off the shelf: spies, forgers, and lovers unite!

a little departure from the Friday vlog.

I like to sneak some sweetness between the “serious” reads (you all know that), so I took a chance on a couple of prepub selections from Loveswept (via Netgalley).

512k37PVBiL._SY346_The first was Sharon Cullen’s Wed to a Spy, a historical romance set in the court of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Synopsis:

When Aimee de Verris is caught with her sweetheart, her aunt, Catherine de Medici, packs her off to Queen Mary’s court, where she is to spy on Mary or lose her chance to return to France.

Sir Simon Marcheford is one of Queen Elizabeth’s best agents. When the Queen sends him on a mission to Spain, until fate delivers him to Mary’s court. Things get heated when the two get caught between a forced marriage and a plot against Mary.

Thoughts:

With the exception of Philippa Gregory, this is a time period that I rarely see in romance (maybe I’m not looking in the right place?). Like most romances, this was a fun read and an easy romp. I liked the change in setting (I tend to read Regency or Victorian), and I found the dynamic between Aimee and Simon believable for the period. It wasn’t until I reached the end that I realized I Sharon Cullen also wrote Campbell’s Redemption, which I read a few months ago and found refreshing in its depiction of romance and widowhood. Definitely recommend if you want something Elizabethan.

Find Sharon Cullen on amazon.

51dwAl4i9FLThe second selection was K.C Bateman’s A Counterfeit Heart.

Synopsis:

Sabine de la Tour is on the run. A forger and a woman, she had everything to lose if caught. Unwilling to let her friend Anton take the fall for her actions, she flees with him to London, where she presents herself to the one man who came close to learning her secret: the relentless Lord Richard Lovell, agent of the crown and lust incarnate. Can a forger change her ways? Can she be more than a counterfeiter Lord Lovell’s eyes?

Thoughts:

I really liked this one. The moral ambiguity in particular added an extra something to the romance, as well as the “meeting of equals” feel between Sabine and Richard. In addition to history, there’s a lot of art in this novel, which made for a smart read (Bateman is an art appraiser and antiques expert, as well as a historical romance writer, which makes for some really rich description). If you want Regency with a dash of mystery and danger, check this one out.

Find K.C. Bateman on amazon.

Disclaimer: Previews via NetGalley. Not affiliate links. Just sharing the book love.

off the shelf: Finding Fraser by kc dyer

Feeling Outlander withdrawal? Check out kc dyer’s Finding Fraser, one girl’s quest to find a highlander of her own, one mishap at a time.

 photo findingfraser_zpsapadsnfm.jpgFinding Fraser is a quick, light read. It’s a contemporary romance, along the lines of all those finding Mr. Darcy style books, with an Outlander twist. It’s a little slow to start (at least for me), but the story picks up. There are moments when Emma, the protagonist, is more than a little exasperating, but I didn’t expect much going in, just a fluffy, summer read.

 

MENTIONED

Finding Fraser by kc dyer: https://amzn.com/0399584366

Lady of the Glen by Jennifer Roberson: https://amzn.com/B00D2XJJP4

off the shelf: Newt’s Emerald

I love Garth Nix and I love a little magic with my Regencies; when I discovered that Garth Nix had done just that, I knew I had to read it. Newt’s Emerald is just the right balance of historical fantasy and fun YA. Perfect for summer reading.

off the shelf: Beyond the Red by Ava Jae

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I’ve been following Ava Jae’s Writability blog for a few years, so I was more than a little excited to finally get to read her debut novel, Beyond the Red. I knew little about the story, other than that it was a sci-fi YA (though better suited for slightly older readers on the YA spectrum. It was initially billed as NA according to one of Ava’s posts). The story begins with terror and loss, setting it smack in the middle of an inter-species war. Eros and Kora are drawn into the fray—-one a half-blood outcast, the other a Sepharon Avra (a sort of tribal queen). Set on the desert planet of Safara, the setting is harsh and dangerous, a world of dry, red sands baked under the heat of four suns. The plot is gripping from the first, packed with action and suspense. Definitely a page-turner and deserving of attention. 
It’s been some time since I’ve read sci-fi fantasy and this was definitely a treat. Ava’s world-building is excellent, subtle hints situate the story within a future, post-Earth, other world reality that is entirely believable. The politics and bi-species tension are also elaborately drawn, adding an extra layer of polish to a seemingly simple story of forbidden love, honor, and duty. Really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from Ava.

off the shelf: Forevermore by Kristen Callihan

Sin Evernight is torn between duty and guilt. Alone and cast out after betraying his family, he is now in danger of losing the woman he’s always loved—-Layla Starling, his childhood friend and the one he thought lost to him. Can he reclaim his honor and find love?

Twists, turns, demons, and angels abound in this conclusion to the Darkest London series. If you’re looking for a steamy summer read, this may be the book for you.

Can be read as a standalone, but much more enjoyable if you’ve read the entire series. I won’t mention plots, but they are all intertwined and very well developed. My favorite is Book 4: Shadowdance. Love it. She’s a master at angst and sexy times. Smart, trashy books forever!

Check out the video for more on the series. (Sorry about the interruptions, I tried recording three times and this was the best of the lot).

Available June 28. Preorder now!