Because you can't judge a book by its cover

Historical

Isabelle de Piaget must get to France immediately in order to save her grandparents, but she must do so without the overprotective care of her family and survive the perils of medieval England and France in the process. In Dreams of Lilac by Lynn Kurland, Isabelle is able to sneak away from her family by dressing as a lad but while crossing the channel from England to France her ship is sunk in a storm and Isabelle washes ashore without any money or memory of who she is or what she is doing in France.

Gervase de Seger’s rescue of Isabelle from a group of thugs is not the noble chivalrous rescue he would have been able to perform a year ago, due to almost dying in a fire in his castle and breaking numerous bones, Gervase is barely able to move, let alone lift a sword to defend himself. But after rescuing what he thinks is a lad, he takes her home and puts her to work in his kitchen. When Gervase realizes his mistake, he just hopes he can survive Isabelle upsetting every aspect of his life. 

Dreams of Lilac is a fabulous addition to the De Piaget series. If you haven’t read a Lynn Kurland book yet, I HIGHLY recommend that you do! Her novels are historically fabulous, not glossing over the reality of living during medieval times, but it is the relationships between her characters that I absolutely love. Her portrayal of the complexities of family relationships, the good with the bad and how those complexities can impact our own view of ourselves is incredible. I have to admit I was shocked when I looked back over my last almost five years of reviewing that I have only reviewed handful of her novels because she is one of my default purchase authors (you know, those authors what you automatically purchase without even reading the book’s synopsis). That being said, Dreams of Lilac is a great blend of mystery, danger, and love. Isabelle is used to standing on the sidelines, considered the less attractive sister compared to Amanda (of Dreams of Stardust) Isabelle is unused to finding herself the center of attention but that is exactly where she finds herself after she is rescued by Gervase. I loved how Isabelle handled herself in difficult situations, unwilling to stand back anymore she rushes headlong into everything that comes her way.

Gervase, once one of the best tourney knights in France and England now can barely ride a horse, let alone hold a sword to defend his keep. Struggling to figure out who almost killed him and come to terms with his new limitations Gervase is definitely not looking for love, especially to a certain beautiful but headstrong noble woman. Gervase is a strong man, brought low by circumstances and trying his best just to get through each day. The only real issue I had with Dreams of Lilac is that I felt that Gervase’s recovery after Isabelle appeared seems a little fast but I understand why Kurland moved things along as quickly as she did. Dreams of Lilac is a stand alone novel but I recommend you read the entire series (not all of which is available in ebook format) to appreciate the fear Gervase feels when finding out who Isabelle’s family is and because they are just a fabulous read.

De Piaget Reading Order

Another Chance to Dream

If I Had You

Dreams of Stardust

When I Fall In Love

The Christmas Cat (novella)

One Enchanted Evening (you can read my review here)

This is All I Ask

The More I See You

From This Moment On

Tapestry (anthology)

Stardust of Yesterday

Till There Was You

One Magic Moment

All For You

Dreams of Lilac

Rating:  Star 5copy

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Title: Dreams of Lilac

Author: Lynn Kurland

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 336

AISN: B00FX7LVJO

Publisher: Penguin Group

Release Date: April 29, 2014

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

Amity Doncaster is used to facing dangers as a globe-trotting writer but she is completely unprepared for being kidnapped in London. In Otherwise Engaged  by Amanda Quick, Amity is kidnapped by the serial killer known only as The Bridegroom, thanks to her quick thinking and always traveling prepared she is able to escape the masked man but knows he is going to come after again. Having caught the Bridegroom’s attention because of her connection to the mysterious Benedict Standbridge during their boat trip from the Caribbean, Amity is upset when she finally reconnects with Benedict in London.

Benedict Stanbridge owes his life to Amity, when he hears about the attempted kidnapping he rushes to her side, eager to protect her from further harm. Benedict is shocked by Amity’s reaction but is determined to protect her at all costs, even if he has to marry her to do so.

Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick is a stand alone historical romantic mystery. In some ways it is your typical Amanda Quick, clever main characters, complex plot and passionate connections, however, the path to true love is never smooth and that is especially true in Otherwise Engaged. After feeling an immediate connection, Amity and Benedict are separated for a time and then the Bridegroom gets involved. Amity was fabulous, independent, strong-willed and resourceful. Benedict was clever and continually finding himself in situations that his previous experiences have left him unprepared for but he rose to the occasion admirably. I really loved what Ms. Quick said about monsters, “For some reason the most jarring thing about [name omitted to protect the surprise of discovering the murder yourself] was that he appeared so normal. There was nothing remarkable about his neatly combed light brown hair, his thin face or his lean build. It would have been quite easy to pass him by on the street without taking any notice of him whatsoever. But that was the thing about the true monsters of the world, Amity thought. They were so dangerous because they were able to hide in plain sight.” I recommend Otherwise Engaged as a fun quick read.

You can read an excerpt here.

Rating: Star 4copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: Otherwise Engaged

Author: Amanda Quick

Format:  Hardbound, eBook

Page Nos.: 352

AISN: B00FX7R5QM

Publisher: Putnam

Release Date: April 22, 2014

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

Novel Reaction is excited to welcome author Christine D’Abo as part of her blog tour for Quicksilver Soul, the second book in her The Shadow Guild series. Let’s get to know a little more about Christine first,

Multipublished author Christine d’Abo loves exploring the human condition through a romantic lens. She takes her characters on fantastical journeys that change their hearts and expand their minds. A self-professed sci-fi junkie, Christine can often be found chatting about her favorite shows and movies. When she’s not writing, she can be found chasing after her children, dogs or husband. Christine is published with Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Cleis Press and Berkley. Please visit her at her blog and come chat with her on Twitter @Christine_dAbo.

