a new life.
On an intellectual level, I loved the use of the imagery in the novel: the use of the Nile as a symbol for a journey, and the scarab for rebirth. The theme of death kept the novel somber in tone, but the rebirths of all the characters at the end left you with a feeling of hope. For me, the structure of this novel was beautifully rendered. There was no question that this was a well-written novel.
However, on a less intellectual level, I wish I hadn’t had to leave the book just as things were changing for the characters. For most of the novel, I was waiting for Harriet, Louisa and Yael to come to realizations unique to their situations, and at the end they all got to that point, but readers aren’t treated to what happens after that. While I think part of the point of the novel was to end on the idea that life has changed for the three women, they have all experienced a rebirth varying degrees; I personally would have liked to know what their new life was like. But then again, that’s just the kind of reader I am. As it stands, I’ll just have to appreciate the beauty of the symbolism of this one.
In terms of the characters, they were all interesting, but I felt that I connected with Harriet the most. Perhaps it's the that I'm closer in age to Harriet and have also been fascinated with Egypt, but it could also be the fact that out of the three, Harriet seemed to stand the best chance of really moving forward. Harriet was also the closest to death because of her asthma, and her gaining new life in Egypt, gave me the sense of hope that she can have a new and full life ahead of her.
Ultimately, The Sacred River was a wonderful piece of armchair travel and I feel like I was given a sense of Egypt in 1882. The historical setting was what immediately drew me to the title, but the crafting of the novel is what had me hooked. It’s not a happy or light book, but one that gets you thinking about the various manifestations of journeys that life can take.
I enjoyed this final installment in the trilogy - I'm happy to finally know who was behind it all. It was sweet and romantic. Full review on my b...more3.5/5
I enjoyed this final installment in the trilogy - I'm happy to finally know who was behind it all. It was sweet and romantic. Full review on my blog soon...
Updated, July 23, 2014:
I have to admit that I'm a bit picky with my historical romances and generally I will not pick one up if it features a widow. I'm not really sure why, but as soon as I read that in a description, I just feel put off. That said, I made an exception for Manda Collins' Wicked Widow trilogy because I adored her Ugly Ducklings series, especially How to Romance a Rake. So with some trepidation I read the first two books in Wicked Widows. The first one was great, I was less enthralled with book two, but Why Lords Lose Their Hearts was the best of the bunch.
Perdita is the widowed Duchess of Ormond, and as readers learned in book one, Perdita, her sister Isabella, and their friend, Georgina, were all present the night that the Duke of Ormond died. In fact, they appear to have a had a hand in ushering the duke off into the afterlife. Not that they didn't have good reason. Ormond was abusing Perdita, and had been since the honeymoon period of their marriage faded. On this particular evening, Ormond threatened Perdita's life and the ladies had to do something to stop him. Now that Perdita is free from her husband she has been considering marrying again; however, she no longer trusts her own judgement and is unwilling to marry for love. If she didn't suspect that Ormond would hurt her, how can she trust that she can make a better decision the second time around? Unfortunately, Perdita's husband hunt is complicated by threatening letters, indicating that someone knows what truly happened to the duke and means to make Perdita pay.
Coming to Perdita's aid is the former and current Duke of Ormond's man of affairs, Lord Archer. Archer has pretty much been in love with Perdita since he's met her, and now that she is free to remarry he's starting to press his suit. Perdita certainly feels an attraction to Archer, but she'd rather have an affair and marry someone that she doesn't actually care about. To an extent, I think Perdita's opinion is reasonable, but I couldn't help but view as a little demeaning towards Archer, and you can't help but hope that Perdita will come to this realization on her own. Nothing like a death threat to bring two people together.
Archer is extremely patient with Perdita. Now that he's aware of the abuse that she suffered at the hands of her first husband, he does feel guilty but he thankfully never goes into overbearing territory, allowing Perdita to come into her own independence once again. If you're looking for a beta hero, Archer is your man. These types of heroes are why I like Collins' historicals. She doesn't write super overbearing alpha males, which is a nice change in a genre filled with the domineering rakes. So if you're looking for a more balanced romance, Why Lords Lose Their Hearts is the romance for you.
I should also mention the intrigue plot that cropped up in the final installment of the series. Readers of the first two will know that all three women that witnessed the death of Ormond received threatening notes. In Why Lords Lose Their Hearts we finally learn who the mastermind is behind the "I know what you did last season" notes. There are several suspects offered up, and it's not till the end that suspicions are confirmed. I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of the intrigue element, I'm perfectly happy for my romances to be about the hero and heroine falling in love and not investigating a mystery. So I personally wasn't that invested in the intrigue plot and I could have done without it. I'd really like to see the author write something with less intrigue, since I think she conveys a great emotional relationship in her romances, sometimes I feel like the mystery gets in the way.
