Monday, November 26, 2012

Too Dangerous to Desire by Cara Elliot

I just have to get this out of the way. The Sleuth Hound? You've got a book for the
Irish Wolfhound (cool name) and Gryff, which must be like the dog? And then the Sleuth Hound? Because he stole things? Or searched things out for the government? Maybe I missed the explanation but, come on, this was a silly name.
Otherwise, this was a really fun story. Elliot has kept up the tempo of this trilogy, not falling down at the end like some other authors are apt to do.
Sophie Lawrance is in trouble. She's being blackmailed over some papers that could lead people to believe that her father was dipping into the church's coffers. The blackmailer's are wanting a particular piece of paper but they'll settle for money in the meantime. 
That piece of paper also affects Cameron Daggett, Sophie's childhood love, who left her when she wouldn't elope with him. 
Since then, Cameron has picked up some skills that will help Sophie get out of trouble. He feels that his soul is too dark to be in love with Sophie, but he can't stay away.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What Happens at Christmas by Victoria Alexander

It used to be that new releases by Victoria Alexander were a must buy for me. The later Effingtons weren't as interesting as the first and the Last Man Standing didn't really capture my imagination. Oh, don't get me wrong, they were still good, but not the storytelling I had fallen in love with.
I wouldn't say that this book is a return to those early Alexander books because, really, I enjoyed it so much more. Even with having to read it as a teeny-tiny pdf from NetGalley, I tore through this book. "Lord Stillwell's Excellent Engagements" is now on my list to buy and I can't wait even a few days.
The story is sort of simple, Boy loves Girl. Girl loves Boy, but he waits until the day before she weds someone else to make her aware of his feelings. She, understandably, is more than a little upset about the wait and says some rather harsh things. Then he says harsh things and runs away to America. Neither of them is truly to blame for the mess but they certainly don't do anything to help themselves.
Well, it's eleven years later and Grayson Elliot is back to visit his cousin at Christmas. It turns out that Camille, (the now widowed) Lady Lydingham is going to be at her childhood home as well.
But from there (is this still the first 30 or so pages?), it gets a bit more complicated. Camille has been raised (as most women were in those days, Alexander, through Elliot's character very fairly notes) to marry for money and status. She's always dreamed about a prince and now she's found a displaced one. One who is interested in experiencing a <i>real</i> English Christmas. Except that her family is out of the country. No problem, she'll hire some actors. Of course, Grayson knows that these people aren't her family. He uses the chance to wriggle his way into the "play" and win himself a chance to work his way back into Camille's heart.
Why not five stars? Well, at the end, there kept being more misunderstandings. Normally, this would have immediately knocked the book down to a three-star for me, but Alexander did have the characters wrap it up fairly quickly.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Grandville Bete Noire-Bryan Talbot

Okay, to be honest, I'd give the ebook version three stars but a regular book would definitely be a four out of five star review. 
I had never tried a graphic novel on my Nook and I won't soon be repeating the experience. Other ebook readers may have better luck but the words were absolutely tiny on the screen and pixelated almost to a point past readability when enlarged. However, the story was an interesting one that pulled me in and almost made me forget my frustrations.
It's hard not to compare any graphic novel using animals as the main characters to the classic "Maus." It's been awhile since I read the book but I don't remember any human characters whereas Talbot's world (a steampunk version of a world where Napoleon won) actually has humans or "doughfaces" who are servants to the animals. There are a number of literary references with the villain being set up in "Toad Hall" (another toad obsessed with machinery) as well as main characters who, though working for the police, can only have been based off of Sherlock and Watson. Every time the mouse spoke I heard Nigel Bruce's voice in my head. The author also has artistic flourishes with nods to Magritte (p. 13) and Reubens (which confused me because he was famous for his plump <i>human</i> models). Detective Inspector LeBrock (Badger, which I thought was a wolf even though people called him a badger.) and his friend 
I will be looking for the first two books at my local library.