I’m not dead! I am tired, so this will be a quick placeholder.
The comics conference was a great success. I enjoyed being support system–helping hang art, making airport runs, having a couple of houseguests. Then I actually had to do my own work (and, on the weekend, be art class/soccer mom, chief dogwalker, etc.) so I did not make it to any of the panels or workshops.
This past Monday, I chaired my last academic governance council meeting. Then, as often happens after a busy spell, I got some vague mild illness. All I want to do is sleep. I’ve been reading very little (too tired), and listening to old favorite audiobooks because I can doze off, wake up, and know where I am. Lots of Jayne Ann Krentz and Georgette Heyer.
Dabney tweeted about having a Courtney Milan re-read glom (she posted about her Sherry Thomas glom here), and suddenly I felt the desire to read some historical romance:
I really enjoyed Rose Lerner’s Lily Among Thorns, though I found it a bit overstuffed with plot. It’s familiar in the sense that it’s a Regency with a spy plot. But the spying is much less romanticized than is typical; I found its exploration of the betrayals and moral compromises involved thoughtful and moving, and its nose-tweaking of a famous literary spy amusing. While both the hero and heroine have aristocratic connections, she’s running an inn and he’s a chemist who makes dyes for his tailor uncle. She’s tough and prickly (afraid to let down her defenses for very good reasons) and he’s sweet and honorable. As in her previous book, I liked how they had to work together as a team. The book isn’t available right now because it was caught in the demise of Dorchester, but Lerner announced earlier this month that she has a publisher for her next book and the rights back for this one and the fabulous In for a Penny, so they will be available again soon. I’m happy to hear this news. I think she could have a great career (and deserves to) and was sad that it was derailed by her publisher’s troubles. I really look forward to seeing what she does next. Update, 24/6/13: Lerner tweeted today that Samhain will be re-releasing her older books as well as publishing her next. They’ll appear in June and September 2014, so there’s a wait, but I don’t feel as neener-neener about reviewing this!
I also enjoyed Alyssa Everett’s Lord of Secrets. This book, too, had a lot of familiar elements: a marriage of convenience (or is it?) between an innocent young orphan and a lord with . . . well, secrets. David’s secret is pretty obvious early on, and I think it’s meant to be. The tension comes in how/when he will bring himself to reveal it and how they will make their marriage work. I thought the book had pacing issues–it dragged out the secret too long, and then wrapped everything up too fast. But I loved Everett’s voice. Reading this made me think about just how important voice/style is to a reader’s enjoyment. This book had tropes that would normally send me running: he’s got a dark secret, he feels he’s too tainted and dirty to be worthy of his innocent wife, he’s broken, she just wants to fix him with her motherly caretaking love, blah blah blah. But it’s all told in the emotionally restrained style of a traditional Regency romance, and the hero is not too mopey most of the time, and not alpha at all, and the heroine’s not too much of a self-sacrificing doormat but gets mad about his behavior and says so. And so I enjoyed it. I’m definitely going to try another of Everett’s, with a plot that’s more up my alley.
While I’ve been off doing other things, my two-year blogiversary passed unmarked. Thanks for being part of a great two years. I promise I’m not quitting yet! I actually have ideas for some less half-assed posts. I just have to take a few naps first.