Love Overdue by Pamela Morsi (August 2013)

love-overdue

 

The trope of the frumpy librarian breaking out in 5-inch stilettos is amusingly (from a librarian’s perspective) resilient in its attraction to the general public.  I guess it’s that madonna/whore thing. And I can’t say I’m immune to the trope’s attraction.  I’ll refrain from showing up to work in heels that hobble.  But I did amuse myself with this little mass market confection.  There were a few places where I thought, no way, that’s not how libraries work.  But in general, Morsi got it right.  I loved the Miss NO NO NOOOOOOooo! character.  Every library’s gotta have at least one.  I had to suspend my disbelief in a serious way, when the main male character didn’t recognize his siren librarian from a brief encounter with her break-out form eight years earlier.  It’s quite the conceit to believe someone you once slept with isn’t going to recognize you just because you’re actually wearing clothes this time.  Or am I giving men too much credit?  Regardless, this is a fun, contemporary romance, that is well-written enough I only winced a couple times at the sweetness.

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The Second Empress by Michelle Moran (Aug 2012)

ImageSo, do you have any idea how much of a jerk Napoleon was?  I mean, we’ve all heard the little-man-big-ego jokes.  But his real life, the one where hundreds of thousands were killed, without remorse, for his ambitions . . . it’s not a very funny joke.  I found this out reading The Second Empress, which, like all of Michelle Moran’s books, is entertaining.  This book is about Napoleon’s second wife, the Hapsburg princess Marie-Louise, whom he married after setting aside Josephine.  Her story is told here, fictionally.  Moran claims to have done quite a bit of serious research, saying the vast majority of the novel is based closely on real stuff, including letters that are quoted throughout.  Unfortunately, her sources don’t appear to have been very good ones.  Reviews written by people knowlegable about the period are fairly critical of the ways Moran veers from the historical record.  Again, this is historical FICTION, and it is entertaining.  I rather gobbled it up.  But it seems one should be very cautious about absorbing the historical detail — other than the most general fact that, yes, Napoleon was quite the jerk.  The book rotates in chapters through the voices of Marie-Louise herself, Pauline (Napoleon’s sister), and Paul Moreau (Pauline’s “black chamberlain”).  These voices give a fascinating, widely varying view onto Napoleon and his reign.  I  recommend this book (especially to readers who love Philippa Gregory and Allison Weir) — and when you’re done, pick up Moran’s Nefertiti and Cleopatra’s Daughter.  But then, look into some of the reviews to see how the novels differ from the actual history.  Moran’s website explains some of the liberties she has taken . . . but not enough.  Advance readers copy provided by the publisher on NetGalley.com. 

Undercover Alliance by Lilly Cain (June 2012)

I was given the galley by Carina Press on NetGalley, and did not immediately begin reading it. I thought, a romance between a human and an alien is intriguing, but, well, kind of weird. Maybe not my cup of tea. But I was very pleasantly surprised. Lilly Cain is a good writer, and the book never sinks into romance genre slush of “feelings” verbiage. Romance, and sex, are the point, but there is a decent plot. At only one point did I think there was a string left dangling, and if you pulled it the plot might unravel. No one’s perfect. But the sex was pretty close. And not overdone. It’s not like the characters spent all their time in bed, exhausting not only themselves but readers’ credulity as well. It was believable. Even though it was alien. An accomplishment indeed. I will be buying the other two books in the Confederacy Treaty series. I received Undercover Alliance for free, but I’m more than willing to pay for the other two downloads, now that I’m acquainted with Cain’s writing. And I’ll be buying the one paperback of hers that seems to be available — Dark Harmony — for my public library.

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