This is the second in the Vlad Taltos series, although if you follow internal chronology it predates the first novel, _Jhereg_. This isGenre: Fantasy
This is the second in the Vlad Taltos series, although if you follow internal chronology it predates the first novel, _Jhereg_. This is the story of Vlad as a young turf Boss, experiencing his first boundary dispute with another turf boss in the Jhereg. If you liked the first novel in the series, you'll probably like this one, as it has the same kind of pacing and humor, and many of the same characters appear. In fact, this is the book wherein Vlad meets and woos his wife (or from some points of view, is wooed by her, at knifepoint). I actually think the pacing and tension build more evenly in this book then in _Jhereg_, but Burst is having to do less world-explanation, which may account for the difference.
I remember being utterly fascinated by these books as a teenager, because how could I like the hero, he is an assassin after all!?! But now, as an adult, I don't find that a particularly vexing moral quandary, so I now find the books a good yarn, and the world interesting, but there's not a lot of substance or insight to them. ...more
Nita’s parents are unsettled by the amount to devotion that Nita and Kit are giving to their wizardry, so they ship NiGenre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Nita’s parents are unsettled by the amount to devotion that Nita and Kit are giving to their wizardry, so they ship Nita off to Ireland to visit her aunt, not really understanding that if Nita goes “on call” in Ireland, she will be obliged to work. Before leaving they finagle a promise out of Nita not to come back to visit Kit. Of course, when Nita arrives she finds Ireland rather different magic-wise from the States – being seeped in magic it’s hard to do anything without being affected by “overlays” from older wizardries. And of course, Nita almost immediately gets put onto active duty. The stakes on the new assignment seem somewhat lower than the previous couple books, however because it’s closer to home (psychologically) the tension remains high as Nita, Kit and a whole new team of wizards struggle to defend Ireland from the Lone Power. ...more
Poor Nita, as foretold in the previous book, Deep Wizardry now she has to deal with her much-too-competent younger sisGenre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Poor Nita, as foretold in the previous book, Deep Wizardry now she has to deal with her much-too-competent younger sister Dairine becoming a wizard. The younger the wizard, the more powerful they are. Dairine is very young for a wizard and so her ordeal is extremely challenging – and is a lovely cap on the evolution of the conflict with the Lone Power that has been developing though the first two books. ...more
This reminds me of a Georgette Heyer romance (one of the ones that feature a sweet but not too bright hero, like Cotillion) crosGenre: Regency Romance
This reminds me of a Georgette Heyer romance (one of the ones that feature a sweet but not too bright hero, like Cotillion) crossed with The Scarlet Pimpernel -- so it’s lots and lots of fun! It is apparently the 7th in the Pink Carnation series; but since I haven’t read any of the other books in the series, I can honestly say that this one stands alone just fine. I don’t know how representative it is of the rest of the series… but I am planning to find out soon!
Lauren Willig initially gives the story a genuine Regency feel by lifting whole-sale situations Austen experienced in her own life and some that Austen used in her own unfinished works (e.g. The Waldens) -- although I always have a fission of unreality when authors choose to feature Austen herself as a character in their novels… Suprisingly, I didn’t find Willig’s rendition of Jane painful, and she is only featured as a the minor side-character - that of the heroine, Arabella Dempsey’s, best friend. It’s Arabella’s situation at the beginning of the book that is so reminiscent of the real Austen’s life and writings – Arabella’s father was a vicar, but due to health problems he’s had to retire from his vicarage and move to cheap lodgings in Bath along with his 4 unmarried daughters. Arabella’s wealthy aunt invites Arabella to live with her, and everyone expects her to adopt Arabella, but instead of doing that, the aunt rather scandalously marries a much younger man (in fact, a man who courted Arabella herself briefly – just to make life very awkward for the poor girl) and Arabella finds herself with absolutely no prospects. Unwilling to continue living with her aunt nor to become yet another burden on her father, Arabella chooses to become a teacher at Miss Climpson’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies in Bath.
