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.

what’s the story morning glory?

on writing…

On Monday morning, I reached what felt like a natural ending to my great climactic scene 🙂 so it’s all downhill from there… not that that’s a bad thing. It’s about time. I’m feeling the urge to start tinkering with a new plot… perhaps even a side story to help me refresh. I find that it helps me to think of something completely different between drafts. It keeps me from wanting to throw things in frustration every time I think of another element that needs changing. And there are plenty of them (I am more than aware of that), but there also comes a point in my writing when I need to be willing to step back and let go before diving in for another round. My intro (+ the first five chapters) need another look, but I’m going to avoid making any major changes before getting some reader feedback. I don’t want to muddle it up before having another set of eyes go through it.

on books…

In other news, I recently shuttered the book blog. It was time and I’m ok with that. Needless to say, there is no way I will stop talking about books; it just means that my posts will be more like random comments and side posts on tumblr than full reviews.

I’m currently reading the second in the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger, Curtsies & Conspiracies. I’m enjoying it more than the first one and will definitely read on when the third and fourth books come out.Next in line is Cassandra Clare’s City of Heavenly Fire, which just arrived for me from the library and which I did not expect for several weeks yet. This means I’ll have to speed my way through to finish before it’s due.

In the meantime, I continue to stare longingly at Diana Gabaldon’s Written in my Own Heart’s Blood, which arrived in the mail several weeks ago and has been resting on my nightstand while I read through the sudden deluge of library requested books that I’ve received.

on life...

My dad is still not well and there’s not much we can do for him but wait and hope the therapy makes a difference. It’s terribly worrying when you’re parents are older and in poor health. My mom, meanwhile, is not handling it very well and that’s equally concerning, as well as stress-inducing for me as the person in the middle.

everything else…

I kind of like this subheading thing… may start using it as a regular thing.