Ultimately, Why Lords Lose Their Hearts was a nice conclusion to the trilogy. All the loose ends were tied and everyone got their happy ending. You couldn't go wrong with this one if you're looking for a romantic read with a side of mystery.
*Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley. (less)
An Inconvenient Kiss was an unusual historical romance as it wasn't set in the ballrooms of the ton, and I enjoyed this change of pace immensely. It w...moreAn Inconvenient Kiss was an unusual historical romance as it wasn't set in the ballrooms of the ton, and I enjoyed this change of pace immensely. It was lush and exotic and the perfect summer escape read.
Georgianna Phillips was enjoying the season and batting off the suitors when one indiscretion forced her from her charmed life. When Georgianna refused to name the man that kissed her, she was shipped off to France to live with her cousin. Over the years Georgianna has managed to make a life for herself and her cousin by assisting their grandfather in writing his travel journals. She has seen far more of the world than she would have as a sheltered young lady, but rumours of her wild lifestyle continue to follow her, giving her an unwarranted reputation.
When her grandfather decides to visit India, Georgianna is forced to deal with her past when Simon Ashford is ordered to usher her around the city. His real mission, outlined by Georgianna's brother, is to make sure that she stays out of trouble and bring no more scandal to her family's name. The problem is that Simon was the man Georgianna kissed, and she refused his subsequent proposal of marriage (who want to marry out of duty anyway?). However, neither has forgotten their connection and an Indian adventure might just be the perfect way to rekindle their romance.
An Inconvenient Kiss was a fun read. I loved the Indian setting and I'm fascinated and interested in colonialism during this period. While An Inconvenient Kiss didn't recognize the negative aspects of the British in Indian, the atmosphere was one I enjoyed reading about. I think the character's attitude's towards this new land was fairly common. Georgianna's grandfather was an explorer, and while they wanted to showcase local customs, they were always aware of their audience and the dark side of British colonialism doesn't sell. That said, the author did a fantastic job of creating an exotic atmosphere. India became more than window dressing, which I think is frequently the case in historicals set in a foreign land.
Setting the locale aside, I was left with mixed feelings about the romance. It's clear from the start that Georgianna and Simon have chemistry and the antagonist relationship when they meet again was great, but it got old quickly. The lack of trust on Georgianna's part was frustrating since Simon did all that he could to prove himself to her. I would have liked to have seen Georgianna's trust issues resolved a bit sooner and I think it would have made this a stronger romance overall.
I also had an issue with Georgianna's brother, Nath. He was absolutely terrible to her and always the first one to believe the rumours about her scandalous past, despite the fact that there was absolutely no basis in fact for them. Naturally, Georgianna is not to pleased to be back in her brother's proximity. She's more than aware that her brother isn't out to protect her but the family name. Yet, but the end, the two seem to have teamed up and reached a reconciliation. For me, this seemed out of character and to have very little basis on any real forgiving feelings between the two of them. I was really interested in the brother-sister relationship and would have actually have liked Georgianna to have knocked some sense into Nath - someone needs to. Perhaps there's another book in the works with Nath learning his lesson?
Lastly, I feel I have to mention Georgianna's beauty, mainly because it was brought up so frequently throughout the novel. From the start, Georgianna is considered a beauty, one that attracts the male gaze, and because of the way she looks, everyone assumes that she's free with her favours. On one hand, I liked the fact that it was brought home that you can't judge a person on their appearance; however, I felt the mentioning of Georgianna's beauty got a tad repetitive. Everyone was falling over themselves in Georgianna's presence and I'm just not sure I'm convinced that so many people (ie. men) would be so foolish. Simon was obviously set up as the only sensible option and a refreshing change for Georgianna.
Ultimately, this was a fun read. The adventure in the Indian jungle was amusing and the entire book was fast-paced. While I thought there were some areas for improvement, I do think this is a great book for some escapist reading. The author is one that I will continue to watch for.
Nalini Singh was recommended to me by a co-worker after we raved and discussed Anne Bishop's Written in Red. Of course, I decided to start with the mo...moreNalini Singh was recommended to me by a co-worker after we raved and discussed Anne Bishop's Written in Red. Of course, I decided to start with the most recent book in Singh's Psy-Changeling series. I wanted to jump right in and the latest book to the series seemed intriguing, despite my long standing ambivalence to urban fantasy; I'm not generally an urban fantasy fan, Bishop's series being one of the exceptions. To my surprise, I loved Shield of Winter and I immediately snagged the other books in the series on my lunch break.