It is at this point the resemblance to an Austen novel ends, and the resemblance to one of Heyer’s comedies becomes far more pronounced. In her first day on the job Arabella runs (literally) into Reginald Fitzhugh (“Turnip” to his friends, for undisclosed reasons) who is delivering a Christmas basket to his sister, Sally. Arabella remembers him, since he’s a highly eligible parti bumbling his way through the marriage mart (what is it with romance authors feeling the need to endow heroes with even greater fortunes then either Mr. Bingly or Mr. Darcy?) but Turnip unfortunately fails to remember her, which is pretty par for the course in Arabella’s experience. However, due to an amusing kerfuffle with a Christmas pudding Turnip will never fail to remember her ever again. The pudding, it turns out has a secret message scribbled in French on the inside of the wrapper, “Meet me at Farley Castle, tomorrow afternoon. Most urgent.” Turnip has just enough acquaintance with espionage and the “Pink Carnation” spy ring to smell intrigue and thus they embark on an absolutely hysterical set of adventures to solve the Mystery of the Christmas Pudding (which generally bears a strong resemblance to a farce). Though it all, their romance develops slowly and rather sweetly. (And quite chastely, just so you pre-warned regarding what to expect.) ...more
I was a little disappointed in this novel, in that both the hero Matthew Swift and the heroine, Daisy Bowman are extremely liGenre: Historical Romance
I was a little disappointed in this novel, in that both the hero Matthew Swift and the heroine, Daisy Bowman are extremely likeable characters. Daisy is the sweet and dreamy younger sister of Lillian Bowman who’s delighted readers of the earlier Wallflower novels. This time around is her turn. She’s been 3 years “on the town” in London and her father has grown tired of it. He’s given her an ultimatum. Find a fiancé within 2 months or marry his protégé, Matthew Swift. Daisy’s feathers are immediately ruffled by this stratagem. Neither she nor Lillian have ever liked Swift, who’s been her father’s gawky right-hand man since forever. Simply due to that close association, both girls have subconsciously transferred their father’s failings onto Swift, whether he deserved them or not.
However, when Swift responds to Mr. Bowman’s imperious summons and arrives at the Westcliff’s house party, Daisy is surprised at the man she finds. It quickly becomes clear that the ultimatum was not his idea. While he won’t promise not to marry her – he is obviously none too pleased with the pressure to do so. Matthew for his part is dumbstruck at this turn of events – he’s been in love with Daisy since he first met her when she was 15… but his own secret past has kept him from ever trying to court her, even made him avoid her... but he can’t deny that he wants her.
Slowly Daisy and Matthew do come to an understanding, despite massive opposition from everyone except Mr. Bowman. Matthew may be logical and controlled and enjoy business dealings, but he’s also kind, sensitive, and geekily charming, and Daisy values that, and he’s always valued her sweetness and imagination. My biggest complaint with the novel is that it doesn’t take the same time to resolve the crisis as was taken to develop the relationship. The crisis could’ve been used to deepen and strengthen Daisy and Matthew’s relationship, and instead the book looses much of its momentum and limps along to the end becase the problem seemed external to both protagonists; like it didn’t really matter that much. It’s still a perfectly reasonable happy ending with everything tied up neatly. But it’s not nearly as satisfying as it could’ve been. ...more
Sebastian was the villain in It Happened One Autumn but it rather quickly becomes clear why he was a good friend of Lord WesGenre: Historical Romance
Sebastian was the villain in It Happened One Autumn but it rather quickly becomes clear why he was a good friend of Lord Westcliff. Devil in Winter starts with the same chapter that It Happened One Autumn ends on – with Evie Jenner, heiress to the notorious gambling club owner Ivo Jenner, tracking the notorious rake Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent (heir to a bankrupt dukedom) down in his London townhouse and proposing that they elope to Gretna Green. He accepts. She is looking to escape her vile relatives and gain the freedom to care for her dying father, while he’s looking for financial rescue. She sets the ground rules – despite (or really because of) his philandering, they will consummate their marriage to make it legal, but after that, there will be no sex. She has no desire to fall in love with a man who is sure to be faithless.
