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review 2017-08-10 13:28
The Merchant's Tale by Ann Swinfen
The Merchant's Tale (Oxford Medieval Mysteries Book 4) - Ann Swinfen
I look forward to each addition to Swinfen's Oxford mysteries series, and this installment did not disappoint. Occurring just weeks after The Huntsman's Tale , the story of lovable Nicholas Elyot carries on seamlessly. Now we find ourselves returned to Oxford in time for the St Frideswide's Fair, where some people have nefarious deeds in mind.

Nicholas is emboldened enough to begin pressing his suit with the lovely Emma and I felt the squeeze of my heart just as I would if two people I personally knew were finally discovering that they were perfect for one another. Mild mannered Nicholas proved that he can be a charming romantic at times, such as when convincing Emma that he would walk her home. 'There is no need, Nicholas. I shall be quite safe with the others.' 'You will be even safer with me.' Be still my heart.

I am also enjoying the development of other characters and relationships. For example, it is fun watching Nicholas' daughter Alysoun become a young woman. 'Alysoun looked pleased and slightly smug, finding herself part of Margaret's armed forces against the incompetent world of men.'

If it takes Nicholas and his comrades ridiculously long to determine just who could be the target of a mysterious murderer using the fair as his cover, this can be forgiven because the reader is treated to more exquisite views of daily life in 14th century Oxford. The challenges of gathering fruit and preparing food, the excitement and dangers of the fair, the struggles of a business owner falling under the rules of the Church, and much more make this novel a joy to read for the way it truly transports the reader back in time.

This is a series that is put at the top of my TBR as soon as a new book is released. I wonder when book 5 will be arriving, because I don't believe for a moment that Nicholas is 'once again a humble Oxford bookseller and glad to be done with high drama.' I have a feeling that mysterious events will find you again, dear Nicholas.
 

 

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review 2017-07-28 15:19
The Huntsman's Tale by Ann Swinfen
The Huntsman's Tale (Oxford Medieval Mysteries) (Volume 3) - Ann Swinfen
I love pretty much everything about this series. Nicholas Elyot is a charming protagonist who loves his friends, his children, and his books. The setting of Oxford and the surrounding area following the plague that decimated the population allows for wonderful exploration into how the people remaining were impacted. And just look at those gorgeous covers!

This third installment in Swinfen's Oxford Medieval Mysteries did not disappoint, though there are still plenty of questions left that led me to download The Merchant's Tale as soon as it was released. I NEED to know if Nicholas finds love again. The dear man has spent long enough in mourning.

We are taken away from the city of Oxford for this adventure, but Nicholas brings most of the existing cast of characters with him to assist on his family's farm for the harvest. It was fun to see these men of learning getting their hands dirty and blistered, and I was amazed at how interesting the author made detailed descriptions of medieval farming. Despite the difficult work, this would seem to be a time of fellowship and feasting if it weren't for a pesky murder.

The local lord, no more able to protect himself or his family from the black death than the common man has been replaced by an arrogant upstart who believes the villagers are his to rule with an iron fist. When he is killed during a village hunt, it is difficult to determine who would not have wanted to kill him. Nicholas, scholar and bookseller, finds himself part of another investigation that leads down paths he could not have anticipated.

This book, like the two that precede it, is a fun, quick read packed with all sorts of interesting history, characters the reader can cheer for, and a mystery that becomes more than one might be expecting. I will be picking up book 4 immediately!
 

 

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review 2017-07-15 17:10
HUS'ABARON: The Warlord's Reluctant Bride (Sky Protectors Book 2) by Clara Hart Review
Alien Romance: HUS'ABARON: The Warlord's Reluctant Bride (Sky Protectors Book 2) - Clara Hart

His warriors want her dead, the Council wants her dead, in fact, his entire planet wants this uninvited visitor dead for good…

He turns to the rest of his men. They all await his command, and why wouldn't they? He is not just Abaron, not even H'Abaron. He is Hus'Abaron, he is the High Hador, the Great Hunter, Lord of Hunters, and he answers only to the Council, and sometimes not even to them.

Yet Hus'Abaron doesn’t understand why he would stop at nothing to protect this earthling and claim her as his bride.

 

 

Review

 

Sigh. This book had a lot of promise but fell flat. Hard.

 

The writing was actually a nice mix of show and tell with good dialogue and smart main characters.  The plot of a science fiction romance staple of stranded on a planet meet a new culture but I love that. 

 

A fated mate romance, yes, but not insta love on the part of the heroine. The heroine is a linguist anthropologist and we get to actually see her be a genius (as opposed to being told how intelligent a character is with no evidence at all) and interpret  the world through these lenses. Awesome! 

 

The hero is reasonable and interesting. 

 

So, what happened. Oh the strangest of typos everywhere. It feels like scanning errors. The cover doesn't look anything like the hero is suppose to look. 

 

But mainly, the book just gets to a certain point in the romance, they are together, and it quits. The world building ends and there is really so much story to go but it runs out of stream. Sad and frustrated. 

 

 

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review 2017-07-13 21:43
A Different Journey: Mary Tudor by Lassie Gaffney
A Different Journey - Mary Tudor - Lassie Gaffney

The premise of this book drew me in. Anyone who knows me knows that I would love to have seen a happier ending for Mary Tudor (Henry VIII's daughter, not his sister). In this novel, the author attempts to rewrite history with Mary becoming a young wife and mother but never queen. And that is when the problems started.

 

The idea that Catherine of Aragon and her daughter would each decide to forgo Mary's birthright in order to keep Henry content starts this story off on the wrong foot for me. After all, in reality, the were both willing to sacrifice almost anything to ensure that Mary's (and Catherine's) position was recognized. This is just the first of many implausible changes in historical events and people that occurs. I understand that this is an alternate history. That's why I picked it up, but to be enjoyable it still needs to make sense based on what we know of the real people and events.

 

I could have accepted the historical changes if the novel was at least entertaining, but it is written almost entirely in stilted dialogue. It is tricky to write dialogue that comes across as realistic but without the ordinary level of repetition. The dialogue in this book not only doesn't sound like what people would actually say ('That's a shame' when a close family member dies, for example), but the reader is forced to endure things being repeated for the benefit of different characters.

 

The whole thing just reads like a first draft. There's potential here. I LOVE the idea of Mary being married to Reginald Pole, whether she became queen or not, but this needs more editing and polishing to make it a great story.

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review 2017-07-13 13:38
Busy
Tease - Ella Frank

This is book #4, in the Temptation series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading this hot series in order.

 

Logan & Tate are together four years later as we continue their story.  This is where we see them try to find a place back in each other's lies after all the drama of getting together is over.  

 

Tate is busy with his bar, and Logan is getting national recognition on a case.  Suddenly they realize that life has gotten away from them in their busy life.  Time to prioritize if they mean to go on.

 

This was a sweet and sexy story.  I was so glad to be back with these amazing characters!  I cannot wait to see the next installment!  I give this book a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP! 

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