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Search tags: yours-in-scandal
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review 2020-03-16 03:56
Sizzling
Yours In Scandal - Lauren Layne

Robert is just ending his term of being the Mayor of New York City.  There must be a party to celebrate his good work.  Doesn't hurt that he is thinking of running for Governor too.  The people seem to like him and he is good at this job.

 

Adeline, trying to make the party for Robert, is fighting the feelings she is starting to feel for him.  It is a madhouse to go back into the slippery slope that is politics.  When he finds out who her father is this whole scenario will be worse.  Since he is the first man to make her feel in years should she take a chance?

 

I absolutely loved the story.  Fast paced, with corners of darkness shadowing the light, I loved the characters and their weaknesses that were showing.  There was banter, and sexual innuendo and frustration at first.  All the more titillating and the sparks were humming as we read the first half.  The second half, however, is where the real scandal lies.  I give this great read a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review by Netgalley and its publishers. 

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review 2019-11-13 20:12
History and Historical Romance
It Started with a Scandal: Pennyroyal Green Series - Julie Anne Long

I tend to get all breathless and twitterpated when I discover a new historical romance writer I enjoy, sending out profligate hold requests at the library. That was the case with Julie Anne Long, whose Lady Derring Takes a Lover was so beautifully choleric on the ingrained sexism of the time, and features a found family plot and exquisitely rendered female relationships. I maybe don't need to say this, but I will anyway: as much I enjoy a historical, the baked in acceptance of social norms which are, to put mildly, antique, and to put more specifically, fucked beyond the telling of it, makes me often quite itchy while I read.

 

This is figleafed in ur average historical romance: industrialists are all, to a man, fair minded and generous, having acquired their fortunes without being the rapacious monsters they all, to a man, were. The aristocrats -- the dukes and earls and the like -- may have daddy issues, struggling under the injurious regard of their Old Testament fathers, but these paternal and paternalistic dinosaurs are emblematic of a outdated mode of lording over great swaths of land and hundreds, maybe thousands of people. These new sons are embodiments of a New Aristocracy, one that views its marriages as meritocracies, the perfect embodiment of noblesse oblige. 

 

I was just reading one recently where the industrialist romantic lead mentioned offhand his ownership of cotton mills, and my mind leapt right to tour of Lowell, MA I took some years ago. Lowell is a locus of both early American industrialization, and the inevitable labor movements that follow once people grow weary of being ground down by engines, spitted by the spearpoint of progress. Young women, girls really, worked 12 hour days six days a week until they coughed themselves into an early grave due to the cotton fibers they inhaled, the factory air muzzy with a fog of particulates. (It is also the hometown of Jack Kerouac.) That's the problem with historicals: they are inescapably based on history, which features a boot on a throat in one permutation or another for as far back as one can manage.  

 

So, the endgame of this little diatribe was some dissatisfaction with It Started With a Scandal. On every objective metric, this is a fine novel, with excellent characterization, smooth pacing, and well drawn sexual tension. Long is a smart, interesting writer, and I will continue to read the shit out of her back catalog. However, I was never quite able to get over the fact that our romantic lead was a prince of Burgundy or Bourbon or somesuch, a French aristocrat who fled France during the Revolution. He's very put out by the fact that his ancestral lands are not in his family's possession anymore, and spends much time glowering and throwing vases in fits of pique. The leading lady, his housekeeper, vouchsafes to feel bad for him quite prodigiously. She is herself just weeks from penury -- she and her child -- so she knows what it is to lose things. 

 

To which I say: bah. The French aristocracy deserved to have their heads separated from their necks. They were indolent, greedy, dissolute shits whose venality resulted in the abject poverty and misery of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people. So boo fucking hoo about getting run out of the country where our hero was born into incredible wealth and privilege. (I may have my back up after seeing some billionaire -- there are only 600 or so in America, a listable group of people -- literally crying on television because someone might tax him commensurate with his wealth. Meanwhile millions of Americans go bankrupt or just fucking die due to a medical insurance system designed to maximize profits at a brutal human cost. Fuck, and I can't stress this enough, every single billionaire.) 

 

I am aware of, and engage in quite happily, the sort of historical blindness required to enjoy a historical romance. I am not going to nitpick inconsistencies unless they are egregious and/or not in service of the final resolution. But sometimes I'm in my own place in history, where I cannot unsee the parallels to current, ongoing, often fatal injustices in the world. I am not going to waste time feeling bad for people who have had everything and then some given to them by accident or birth who, just occasionally, feel thwarted in their every impulse. Our heroine's soft-heartedness looks soft-headed. 

 

I've said this before, but I'm going to repeat it: every romance has the echoes of a less satisfactory conclusion embedded within it. Without the invisible authorial hand, our housekeeper's life would end in brutal poverty, discarded by a "polite" society predicated on systematic exploitation. Mostly I'm satisfied with these romantic revisions -- that is the point of a historical romance novel, n'est-ce pas? I can and do acknowledge this freakout is largely on me -- I do not want to enbussen Long, who seems a very fine writer, because of a personal convergence of things. But sometimes I just can't. The romantic conclusion ends up seeming such a petty, priapic thing, the tumescence of love blotting out all impediments to our lovers, even the important, necessary, and structural ones. 

 

Probably I should just back way from historical romance for the time being, library holds notwithstanding, until some improbable time when our brutal history is less brutal. I'll be busy holding my breath. 