They immediately set out on the grueling journey to Gretna Green. The journey comes as a surprise for both – Sebastian soon discovers that despite Evie’s fragile appearance she’s actually quite stubborn and resilient. Evie for her turn is surprised and touched by the tenderness and care with which Sebastian treats her; making sure she has a brick to warm her feet and a hot drink. By the time they marry they seem well on the way to an understanding, until Sebastian realizes Evie really did mean the “ no sex after marriage” rule.
However, soon after marriage they both have other things to keep them busy – Evie’s father is dying of consumption, and Sebastian rather incomprehensibly takes it upon himself to pull the gambling club back into shape, as it’s fallen into disrepair during Ivo’s illness. The personal redemption that both Evie and Sebastian discover though this process may be a bit facile, but is still a nice read. ...more
I’m not sure what part of the Victorian era this book was intended to be set in – to me it felt like the 1890s, but I think iGenre: Historical Romance
I’m not sure what part of the Victorian era this book was intended to be set in – to me it felt like the 1890s, but I think it was intended to be the 1830s or 1840s… Anyway, the basic plot is that Lillian Bowman and her sister Daisy are American nouveau riche who’ve been shipped over to England to marry their way into the peerage. Lillian is an athletic tomboy who finds British upper crust society rather ridiculous and makes very little effort to accommodate herself to its views. The sisters arrive with their parents at Lord Westcliff’s house party. Marcus, Lord Westcliff and Lillian have met previously and disastrously – she thinks he’s a stuck up prig and is convinced he hates her, while he’s obsessed with her and completely disapproves of her antics (having discovered her and her friends playing a baseball in their underwear because their skirts were hampering their running.) However, he is courting a business deal with her father and must swallow dealing with the bewitching Lillian in order to bring that about.
Of course, the first thing Lillian and Daisy do is get involved in a baseball game in the stable yard. Marcus joins in and they have a rollicking good time. He finds an excuse to shows Lillian how to properly hit a baseball (since she’s horrible at it), and it becomes clear (to Daisy at least) that he’s much more interested in embracing Lillian then lording over her, despite Lillian’s protestations to the contrary. Marcus even helps them sneak back to their rooms, and while hiding from her father, Marcus and Lillian share a kiss that knocks them both for a loop.
Neither Lillian nor Marcus are calm and relaxing people – so of course their courtship continues to be as amusingly tempestuous as it starts out; neither one wants to admit that there is anything going on between them, while both are rapidly becoming obsessed by the other. ...more
I first read this novella as part of the anthology On The Prowl. I have gone back and re-read this story multiple times, bGenre: Urban Fantasy/Romance
I first read this novella as part of the anthology On The Prowl. I have gone back and re-read this story multiple times, but nothing else in that anthology – so it was really nice to be able to buy it as a stand-alone novella for my kindle. It is a prequel to Hunting Ground, and not absolutely necessary to understanding the novel (I hadn’t read it when I first read Hunting Ground but it vastly increases my pleasure in the entire series to have this introduction to Anna and Charles’ relationship.
I've found all of Briggs' urban fantasies to be highly addictive. This novella has all the charm, and all the issues of the other novels. On my initial read I felt that Charles and Anna didn’t have to work at their relationship - because of the mystical "mating bond" (rather like Recognition in Wendy & Richard Pini's Elfquest). On re-reading (which I’ve done many times) I think that is an unfair characterization. The “mystic mating foo” allows Briggs to write a modern “arranged marriage” story which involves a different kind of relationship work then one where either party can walk away at anytime. I find myself re-reading the story at least once a year – it’s a highly enjoyable romp; so I can’t really complain all that much! ...more
How did I miss this book? I thought I read all of Heyer’s regency romances 15 years ago, but I have no memory of this one… or maGenre: Regency Romance
How did I miss this book? I thought I read all of Heyer’s regency romances 15 years ago, but I have no memory of this one… or maybe I just wasn’t old enough to see how utterly charming this one is! Venetia is an older heroine (meaning she’s 25, not in her teens) residing in the country keeping house for her bookish younger brother Aubrey, and managing her older brother’s estate while he’s off fighting in the peninsula. She’s very beautiful and is doggedly perused by 2 local suitors the very worthy (and deadly dull) Mr. Edward Yardly, and the earnest young Byronic-wannabe Mr. Oswald Denny. Not being particularly interested in either of these two candidates for her hand, Venetia has resigned herself to keeping house for her young brother (who’s reclusive disposition makes it unlikely he shall ever marry) when the wicked Baron (a.k.a. Lord Jasper Damerel) makes an appearance on her scene.