Shield of Winter is set in Singh's rather complex world where humans, psys and changelings all co-exist. This installment is more deeply embedded in the psy world than the changelings as the psy's are dealing with the aftermath of the fall of Silence. Silence was a protocol or way of life that stripped the emotions away from all the psy's - making for a very cold existence. Since the fall of Silence a virus has been attacking the psy's and the psy's only hope is the empaths of their race. Shield of Winter focuses on how and if the virus can be combated.
Ivy is an empath. All her life she has felt that she was defective; she was never able to rid herself of emotions under Silence. As a result, her parents have done their best to hide her from the larger world. They had succeeded, but now Ivy's help is needed. Vasic, a deadly Arrow, has been sent to get Ivy's assistance and protect her from the psy community who's looking for a scapegoat in the chaos of daily life. While many feel that the empath's are the problem, it is soon clear that the empath's are the only one's that can circumvent the virus.
I was completely blown away by the world building in this one. I've always been aware of Singh's series; there's many that rave about it on Goodreads, but I didn't know how intricate her world would be. This society that she's created was so fascinating. Each of the races in the world have such different characteristics and customs, they were so interesting to learn about. The concept of living without emotion was intriguing and I loved that the author explored how these people have to now deal with what's it like to now be able to express them without fear of reprisal.
This newly discovered emotional state was what I found so interesting about the romance between Ivy and Vasic. Ivy was an empath, so she's always been more aware of her emotional state even if she thought it made her unnatural. At the same time, she's never been in a romantic relationship in the traditional sense; it's never something that's been allowed. Cold and sterile contracts sure, but a true relationship? It just wasn't on the table for Ivy (or anyone else). Likewise, Vasic is also a psy and has also never had the experience of being in a relationship. But unlike Ivy, Vasic has undergone severe training (or torture) as an Arrow. This training has seemingly stripped him of any ability to express emotions; however, with Ivy, he learns that it's possible to be more than just a soldier or killer. It was lovely to watch these two explore their new-found emotions. They certainly had their complications and uncertainties, but this added to the overall tension of the book and made for an excellent romance.
The only thing that I struggled with in Shield of Winter was the numerous other characters that were mentioned. Overall, I think Singh did a remarkable job at making this book accessible for someone new to the series, but I definitely felt that I was missing something. Readers spent time with several other couples from previous books, and I personally felt a little lost and impatient to read their stories. I also felt a little out of touch with what life for the psy's would have been like before the fall of Silence. I've very curious about this, so it's a good thing I've tracked down the previous books in the series! This one likely would have been a five star read had I read the other books in the series (as I will be doing as soon as possible).
Shield of Winter was an outstanding read and I'm so glad that I took a chance on this series. The world is fascinating and I can't wait to learn more, although I have a sneaky feeling that I'm going to be more interested in the psy world than I will be the changelings. I don't have a lot of books to compare it to, so I would love recommendations for other similar books.
More like a 3.5/5. It was fun but I felt the ending was a little lackluster.
I tracked down Beyond Sunrise after realizing Candice Proctor is also the...moreMore like a 3.5/5. It was fun but I felt the ending was a little lackluster.
I tracked down Beyond Sunrise after realizing Candice Proctor is also the wonderful author, C.S. Harris (of the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries). I had no idea that Harris also wrote historical romances under another name, so I had to check one out considering how obsessed I am with the St. Cyr series. While there was a lot to like in Beyond Sunrise I do think the author's mystery series is much stronger.
India McKnight is a travel writer and she has come to the South Pacific to work on a new piece. Unluckily, India stumbles into a bit of a trap that's been set for reluctant guide, Jack Ryder, who is a wanted man. When she's taken hostage by the brash Jack she soon learns there's more to the events that have put a price on Jack's head, and there's much more behind that man's careless smile.
For his part, Jack's not all that thrilled to be dragging India around. He's not a fan of her prim and spinsterish ways, but like India learns about him, Jack also discovers that there's more to India than she appears on first meeting. Thankfully for both of them, the British navy and cannibals are hunting them down, forcing the pair into closer contact. The more time they spend together, the more they realize that the other might just be what they are looking for.
Overall, I thought Beyond Sunrise was a nice beach read. I'm happy to have read it, but I don't think it's one that will stick out in my memory. What I did like was the sense of adventure and exotic locale that was part of Beyond Sunrise. Readers were treated to a great setting and with this author, it was more than window dressing. One of the things I love most about the St. Cyr mysteries is the rich historical London setting; Harris does an amazing job of conveying daily life in the Regency era. This sense of place is no different in Beyond Sunrise. The setting was lush and exotic and it became part of the story in Beyond Sunrise.
