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review 2018-11-17 11:48
Dissolution
Dissolution - C.J. Sansom

by C. J. Sansom

 

Book 1 of the Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series.

 

This is the beginning of an ongoing series of Historical Mysteries that take place in the Tudor period of England. The books are all self-contained stand alone novels and the character who takes us through the progressing snippets of history is a high-level lawyer called Matthew Shardlake. In this first novel, it is 1537 and Lord Thomas Cromwell is the vicar general and supports the Reformation, as does Shardlake.

 

The country is divided between those who are faithful to the Catholic Church and those loyal to Henry VIII and his newly established Church of England. A murder leads Cromwell to bring in Shardlake to investigate.

 

Shardlake is a hunchback, which I thought was a brilliant way to bring diversity into a historical setting where not a lot of diversity existed. He is intelligent and thorough in his investigations and that can get him into some difficult situations when he uncovers uncomfortable evidence of such things as sexual misconduct, embezzlement, and treason.

 

Like much Historical Fiction, a lot of detail is included and it can take a while to get from one place to another. I wouldn't call it 'slow' because it keeps interest and seeing events from Shardlake's point of view works well with his detailed observations. It is basically a Mystery story, but within a historical context. The historical details look to be well-researched and accurate.

 

There's also a certain amount of dramatic action, especially at the end. I thought it was extremely well done and I enjoyed reading the historical notes after the end, as I always do when a Historical Fiction novel includes them.

 

Most importantly, the end really is the end. The first chapter of the next story in the series is included, but each story is complete and you don't have to buy another book to see what happened. If you enjoy a good historical mystery this is a good place to start as it develops Shardlake as a character and gives the reader some insight into how his deformity affects him as well as his thinking processes and how he came to be in his position, but after that the books could be read in any order.

 

A very intelligently written series.

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review 2018-11-16 17:45
Lovesick couldn't be a more appropriate title
Lovesick - Ángeles Mastretta,Margaret Sayers Peden

 

"When did you get here?" Emilia asked him, kissing him as she had when their lips were smooth and unwrinkled. The eternal throbbing beat below her breastbone.

"I never leave," said Daniel, stroking her head with its scent of mysteries.

 

Spanning almost 50yrs, this is the story of Emilia. The vast majority of the story takes place during the Mexican Revolution (1910-20) and does a good job shining a light on how discontent, injustice, and passion bring about such wars. Emilia's childhood friend, who grows up to be her love, Daniel, is more than full of passion for the war and constantly leaves and is at battle leaving Emilia. Their love story is one people in their younger years would find exciting, dramatic, lustful, and love torn; a lovestory that is exciting to read about but hellish to live. 

 

Emilia's father was a pharmacist, and she starts to study under him and grow her own passion but for medicine. She naturally and fights her way to becoming a doctor, no mean feat during this time period. She meets a Dr. Zavalza and love triangle ensues. 

 

I really enjoyed the first 70% of this, as we get a historical feel for the Revolution with discussion and interaction with Diaz, Madero, Zapata. I do wish we could have had some scenes from Daniel to get a feel for the battles but this look at it from ordinary citizens was encompassing in its own way, too. Emilia's aunt and a poet who is in love with said aunt, were my favorite secondary characters and I would happily read the aunt's life story, what a woman she sounds like. 

 

The last 30% was very rushed through as we get some of the conflict following the Revolution with Zapatistas and Cardenas with Daniel and Emilia continuing their relationship in a not thought of conventional way. Years pass quickly and Emilia becoming a doctor and having children is quickly told. This rushed ending kind of gave all the emotional upheaval and drama, I as the reader, went through less gravitas. 

 

Lovesick couldn't be a more apt title as Emilia and Daniel's relationship wasn't exactly healthy. Daniel's passion for the war and how he constantly puts it above Emilia and Emilia's inability to let impulsive Daniel and his frenzy for fighting go in favor of Zavalza's calm supporting love will make you want to pull your hair out. 

 

The historical context was weaved expertly into the story and Emilia's life journey will definitely make you feel.

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review 2018-11-16 14:24
ARC REVIEW Lord Carlton's Courtship by Alexandra Ivy

 

Lord Carlton's Courtship

 

 

Originally published in 2000 under the name Debbie Raleigh, Alexandra Ivy has re-released this with a beautiful new cover. I enjoyed this one, it's not one of my favorites I think I prefer her PNR but it was a good read. The story was well written and I liked the way it played out. I liked the characters too, even though Roma did get annoyingly stubborn at one point.

 

All it took was one meeting with Roma Allendyle for Lord Giles Carlton to be completely besotted and one conversation to fall head over heels. But Roma isn't looking for a husband she looking for her missing brother and only after Carlton points out that as a woman she will get no information of anyone in the Home Office does she finally give in and let Carlton help her; that by no way means she going to stop looking herself. It bugs Roma that Carlton is helping her, she can't figure out his motive and the fact that he can find out information about her brother because he's a man really bugs her. Roma also keeps getting distracted by how handsome he is and why out of all the women in London he wishes to be with her a head strong, intelligent, country girl who hates London. She can't seem to realize Carlton's helping her is also his way or courting her too.