After a rather awkward start where the rakish Lord Damerel mistakes Venetia for a local milkmaid, the unlikely couple shortly find they share a sense of humor and enjoy many of the same activities. A close friendship soon grows. That might be all, except that Venetia’s older brother foists his new wife and mother-in-law on her household without any warning and suddenly Venetia’s comfortable life is all topsy turvey. Lord Damerel would dearly love to rescue her, as he does from poor Mr. Denny’s attempts at romance, except his reputation as a rake is well earned – many years ago he eloped with another man’s wife, and now thinks that an alliance with him would ruin her. Happily, Venetia is an adult; she knows her own mind – she knows what is and what is not necessary to her own happiness and is willing to take drastic steps to secure it.
Somehow this plot summary is failing to capture the wit and charm of the book, or the amusement of the characters – if you like Heyer’s romances, you simply must try this one! Frankly, I think it might be time for me to go back and re-read it again ;-) ...more
This is probably my favorite of all of Heyer’s romances. I adore both A Civil Contract and Sylvester or the Wicked Uncle but theGenre: Regency Romance
This is probably my favorite of all of Heyer’s romances. I adore both A Civil Contract and Sylvester or the Wicked Uncle but the one I re-read most is Frederica. In all three, both the hero and heroine are well-drawn characters, but in Frederica., more than the other two, both of them have to grow a little.
Frederica Merriville has 4 younger siblings and while legally the family is in the care of her brother, in reality it is Frederica who has long been in charge of the family. She has decided to move them all to London in order to give her beautiful sister Charis “A Season”, hoping that Charis will marry well. Once in London Frederica applies to her father’s cousin, the Marquis of Alverstoke (a person her scapegrace father stigmatized as “the best of my family”) to sponsor them into the “ton”, thinking he had a wife who could do so. Unfortunately for her plans, the Marquis is unmarried. Fortunately however, he meets the beautiful Charis and sees in her a way to get back at his scheming sisters – and agrees to sponsor the Merrivilles.
Sponsoring the Merrivilles turns out to be more than just hosting a ball in the girls’ honor; but surprisingly the bored and indolent Alverstoke finds himself amused and not at all reluctant to be drawn into their mischief. Felix and Jessamy (the youngest Merrivilles) are especially full of high spirits. The Marquis was the only son of very distant parents, and the Merriville’s open and easy ways and affection are an eye opener to him – a view into family life that he’d never been exposed too. But he quickly comes to like Felix and Jessamy for their own sakes.
It turns out that Alverstoke and Frederica share many of the same tastes – they both have a very similar sense of humor, and enjoy high society very much, but what Frederica doesn’t see (but Alverstoke does see) is that Charis does not share this enjoyment. Despite being the most beautiful girl of the season, Charis prefers country balls. She’d rather know everyone at a party. This basic misunderstanding about what will make Charis happy is the source of the conflict though the second half of the book, which is made worse because Fredrica is used to taking care of her sister, and Fredrica is sensible, while Charis is not. However, in this case, Charis does know best. I think this is an unusually realistic cause of conflict to find in a romance novel; even more unusual is it to find the heroine being in the wrong (and Fredrica is certainly wrong here), and yet she only wants what’s best for Charis.
Eventually, after playing though the farce that is Charis’ romance the Marquis finally gets around to proposing to Fredrica. Alverstoke has spent the last forth of the book acting in ways that proclaim his love for her (which are absolutely delightful to read!) but I have to re-read the final proposal two or three times each time I read the book, because it just isn’t long enough. *happy sniffle* ...more