Christine was kind enough to answer some questions (even I have to admit they are a little random but this what happens when I write interview questions late at night after a day spent wrestling with my six month old):

Novel Reaction: What made you decide to make Nicola Tesla female?

Christine: With the creation of this series, I wanted to pull my characters from people in our history, but I wanted to give them a twist of my own. I created my own mythology with Jack the Ripper in book one, GILDED HEARTS, and wanted to do something similar with QUICKSILVER SOUL. I’ve always loved the history and rivalry between Tesla and Edison. I thought it would be fun to incorporate that into one of my stories. I had my hero already and wanted to pair him up with a heroine who was both independent and smart. Turning Tesla into a woman became the next logical step.

Novel Reaction: If you could have a super power what would it be?

PRIDE-AND-PREJUDICE-1995_400Christine: I’m terrified of heights, so no flying or super jumping for me. If anything, I’d want to be able to be super-fast, like the Flash! Running around to get all my errands done while making lunches for the kids and writing 10k a day…yeah, being super-fast would be amazing. And I’d love to be able to run a marathon, so that would also help.

Novel Reaction: Favorite or least favorite books-to-movie?

Chrinstine: Guh there are so many!! I’m a sucker for a good period piece and even better if it’s based on a book that I love. Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth version), Emma (the A&E version), Jane Eyre (the A&E version) are all re-watches for me. I have to say one that I came too late in the game was North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I have to admit to seeing the miniseries before I read the book. The book is great, the miniseries has Richard Armitage. He’s pouty and broody and that smile. Yeah, I’m a HUGE fan of that adaptation.

____________________________

Thanks Christine for answering my questions. I was also late in the game to North and South, which was great! (If you haven’t seen it yet I highly recommend it!) 

The Shadow Guild Reading Order:

Gilded Hearts (read my review here)

Quicksilver Soul (read my review here)

DAbo_QuicksilverSoul_EbookNicola Tesla has never needed a man to complete her life. A gifted engineer, she has always had her experiments to keep her company-or she did, before her vile boss stole them. Now she’s working at the Archives in New London, where the memories of the dead are stored. But it isn’t long before Nicola discovers she’s being watched . . . by a most intriguing, sinfully sexy man.

Archivist Emmet Dennison should be busy extracting memories from the dead. Instead he’s been asked to keep an eye on the brazen, strikingly beautiful Nicola Tesla. Soon Emmet and Nicola are shaken by an attraction neither of them wants. Yet when a nefarious man takes them hostage, Nicola and Emmet will need to rely on their attraction, and the growing bond between them, to stop a madman hellbent on destroying New London forever

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gogglesPiper Smith is an Archivist, a person who takes the memories of the dead for information that they hold and store them in the vast Archives under New London. In Gilded Hearts by Christine D’Abo, Piper’s first assignment is more difficult than she ever imagines it would be, not only is she taking the memory of a woman murdered by Jack the Ripper, but the Sergeant working the case is Samuel Hawkins, the only man to ever leave the Archivists training, taking her heart with him.

Sergeant Samuel Hawkins has worked hard to leave the Archives behind him, disagreeing with their methods and the cost to the individual Archivists. When Piper starts working the case with him he will have to balance his feelings for Piper against the differences separating them. But as the clues to whom Jack the Ripper is and why he is on a killing spree start leading back the Archives, is Piper safe from becoming the next victim?

D’Abo’s Steampunk world is intriguing and different. Set after a war with France has caused damaged to England (a nuclear type war), the government has undertaken to store all the memories of important figures, or those connected to crimes, especially violent crimes. But those who extract the memories into their own heads must have those memories wiped or they would go crazy with a set of memories that aren’t their own, after so many wipes they start affecting the memory and personality of that individual. I loved the machines inhabiting Gilded Hearts, they are super fascinating and an interesting mix of contemporary machines and fantasy creations. Piper was a great heroine: strong, loyal yet with a believable need to be loved and to create her own family unit with those around her. Sam was a little harder to like, having run from the Archives, you get flashes of his memories of what happened sprinkled throughout Gilded Hearts but don’t know the whole story until the end. This take on the Jack the Ripper story was interesting but, as a reader, be prepared because the memories of the prostitutes are just that, memories of prostitutes. There is also some use of the “F’ word. D’Abo’s secondary characters are fabulous, a good supporting cast and I have to admit I would love to spend more time with and get the back story of David and his very interesting female butler Aiko. Overall, Gilded Hearts was a great read if a little on the dark side.

You can read an excerpt here.

Shadow Guild Reading Order:

Gilded Hearts

Quicksilver

Rating: Star 4copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: Gilded Hearts

Author: Christine D’Abo

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 384

AISN: B00CO7GH22

Publisher: Forever Yours (Grand Central)

Release Date: January 2014

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

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Why Ratings?
It is true you can't judge a book by its cover, you also can't judge a book's graphic content by its cover. NovelReaction's goal is to provide readers with a graphic content so they can make an informed decision regarding the books they want to read. (Also, to have a great place for people to discuss books.) So sit back, pull up a beverage, and read on!
Ratings*

1 = kissing
2 = kissing, some fondling
3 = descriptive stripping but no sex
4 = sex scene but not descriptive in details
5 = full descriptive sex scene

*I am rating a specific book by an author, not the author's style. If I am aware an author writes a specific way, I will let you know.

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