 

Overall, it's an quick (unless you are constantly distracted by your kids like I was) and easy read. I loved the characters and the action was pretty intense there at the end. It's a worthwhile read. I really loved the atypical courtship between Carlton and Roma.

 

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text 2018-11-16 07:16
Once Upon a Duke by Eva Devon
Once Upon a Duke - Eva Devon

DNF @ 55%

Mrs. Kathryn Darrell is finally free. Her bastard of a husband is dead and she's free to come to London and finally live. She also cannot wait to experience true passion so she sets her sights on the most unattainable of bachelors, Ryder Blake, Duke of Darkwell.


Put that way, the story sounds interesting, right? Humorous, intriguing, passionate, romantic.

It could've been all that if it weren't for the hero. The man was an ass. An ass who had no idea what he really wanted. An ass that, if you ask me, didn't really love his first wife (it sounded more like gratitude for her sticking with him when his parents died), yet he truly mourned her and blamed himself...And then turned it into an art form. If he didn't let go of her, he didn't have to make an effort and everybody saw him as some sort of tortured figure.

While in truth, he was just an obnoxious asshole who had no idea what he truly wanted and once he discovered it, he chickened out and turned into an even bigger asshole.

You don't want her, fine. Keep clear, not make jealous scenes all over town. Pick a lane and stick to it.

The heroine, mind you, was no better. She also refused to fall in love, because she's been an idiot before and believed her first husband actually loved her, while he loved only her money. But she ended up falling for the aforementioned jerk anyway. She knew what he was like, he repeatedly rebuffed her, yet she kept at it. What the hell? If the guy is an ass, you steer clear, but I guess she just wanted to be the one who won him in the end, the one who changed him in the end.

I didn't feel the love between these two. He was a project for her, she was a fascination for him. End of story. This wasn't a romance, this was a forced-angst-filled slightly sexy story that focused too much on the hero's issues, making him come across as a petulant teenager.

I persevered over the half mark because I kept hoping it would get better. Half-way through, the guy was still a petulant ass, the heroine suddenly developed tender feelings for him (inexplicable and out of the blue, if you ask me), so I threw in the towel.
...And then I took a peek at the end and wanted to slap the woman until her head fell off. No, thank you.

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review 2018-11-15 15:52
Captivating the Earl by Callie Hutton

Captivating the Earl

Synopsis

Lady Elizabeth is hiding in the country as a governess, Miss Lizzie Moore. When handsome Lord Hawkins arrives at her employer’s house, she wants nothing to do with the roguish earl, even though her heart says otherwise.

Lord Hawkins is a rake of the highest order but when he is drawn to his cousin’s beautiful governess he must rein in his impulses. She can’t be his, though Hawk can’t stop thinking about her.

After an attempt on Lizzie’s life, Hawk learns who she really is. In defiance of orders from the Home Office to bring her in, he vows to protect her. Even though he’s not entirely sure she’s innocent, she is his responsibility. Lizzie doesn’t trust him but has grown to love him. When Hawk offers her the ultimate safeguard against nefarious scoundrels—his name—she refuses. She loves him, but fears she’s merely another one of his ’duties.’

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Review

It is an absolutely amazing historical fiction novel. I loved everything about it, the story, the characters, the starting, and the ending. I think it's perfect in every way.


Lizzie has been hiding since her father disappeared. She fears that the ton would not accept daughter of a traitor and it seemed like the right thing to do. She has found a perfectly acceptable position as a governess and has been living comfortably... until Lord Hawkins arrives at his cousin's estate. She hopes that he doesn't recognize her but more importantly than that it seems that they both have a mutual attraction which cannot be ignored. She is a member of the staff and it is unseemly for Lord Hawkins to pay her so much attention. However, the real trouble starts when he receives a letter from the Home Office and suddenly it appears that Miss Lizzie's life is in grave danger.


Hawk cannot believe that Miss Lizzie is actually Lady Elizabeth, but something about her had intrigued him right from the moment he met her. Now it is up to him to keep her safe and he cannot trust anyone. Because there seems to be another traitor in their midst, one who wants her dead. They both flee and must uncover the truth before something really bad happens.


As the two spend more time together they begin to realize how much they love each other. If this ended well they might find something truly beautiful to cherish for the rest of their lives.


It's a must read a historical romance novel. I loved the story, it's well-written and has some amazing characters. I especially loved Lizzie and Hawk's characters. Their story was definitely worth reading for me.

 

P.S. I received a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley.

Source: mineofbooks.blogspot.com/2018/11/review-captivating-earl-by-callie-hutton.html
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