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Search tags: historical-romance
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review 2018-06-14 22:11
A Radiant Soul by Kianna Alexander
A Radiant Soul: A Sweet Way to His Heart Novella - Kianna Alexander

This story involves Rosaline's  (from Drifting to You) former apprentice, Sarah, as she carves out a career baking in a luxury resort in Wyoming territory while volunteering for the women's vote. She is called home for her mother's upcoming 45th birthday and decides on the way back to Wyoming that she will go to Washington DC to network with other WOC suffragettes. While home, she meets Owen, a carpenter that is building a gazebo as a birthday gift to her mom. Owen also volunteers his time to clandestine organization (the Sons of the Diaspora) that works to maintain and forward the progress of the black male vote, even at the expense of the women's vote. 

 

I really enjoyed reading Sarah and Owen's story except for the fact that they met because her father's manipulations - dear father wanted Sarah to move back home and be more "traditional". Screw that, I liked Sarah the way she was and in the end Owen did to which is why they continued to court through letters and trips to see each other after she returned to Wyoming. Plus, after they got engaged, they decided to leave Fayetteville and Wyoming and make their home in a place that offered both of them opportunity for employment and to continue their volunteer work. I also loved that I got to see Sarah and Will together with their new daughter.

 

In both Drifting to You and A Radiant Soul, Alexander explored the lives of African-Americans during the Reconstruction/Gilded Age by the characters' back stories; Rosaline and Will were former slaves, Owen grew up the child and grandchild of escaped slaves that hid in the Great Dismal Swamp until after the Civil War, and Sarah grew up freed. There is a lot of great history within these romances and a great way to discover parts of history that don't get told in classrooms. 

 

*This story was originally published in Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology.*

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review 2018-06-14 21:48
Drifting to You by Kianna Alexander
Drifting to You: Cape Fear Shipworks - Kianna Alexander

A great historical romance novella set in Fayetteville, NC. The heroine (Rosaline) is working as a baker with dreams of owning her own storefront; she has the opportunity to meet wealthy clients and get a fat profit by baking and serving a cake for the Goodman family when they set sail on their new pleasure boat. The hero (Will) is the shipbuilder who has been having his eye on courting Rosaline and thinks the cruise down the Cape Fear River is the perfect time to ask for her consent to his courting. 

 

There is a lot to their individual back stories, namely that both Rosaline and Will were former slaves and they learned their trade prior to being free. I liked both as individuals and as a couple. Will accepted Rosaline's medical condition and didn't make a big deal out of creating a family with her through other means. A sweet but not cloying romance.

 

 

*This story was originally published in The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance anthology*

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review 2018-06-14 21:35
The Valcourt Heiress (Medieval Song #7) by Catherine Coulter
The Valcourt Heiress - Catherine Coulter

What a fun ride this book turned out to be! I don't know how I came in possession of it but I have had the book on my physical book shelf since we lived in California and never felt in the mood for a medieval. So it gathered dust until I was making a list of books for the Ripped Bodice Bingo and saw that this book would be good filler for a square (the "Pre-Renaissance" box). On a whim I started the book and was immediately engrossed in the story involving a second son inheriting a mid-size keep that was left in almost ruins, a runaway heiress, a wannabe sorceress who is the heroine's mother, dubious "natural" deaths of relatives, the stupidest villains in all of England, several kidnappings, and just King Edward enjoying the real life drama of his citizens while thinking of the value of the coins can help him squash the Welsh and Scottish uprisings. 

 

A lot is packed into this story line, but the developing romance between Garron of Kersey and Merry (the heiress in the title) was actually real and I rooted for them to get their HEA, whatever that looked like. He didn't really notice her until she mentioned her preference for making lists to help with big projects (like restoring a mid-size keep to its' former glory), then he was like "hey! you seem like a decent person to have help me" - no pants feeling at first, theirs was a meeting of the minds and intentions. Merry to her credit had major administration skills, as she was running things over at Valcourt until the death of her father, plus she didn't mind doing menial labor, like making soap or milking Eric(a) the goat, while also advising Garron on the political situation outside the walls of Wareham. 

 

A highly entertaining read.

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review 2018-06-14 18:51
Beyond Bored
The Girl Who Knew Too Much - Amanda Quick

I don't have much to say here. This book took me almost three days to get through because that's how boring it was. Taking place in the 1930s, I was expecting to see some language/slang from that era. You don't get that at all and just have a woman on the run (who decides to reinvent herself as a reporter) and a former magician (yeah I know) getting caught up in murder and mayhem.

 

Irene (formerly Anna) is pulled into investigating when a woman turns up dead in Burning Cove, CA. The woman is found dead at an exclusive hotel run by Oliver Ward. Oliver is angry that someone dared to murder someone on his grounds. Irene is hoping for a story that is going to launch her career. 

 

Irene and Oliver felt like cardboard cutouts when compared to Quick's Regency heroines and heroes. We get I think one love scene with them and I think after that everything is just a fade to black type thing. I don't even get why they were attracted to each other. Oliver being an ex-magician should have been more interesting than what we got. 

 

There are also too many secondary characters to keep track of while reading this book. You have Nick Tremayne (up and coming Hollywood actor), his assistant, Irene's boss, a hired killer, the hired killer's father, Oliver's close associates (who I refuse to look up) and at a certain point I ceased to care about keeping people straight in my head.

 

The writing was not typical 1930s. I was hoping for a screwball comedy type writing (think His Girl Friday) or some typical noir mystery book that would have fit in perfectly.

 

The pacing was awful from beginning to end. When you think one mystery is over, the second mystery jumps in and it goes back and forth. I still don't know what happened and who did what to who except in one of the plot-lines. Maybe that was the issue, we had too much going on in the first book in this series.

 

Burning Cove, CA is the setting of this book and it did not come to life to me at all. You would think there would be some hint of the Great Depression or the second World War. The whole book felt weirdly out of touch with the time period being depicted.

 

Hard pass. 

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text 2018-06-12 17:39
Reading progress update: I've read 30%.
The Girl Who Knew Too Much - Amanda Quick

This is so freaking boring. Reading Quick set in modern times in America is not doing a thing for me at all.

 

Things just keep happening to Irene (fleeing, finding a dead body, etc.) and there seems to be very little set up for the plot at this point. Just stuff happening. I had a hard time keeping people straight at this point.

 

I also don't get why Irene would go work for a gossip columnist in order to keep a low profile from someone that could hurt her. I am still confused why this is a thing.

 

FYI, I am guessing this book takes place in the 1920s or 1930s cause of the terms and slang being used. It would have been helpful if Quick had used a location and year to set up the first part of the book. She at least does that in her regency romances. 

 

 

 

 

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