a highland fling

Laird of the Mist by Paula Quinn

Soon after I received my Nook, my Bchan asked if I was loading it up with trashy novels… ebook sales often show that a lot of so-called trashy novels are purchased by customers with readers. So, yes, I had purchased a trashy novel, but like so many novels in the Romance genre, there was a lot more to it than just ripped bodices and throbbing… er… bits.

Laird of the Mist takes the reader to seventeenth century Scotland, into the bloody feud between the Campbells and the outlawed and proscribed MacGregors. Cromwell rules as Lord Protector and the Scots must obey English law. For Duncan Campbell, English law has much to offer, especially when it comes to taking matters into his own hands against the Devil MacGregor and his sympathizers. But when Kate Campbell, Duncan’s niece, falls to the clutches of the Devil, she soon learns that her uncle’s tales about the brutal MacGregor chieftain are not all that they seem, and sometimes there is more to a man than his reputation.

Kate Campbell is a plucky heroine who always makes her will known, her bravery and self-command serving as a perfect complement to Callum “The Devil” MacGregor’s stalwart honor. The story is fast-paced and romantic, but also filled with plenty of adventure. A nice treat while I wait for another Outlander novel.

penny dreadful

I love a good Victorian-esque mystery and the Lady Julia Grey novels do not disappoint. This was one of those cases when Amazon actually got a recommendation right and provided me with a perfect, new addiction. As an early birthday present, I ordered myself the rest of the series and will anxiously await their arrival. I’m sure nothing I read will feel as compelling until I have devoured them.

In Silent in the Grave, the series opens with the death of Lady Julia’s husband , a death that may have been produced by less than natural means… The novel is rife with mystery, mayhem, and adventure as Lady Julia comes to terms with the aftermath of her husband’s death and meets her match in Nicholas Brisbane, inquiry agent and enigmatic object of desire. I could not stop reading.

Lady Julia’s adventures continue in Silent in the Sanctuary as she becomes enmeshed in another case of murder, one that is too close to home. Returning to her role as amateur sleuth, Julia begins her own investigation as Brisbane tries to solve the mystery. Together, they  learn more than they ever expected and break a few hearts in the process.

I am loving this series and can’t wait to read on!

Ruthless and the three volume novel

Ruthless by Anne Stuart

I was in the mood for some literary meringue… a tasty treat without much substance. Ruthless had a bit more substance than I expected, but it definitely fit the bill. I haven’t read much romance, as I’ve noted in the past, but I’ve been moving beyond my usual genres in an effort to defuse some of my literary snobbishness. There’s not much I can say about Ruthless, other than that it was a quick, enjoyable read. It is what it is–a romance novel with a fast plot, a dash of mystery, a bit of banter, a dark hero with an inscrutable past, and an unlikely heroine who redeems him against his will (and her better judgment). There was sex, but nothing so graphic that it would put off readers who don’t enjoy such scenes. The novel is part of a trilogy, but it seems that the volumes can be read individually.

Speaking of three-volume novels, I am suddenly reminded of one of my favorite scenes from “The Importance of Being Earnest”… so I leave you with some Wilde.

Miss Prism: Do not speak slightingly of the three-volume novel, Cecily. I wrote one myself in earlier days.

Cecily: Did you really, Miss Prism? How wonderfully clever you are! I hope it did not end happily? I don’t like novels that end happily. They depress me so much.

Miss Prism: The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine by Lauren Willig

I was in the mood for something fun, but didn’t want to pick something from my scattered collection of TBR books. A library trip was in order and Lauren Willig hit the spot.

Visiting her boyfriend Colin’s historical home, Eloise–grad student and history sleuth–takes a research detour when she uncovers the personal correspondence of Lady Charlotte Lansdowne. While not directly related to her dissertation topic on the history of the Pink Carnation, Eloise is intrigued when reads a line about the King’s madness (George the Third, that is) while browsing through the letters. Wondering what Charlotte Lansdowne could have to do with the King’s madness, Eloise becomes absorbed in a tale of decadence, intrigue, and betrayal.

Considered a bookish little mouse by her domineering grandmother and the male members of the ton, Charlotte Lansdowne never expected to find the sort of adventure and romance that she so enjoyed in her favorite novels, but that is just what she finds when her dashing cousin Robert, the erstwhile Duke of Dovedale returns from his self-imposed exile in India. Suddenly, Charlotte finds that even the most unlikely character has the potential to become a romantic heroine.

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine is the 5th novel in Willig’s Pink Carnation, Regency spy series. I didn’t realize this until I started reading the book, but I found that I had no problem following the storyline despite the series order snafu. For the most part, references to prior installments in the series were minor and did not affect my enjoyment if the book as a single installment. Also, while it’s been a while since I read The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, I didn’t find that I needed to refer to the first installment to follow Eloise’s story.

I thought Charlotte was a great character. She’s bookish, smart, and knows her own mind. She’s the sort of person who is frequently underestimated by her peers simply because she doesn’t participate in the usual comings and goings of fashionable society. But most of all, I liked her because she reminded me of …well… me. She’s the sort of whimsical and imaginative person that people overlook because they assume she is a bit oblivious to the happenings of the great, busy world. Except, she’s not. Charlotte is an unlikely heroine because she is the sort of person that no one would ever consider observant enough to bother with, though she is eminently observant of her surroundings. It was her ability to surprise everyone with her intelligence and intrepidness that made this a great read for me.

I am definitely going to look for the other books in the series now that I have skipped ahead. I would love to get to know Henrietta and Miles further, as well as that troublesome yet charming Frenchman.