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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Guarding dreams

The Arrow: A Highland Guard Novel (The Highland Guard #9) by Monica McCarty

Just the right amount of action, reluctant love, a feisty young woman, a warrior with legendary 
skills, passion and tenderness all coupled with Scottish history (Robert the Bruce times) to make this a satisfying read on many different levels. 
The character of Gregor 'Arrow' McGregor, one of Bruce's legendary 'phantoms' is both complex and guarded, hiding the hurts of his boyhood and early manhood years.
The essence of Cate (Catroina) of Lochmaben is courage, truth and determination, yet she has her own dark secret. Gregor's ward, in love with him from the moment he rescued her from a well after being left for dead by English raiders.a warrior lass determined on vengeance.
Their story comes of age with startling revelations for both.
The storyline and the characters certainly held my interest. I read it in a few hours.

A NetGalley ARC

Muslin and steel!

Enticing Miss Eugenie Villaret (The Marriage Game) by Ella Quinn 

I really liked Eugenie. A great heroine. Strong, alluring, socially conscious and determined.
To my mind Viscount William Wivenly just falls short of her intellect and capacity. Then maybe it's true that Wivenly needs such a woman so that he can in turn grow and become the man he is capable of being.
The plot is peppered with interesting twists and turns. Set on the steamy shores of St Thomas, the Danish WestI indies in 1816 we have a pirate raids and a murdered captain who is a member of the Wivenly family, our enchanting French charmer Eugenie, doubtful French relatives, a harassed young Earl who takes the chance to escape England and the marauding husband hunting debutantes seeking to entrap him, and takes up then reins of his position to help his relatives.

A NetGalley ARC

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Oops! I guess it only takes once!

Not Quite a Wife (The Lost Lords #6) by Mary Jo Putney

Interesting addition to the Lost Lords series. This time the story centres on Lord Kirkland and the wife (Laurel) that he has been estranged from for over ten years.
The others of the group have no idea that James Kirkland is married to the sister of another of Miss Agnes' boys.   
So ten years on, Laurel unknowingly rescues her husband then proceeds to have conjugal relations with him whilst he's off his head with a fever. Upon his recovery she sends him on his way. He's of the opinion he's been hallucinating about the episode. You don't have to be a soothsayer to understand that pregnancy is about to lead them back to each other.
What follows is a story of love lost, lives maturing and changing and love found, albeit with a stretch of the imagination. I did lose all patience with Laurel with respect to her reaction to James' killing of an assassin and attacker. Distressed though she was just how did she expect him to handle the assassin? I don't think there was any time for discussion or reasoning! Their relationship is of course not without a few problems along the way. Well, actually it's quite fraught. Laurel's brother Daniel is interesting. The subject of slavery, women's shelters and child birth are all present giving a spotlight on issues of the times.
An ok read, even if a tad flat.

A NetGalley ARC

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Another richly woven gem!

Cast in Flame (The Chronicles of Elantra #10) by Michelle Sagara

Sharing accommodation with a dragon, especially one who is continually being guarded does have its drawbacks, but then so does living in the palace. Arguments for one thing have a way of deafening those unused to them.
Since her return from the West March Kaylin has much to put up with, including the lost Barrani, out of time and understanding of how and what the 'now' is.
This new episode in Kaylin's life certainly lives up to the expectations I have come to enjoy from the collection that is the Elanatra Chronicles.
I love the wealth of meaning in words and names. I am fascinated as always as Sargara continues her underlying treatise on the power of naming, the misunderstanding across cultures about such things, and the intuitive understanding that Kaylin constantly exhibits.
Another underlying theme is displaced persons (here, through time) and how they do or do not, or try to fit into a culture and time not their own
This is not for the first time reader of the series. Understanding is definitely captive to what has gone before.
As always though I am bound up with Kaylin and her acceptance of those she adopts into her idea of family.
Kaylin's search for the idea of home for herself and Bell is what sparks some of the action, and this idea of home is interestingly explored.
But the story goes way beyond this. The towers are disturbed by the lost Barrani intruders, and the Ancestor is alerted. Things become grim.
And let's not forget Kaylin's familiar--the tiny dragon!
The ending is that wonderful wry mix of Kaylin at her human best as she continues to act in those ways we all applaud.

A NetGalley ARC

Kilts and bonny brae highland men. Hard to resist!

Hero of a Highland Wolf (Heart of the Wolf Book 14) by Terry Spear

Once more an American wolf shifter graces the fair Scottish shores. This time it is Julia Wildthorn's (mated to Laird Ian MacNeill) best friend, Colleen. Colleen is actually Lady Colleen Playfair and has just inherited a castle and properties from the grandmother she'd never met. To meet the terms of inheritance she has to stay at the castle for a year and a day.
Grant MacQuarrie is the clan's pack alpha male and chief, and manager of Colleen's castle. He does not want this American heir messing around with the running of the estate.
The sparks certainly ignite when these two connect. Grant has more than met his match Fortunately Colleen has a delightful sense of humour, is not easily fazed and takes all that Grant and his pack mates throw at her in her stride. And that was certainly some induction!
Add in the suspect villain, the smooth talking Archibald Borthwick, who has more than a passing interest in the new heiress. A dangerous mystery rears its head.
All the elements are present for a pleasing boy meets girl werewolf romance, but to my mind it just doesn't have quite the edge that Julia and Ian's story had.
Still, it's a Terry Spear and those who have been following her stories will be well pleased with this addition to the series.

A NetGalley ARC