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review 2019-09-10 23:44
Great Historical Romance
A Study in Scandal (Scandalous) - Caroline Linden

A Study In Scandal is a fantastic historical romance by Caroline Linden.  Ms. Linden has provided readers with a well-written book and furnished it with outstanding characters.  This is a fairly quick read, perfect for those with limited reading time.  Samantha fears her father but after 7 years she tells him she stole from him and let him believe the neighbor did it all that time.  Her punishment is to wed a man she fears even more than her father, so she runs away.  George is an artist and jumps into the river to save Samantha.  Samantha and George's story is loaded with drama, humor, sizzle, action and suspense.  I enjoyed reading A Study In Scandal and look forward to reading more from Caroline Linden in the future.  A Study In Scandal is book 6 of the Scandalous Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.

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review 2019-08-17 23:12
A Scandal in Scarlet / Vicki Delany
A Scandal in Scarlet - Vicki Delany

Walking her dog Violet late one night, Gemma Doyle, owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop, acts quickly when she smells smoke outside the West London Museum. Fortunately no one is inside, but it’s too late to save the museum’s priceless collection of furniture, and damage to the historic house is extensive. Baker Street’s shop owners come together to hold an afternoon auction tea to raise funds to rebuild, and Great Uncle Arthur Doyle offers a signed first edition of The Valley of Fear. 

Cape Cod’s cognoscenti files into Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, owned by Gemma’s best friend, Jayne Wilson. Excitement fills the air (along with the aromas of Jayne’s delightful scones, of course). But the auction never happens. Before the gavel can fall, museum board chair Kathy Lamb is found dead in the back room. Wrapped tightly around her neck is a long rope of decorative knotted tea cups—a gift item that Jayne sells at Mrs. Hudson’s. Gemma’s boyfriend in blue, Ryan Ashburton, arrives on the scene with Detective Louise Estrada. But the suspect list is long, and the case far from elementary. Does Kathy’s killing have any relation to a mysterious death of seven years ago? 

Gemma has no intention of getting involved in the investigation, but when fellow shopkeeper Maureen finds herself the prime suspect she begs Gemma for her help. Ryan knows Gemma’s methods and he isn’t happy when she gets entangled in another mystery. But with so many suspects and so few clues, her deductive prowess will prove invaluable in A Scandal in Scarlet, Vicki Delany’s shrewdly plotted fourth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery.

 

 

***2019 The Summer of Sherlock*** 

I enjoyed this fourth installment of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mysteries much more than the last one. Either I was more forgiving of Emma Doyle’s idiosyncrasies or Ms. Delany toned them down just a titch. Either way, this was a pleasant way to spend a rainy afternoon.

I’m not usually a cozy mystery fan, but I have been enjoying this series. It seems that Emma may have managed to patch up her private life and is behaving with a bit more compassion to others as a result. I am also encouraged by her improved relationship with Detective Estrada, which has been unnaturally strained from book one. A woman as bright and ambitious as Louise Estrada should not be as threatened by Emma as she was portrayed in the first three books--Louise definitely had grounds to be grumpy, but not vindictive toward the amateur sleuth.

I am pleased to know that Vicki Delaney will be coming to my hometown writers’ conference next August and I will be pleased to hear what she has to say about writing. I’ll also look forward to reading books in some of her other series in preparation for that event.

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review 2019-08-04 21:37
A Scandal in Battersea / Mercedes Lackey
A Scandal in Battersea - Mercedes Lackey

The twelfth novel in Mercedes Lackey's magical Elemental Masters series reimagines Sherlock Holmes in a richly-detailed alternate 20th-century England

Christmas is a very special time of year. It is special for Psychic Nan Killian and Medium Sarah Lyon-White and their ward Suki, who are determined to celebrate it properly. It is special for their friends, Doctor John Watson, and his wife Mary, both Elemental Masters, who have found great delight in the season seeing it through young Suki’s eyes. 

It is also special to others...for very different reasons.

For Christmas Eve is also hallowed to dark forces, powers older than mankind, powers that come awake on this, the Longest Night. Powers best left alone. Powers that could shake the foundations of London and beyond.

It begins slowly. Women disappearing in the dark of night, women only missed by those of their own kind. The whispers only begin when they start to reappear—because when they do, they are no longer sane. And when Nan and Sarah and the Watsons are called on to examine these victims, they discover that it was no ordinary horror of the streets that drove them mad.

But then, the shadows reach for other victims—girls of good, even exalted families, who vanish from concerts, lectures, and evening balls. And it will take the combined forces of Magic, Psychic Powers, and the worlds greatest detective to stop the darkness before it can conquer all

 

***2019 The Summer of Sherlock*** 

Well, I called A Study in Sable a weird tribute to Sherlock Holmes. This book is even weirder. Not only does it continue to represent John & Mary Watson as magical practitioners, it joins them, Nan & Sarah, and Sherlock Holmes himself to battle eldritch horrors out of H.P. Lovecraft! 

The mash-up doesn’t work for me, but it may work for folks who are more into Lovecraft than Mr. Holmes. Both books, to my way of thinking, are far outside of the detective’s wheelhouse and his presence really isn’t appropriate.

The evil magician who starts the whole situation going isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer and the tentacle monster has pretty banal requests of him. Said evil magician is so pitiful at covering his tracks that it’s amazing that he wasn’t apprehended almost immediately!

If you are a dyed-in-the-wool Mercedes Lackey fan, you will probably enjoy this. To my way of thinking, Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraft fans are better off avoiding it. What it may accomplish is sending inexperienced readers to Doyle and Lovecraft if they fancy this novel and haven’t read those two authors.

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