India and Jack were both interesting characters, and their bantering dynamic was amusing, and reminded me of several movies that I've included at the end of this post. India especially was an interesting character. In a lot of ways she reminded me of Hero from the St. Cyr series, which I liked. She also reminded me of Amity, also a travel writer, from Amanda Quick's Otherwise Engaged. However, when I finished the book I realized the characters both seemed a little one dimensional, which was disappointing because I find Harris' characters from St. Cyr to be so well developed. For both India and Jack I found that certain things from their past were just dropped in to make them seem like they had more depth, but in each case these past experiences weren't used to their full effect. I'll go into that, so be warned, spoilers ahead.
(view spoiler)[With India, it's stated on a number of occasions that she lost her virginity just because her rational mind wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Okay, that's fine. But I felt that that experience kept being used by India as something that's made her the way she is and how she views relationships. The reader never finds out more about this apparently defining moment in India's life, so in a way I question how important this really was to India, making me think she's more of a flat character. I applaud the author for not making India's past relationship a big deal in her new one, but I did feel that it would have made sense to be explored a bit more.
Now with Jack his past was explored a little bit more. He had a wife and daughter and when the navy came to retrieve him after learning that he was alive after falling over board, his wife was killed. In his guilt, Jack leaves his daughter behind and goes on the run. In this sense, I think that Jack was a better developed character than India, that is, until he is reunited with his daughter. To me, this is kind of a big deal and Jack keeps saying it's a big deal, but there was never a heart-to-heart between the two. I never really felt that there was a connection between father and daughter, and I was disappointed in this since it didn't seem to ring true for the character. (hide spoiler)]
Ultimately, I liked Beyond Sunrise. The exotic location was great and it really became part of the story. What didn't work for me was the characters. Both Jack and India were fun, but they lacked depth. I still recommend it, it's a great book to read this summer if you don't get to go on vacation (armchair travel, if you will), but I wouldn't go in expecting the level of detail that some romances go into.
For my recommended movies, see my blog. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Dragons & Dirigibles is the seventh in Cindy Spencer Pape’s Gaslight Chronicles, a series that has hooked me from book one. I was hoping the book...moreDragons & Dirigibles is the seventh in Cindy Spencer Pape’s Gaslight Chronicles, a series that has hooked me from book one. I was hoping the book seven would return to the family that started it all; however, this one focused on Melody McKay, sister to Connor of book five, Cards & Caravans.
Melody McKay crash-lands her airship on the Earl of Blackwell’s estate. A gothic and desolate place plagued by smugglers. Even more disturbing to Melody is the Earl himself, ex-Royal Navy Captain Victor Arrington; a man who has firm ideas of women and their exact place in society. It should come to no surprise that Melody is none to pleased with Victor’s attitude, especially when she finds herself rather attracted to this prudish man.
Like Melody, Victor finds himself reluctantly attracted to Melody. As the new Earl to the estate he’s now under the burden of a number of new duties; number one is the care of his niece, Emma. Victor is more than aware that it’s now his duty to marry, secure an heir and a proper mother for Emma. Of course, Victor is quite sure that Melody does not fit the requirements for his future Countess. Nonetheless, he finds himself joining forces with her and her contacts in the Order to get to the bottom of the smuggling operation happening on his estate. Naturally, this help means that Victor and Melody will pretend to be engaged; the only problem will be ending this false engagement when the mystery is solved.
Dragons & Dirigibles is a fun read and I think fans of the series will be pleased with another adventure. I was personally rather disappointed in the previous novella, so I was happy to return to more familiar faces. I liked the concept of this one with a more prudish hero falling for the unconventional heroine, but something about their relationship fell flat for me. For most of the books in the series, the tension between the hero and heroine has been palpable; however, in this one I just didn’t feel it. The attraction seemed sudden and a tad forced. I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly was missing, but I wasn’t completely satisfied.
I also grew frustrated with the added foreshadowing of what I assume will be book eight. Nell and Tom are both two of the children from book one, and it’s been clear from several previous books that they have an attraction to one another, but in this book a obstacle is put in their way. I found the inclusion of these scenes to be a little detrimental to Melody and Victor’s story. Dragons & Dirigibles is not Nell and Tom’s story and I think they got too much “screen time” that it took away from the main plot. These are short novels, and the format restricts, as a full-length novel does not. I think this one could have been stronger with less reference to a future book in the series.
Overall, I liked Dragons & Dirigibles. It has the same elements that I’ve liked in the series from book one, and as always, I enjoy the romance element. For me, this one wasn’t the strongest book in the series, and it mainly worked to whet my appetite for the next book rather than be invested in the book that I was actually reading. It wasn't bad, and I enjoyed reading it, but I'm not sure this one will stick out in my mind.
Cute and enjoyable, but I think it was a little overkill with Lanie's father and his background. It seemed over the top and unnecessary. Overall, I li...moreCute and enjoyable, but I think it was a little overkill with Lanie's father and his background. It seemed over the top and unnecessary. Overall, I liked it. (less)