Friday, November 2, 2012

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

Ardent Apparitions by Ellen Fitzgerald -- Regency Romance

Lady Arabella is sent to the wilds of Yorkshire to visit a great-great aunt she's never met while her beloved Papa goes on a diplomatic mission to Paris. At first Arabella wants to stay in London but once she sees the gothic old castle and discovers the family ghosts, she decides the adventure is worth having. There's also her handsome cousin Sir Francis, who is very charming but wishes to exorcise the ghosts. The ghosts do not take too kindly to the idea of being banished and hatch up some schemes of their own. The plot is a bit silly and a bit gothic. It gets a bit bizarre at the end and goes in a different direction than what I expected. The description on the jacket is a bit misleading. The romance is more of a whimper than a grand passion. It's barely there. I can not tell what the characters see in each other besides good looks. The romance just never really develops. It's not a paranormal romance though it does feature several lively ghosts. The ghosts are more developed than the human characters. Each ghost has a back story and a distinctive personality. Their stories are a bit cliched but make for fun reading. The humans are bland and two-dimensional. I couldn't feel anything for any of them. The writing style is a bit awkward and old-fashioned. It feels very forced and doesn't flow smoothly as if it came from the pen of Jane Austen or Emily Bronte. Warning to the modern reader: the story contains some negative depictions of Canada's and the First Nations. The attitudes reflect the attitudes of the time but are very different from modern opinions. Overall, I think this is a light, fun read, good for Halloween.

Dark Destiny (Dark Mirror 3) by M.J. Putney -- Young Adult Historical Fantasy/ Romance

While still in 1940, Allarde has a premonition that Napoleon is about to invade Britain. When Mrs. Rainford can't find evidence to the contrary in history books, the Irregulars know they need to return home NOW. They arrived back in 1804 to discover their magical wards severely compromised and Napoleon planning to invade Britain. Tori, Allarde, Cynthia, Jack and Elspeth are needed to stop to the invasion. This time they are up against the dangerous unknown weapon of magic. Meanwhile, in 1940, Rebecca Weiss has been staying with the Rainfords to develop her magical powers. She's looking forward to getting back to school to study non-magical subjects which will help her on her quest to become a doctor. She realizes her dream is to become a psychologist. She learns she can enter minds and help redirect their thoughts in order to heal. Rebecca's newly discovered talent is much needed in 1804. Will she have the courage to step through the mirror and head into danger? She must, for the Irregulars saved her life, but is she a powerful enough mageling to do what they ask? She also must deal with Nick Rainford's growing attraction. She's Jewish and he's not so she's certain that they can never be together, but Nick is persistent. Can they find a way after all? Allarde must also face the truth that what he is about to do will sever him from his family and his estate forever. Tori is determined to stay by his side no matter what. The plot of this story is similar to the first book with starts and stops. There are several chapters with major action and then a thrilling ending. Then there are periods where nothing happens, followed by a brief period of action and a startling conclusion. The first action sequence is more dangerous and exciting than the second, which ends rather abruptly. I didn't like the way the Irregulars got out of trouble at the end. It's a story about magic and what happened didn't exactly fit. I would have liked one continuous plot with all the characters starting at the same place and time working together to save the day rather than the back and forth start and stop action. The slow parts of the book deal with Allarde's relationship with his father and their estate. All of that should have come at the end. The conclusion to that plot is a bit corny and very predictable. I also wanted more of a conclusion with Tori's family and an epilogue to find out what happens in the 19th century. The war with Napoleon lasted a long time and I wonder if Tori, Allarde, Cynthia and Elspeth will stay at Lackland until then or leave once they come of age. The romances are still very intense and there's one more new romance to add to it. I like Jack and Cynthia the best and wish their story was more developed. I also liked Nick and Rachel and how she was able to teach him about Judaism. Tori and Allarde are the ultimate hopeless romantic's dream couple. I think teenage girls will like them the best. This series is best appreciated by teen girls who may not want the complexity of Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic series or want more romance and lighter fantasy. I don't think adults will enjoy the series as much. I liked it but would have preferred more adventure and less intense romance. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi I just stumbled across your blog and I see that we have very similar tastes. I would love to have you check out my blog and see what you think about what I am reading. I hope to see you soon and happy reading!



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