scholar heroines

Scientists Looking for Love in “I Thee Wed”

26067984I Thee Wed by Celeste Bradley
Signet: May 3, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!

I Thee Wed features a science-minded hero and heroine; however, despite an equal appreciation for scientific investigation, that does not mean that they are perfectly matched. While Orion Worthington is strictly logical when it comes to his experiments, Francesca Penrose embraces the more unexplained side of science. Since Orion has come on board as Francesca’s uncle’s assistant, their difference in opinion naturally leads to some heated confrontations. When antagonism turns to lust the pair decide to launch an experiment: one night together, then they’ll both be able to return to their work without any distractions. Needless to say, the plan goes awry and distraction abounds.

The romance between Francesca and Orion was delightfully witty and fun. I know some people are bothered by modernism in the historical romance genre, so I would suggestion approaching I Thee Wed with caution. Since I am not one of those readers, I found I Thee Wed to be a highly entertaining read. I particularly enjoyed Orion more logical tendencies and his complete befuddlement when confronted with the vibrancy of Francesca. Francesca is flighty and spontaneous but she remains a scientist and has no trouble giving Orion a piece of her mind or some of her Italian cooking if all else fails. (more…)

A Thousand Perfect Things is almost perfect: a book review

thousandperfectthingsA Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon
Publisher: Premier Digital Publishing
Date: August 27 2013
Genre: Fantasy
My rating: Vacation by the beach
e-Arc provided by NetGalley

In an alternate world where a familiar nineteenth-century England (Anglica) builds a sea-spanning Bridge that makes crossing the kraken-filled waters to a recognizable India (Bharata) safer and more expedient, young Astoria (called Tori) is determined to find the Golden Lotus, a mythical flower in Nanpura, a province of Bharata. She is club-footed and scholarly, having spent her time with her grandfather, a student of the natural world. Nanpura is the home of Mahindra, a Bharatan sorcerer who is also determined to find the Golden Lotus – for his own purposes. He harbors hatred for the Anglicans, who have conquered his homeland and imposed their own culture over his. He orchestrates Tori’s arrival and subsequent search by arranging for her father to be posted in Nanpura, and to take his family with him. Unknown to Tori and Mahindra, the Anglican government also plans to use Tori to find the mythical flower – in order to further subjugate the Bharatans. And the plot thickens.

Tori, young Captain Muir-Smith, the younger prince of Nanpura, Mahindra, an old gardener who knew Tori’s grandfather, and an officer with the intelligence services, all play a role in the story and narrate the plot at different times. Bharata is almost a secondary character, with lavish descriptions of the jungle, of its people, its spirits, and its society.


Classics: The Shadowy Horses

shadowyhorses The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley
Publisher: Jove
Date: March 1st 1999
Genre: Fiction / Paranormal
My rating: Outstanding adventure
This novel went way beyond my expectations, into “truly delightful” territory. I had expected something a little less fiction and a little more fluffy (Kind of like Elizabeth Lowell, who writes stories involving art history, book history, studies of artifacts, etc. – but whose writing is not nearly as good).

This novel has a perfect mix of history, romance, and mystery.

The plot begins immediately, with an archaeologist re-tracing her route on a bus after managing to sleep through her train stop. She’s received a teasing letter from an old flame about an amazing dig in southern Scotland, and is on her way to the Scottish borderlands to find out if she wants to work on it. The man financing and leading the dig has a reputation for being a bit mad, which she doesn’t find out until she meets him. It turns out he’s looking for the fabled Lost Legion, the Legio IX Hispana.

The author throws in a ghost – “The Sentinel” – and a psychic boy, which at first I thought I wouldn’t like. Fortunately, the supernatural stuff does not ruin the story or the characterization, both of which are compelling.


Book Review: The Garden Intrigue


The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Date: February 2012
Genre: Historical Romance / Mystery
Series: The League of the Pink Carnation (Book #9)
Rating: I’d go there again!

Lauren Willig’s The Garden Intrigue is the ninth book in the League of the Pink Carnation series. I recently came back to this series after getting stalled on book six, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily.  In the end I decided to skip The Betrayal of the Blood Lily as the plot did not appeal to me at all and move on in this fun, historical series.

In The Garden of Intrigue we once again return to the dual narratives of Eloise, the modern day scholar, and the subjects of her thesis, the spies that make up the League of the elusive Pink Carnation. In this volume we head over to France and visit Napoleon’s court. In this court serves poet, Augustus Whittlesby. Augustus is a horrendous and cliched poet, complete with billowy sleeves and too tight pants. His most vocal critic is the young widow, Emma Morris Delagardie, who married a Frenchman and was cut off from her family. Emma’s husband died four years previous and she’s now feeling a lit lost at sea; but it certainly doesn’t stop her from poking fun at Augustus. Unbeknownst to Emma, Augustus is more than a billowy shirt, he’s actually a British spy working with Jane, the Pink Carnation.

When Augustus catches wind of a mysterious device in Napoleon’s hands, he knows that he must get access to house party where the new technology will be reportedly tested. Emma, as a close friend to the Bonaparte family, has been asked to write a short play for the house party and Augustus takes advantage of that to secure his own invitation. What Augustus does not count on is learning that Emma is more than the facade she presents to the wider world.

In addition to this historical intrigue, we also have the continuation of Eloise Kelly and Colin Selwick’s romance. In this installment a film crew has invaded Selwick Hall and Eloise has to face the fact that her fellowship has run its course and she has to go back to the States. Once again, I wish readers were given a longer look at the Eloise and Colin relationship drama – Eloise is a great character and I would love to hear more from her point of view. I would love it if Willig devoted an entire novel to Eloise and Colin, but alas I have no control over that.

Overall, I really enjoyed returning to this series, and while I may feel a touch guilty for skipping a book, I’m glad that I could move on without feeling like I was missing an integral part of the series as a whole.

One thing I have to mention with this series is the romance aspect. Initially, I loved that Willig was incorporating more of a historical romance in a more in-depth novel; however, I have noticed that with each subsequent book the romance has gotten lighter and lighter and if I were to complain about anything, that would be it. I loved that the earlier books in the series were heavier on the romance side of things and I didn’t really see why this had to change; that said, I think this series would then appeal to readers outside of the historical romance genre.

At any rate, I’m happy to have caught up on the series since the next installment comes out in August 2013 – we get the ferocious Miss Gwen’s story next!


And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily, #1) Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia, #1) Slightly Shady (Lake/March, #1) Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries #1