Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Minis: Somebody Wonderful by Kate Rothwell and Under Her Skin Anthology

Somebody Wonderful by Kate Rothwell

Well... this was such a fun book! It was a different historical romance read, not only because the setting and time period felt fresh to me, but because the characters also felt rather unique in their own way.

While visiting New York City, Timona Calverson is kidnapped and taken to a brothel. After a daring and rather improbable escape, she is rescued by Irish cop and recent immigrant Mick McCann. Mick takes Timona to his small tenement apartment and although he thinks she's a prostitute and doesn't believe her story, kindly nurses her back to health. Timona, however, is from a prominent and eccentric family and known the world over for her wild escapades and extensive travels.

I love that Somebody Wonderful is set for the most part in the late 19th Century New York City slums, and that it's both a romance and an adventure. What type of adventure? Well, I absolute agree with the book summary which states that, "Timona's adventures formed the blueprint for the Perils of Pauline." The central characters certainly made this an entertaining read, and the secondary played their roles quite well. As far as the romance goes, I really enjoyed Timona's "slyness" and determination, especially when it came down to making Mick her man, as well as Mick's initial prudish attitudes toward women and almost too perfect personality. However, the fact that Mick and Timona communicated, minimizing misunderstandings between them, was a big plus. Somebody Wonderful is a romance that left me with smile. Grade B+

Under Her Skin with Jeaniene Frost, Meljean Brook and Ilona Andrews

This was a good paranormal romance anthology with three good stories by favorite authors. All three of these stories were previously published in the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance, which I've not read. However, I'd already read Meljean Brook's story "In Sheep's Clothing," so in reality I only read two out of the three stories in this anthology.

Jeanine Frost's "Pack" is a short story about a hiker who gets lost in the woods and is attacked by wolves, bitten, and turned into a werewolf against her will. Although the premise for this story is not quite unique, I found Frost's werewolf "pack" quite interesting. Most of all I liked the fact that the woman in this story didn't accept her situation readily. The length of the story didn't affect its impact and the story feels complete. Grade B

"Grace of Small Magics" by Ilona Andrews is another short story with a familiar premise. This one is about a woman who must repay a family blood debt to another magical clan by providing a service. I like the world building in this short story and would love to read more in this setting. Andrews uses tension, fear and action to showcase the characters. I particularly enjoy when Grace realizes she has more to offer than her paltry small magics. The weaknesses in this story are the romance, which is underdeveloped, and the lack of details within the story, probably due to its length. In this case, a longer version would have been a plus. Grade B-

19 comments:

  1. I loved the Rothwell book. I remember enjoying the setting so much. NYC must have been a vibrant, turbulent place to be in the latter half of the 19th c. It truly is a wonder we don't have more historicals set there.

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  2. I'd pick up Somebody Wonderful just for the setting & time period. Not something you see too often. Good to hear it was a fun read!

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  3. Somebody Wonderful sure sounds interesting.. I love stories set in NYC during all time periods. Past, present and future! lol

    I'm curious.. what would you rate Meljean's "In Sheep's Clothing" even though you read it previously?

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  4. oops. forgot to click email follow-up comments...

    Am I the only one feeling like today is Friday?

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  5. Somebody wonderful sounds awesome. I love that time period. And who doesn't love a man in uniform?

    It sounds like a very unique read. I'll try to get my paws on it!

    awesome reviews.

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  6. I read the Rothwell a few years ago and enjoyed it as well :) I've been trying to get my hand on the second book... sigh.

    Interesting about the anthology... ebook, right?

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  7. Oh I loved that Rothwell book!! I've been keeping an eye out for the 2nd one but have never found it. :(

    But I loved Timona's attitude and she didn't care about reputations and society's rules and whatnot. It was refreshing that it was Mick who cared for all that.

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  8. Ohh, I like the time period of Something Wonderful. (For some reason I keep thinking of The Gangs of New York). And I must keep an eye out for Under Her Skin!

    Thank you Hils :)

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  9. Phyl, I agree. I wish there were more books set during that time and place (the later 19th c. NYC). I really loved that aspect of this book and the fact that the bulk of the story took place in one of the neighborhoods. I'm so glad you enjoyed it too!

    Leslie, yes on the setting, and definitely yes... on the fun! I think you would really enjoy this read -- Perils of Pauline and all, lol!

    Christine, I enjoy books set in NYC too... this is a good one.

    RE: "In Sheep's Clothing by Meljean Brook." That short story gets a C as it was more or less an average read for me and not a favorite. It's the reason I did not re-read it this time. I read it last year(?) and I thought I'd already reviewed it... but hmm... I checked and nope... I didn't. LOL! I didn't even list it as read! One of those that falls through the cracks. :(

    PS: Yesterday it felt like a Friday... all day long. It was a loooong Wednesday!

    Alex, I hope you can get your hands on Somebody Wonderful. It IS a good read, and I really like the way Rothwell portrayed this NY cop in the late 1800's -- period appropriate. :D

    Nath, the Rothwell is a great read. The second Rothwell book is sitting on my coffee table and well... let's see what happens during RWA for you. *g*

    The anthology is an ebook that is on sale for $2.99 in amazon! It is most definitely worth buying and reading for that price. :D

    Ames, so glad you loved Somebody Wonderful too! I have that 2nd book and will be reading it in the next couple of weeks. I got lucky and found it!

    LOL, I loved that aspect of this book as well... the part where Timona dismisses everything and Mick is just such a prude! We loved the same things. BTW, I loved Mick! *g*

    Orannia, Something Wonderful was not quite as stark as Gangs of NY, but it does show the squalid lives of new immigrants, and some other practices that are now part of history.

    Under Her Skin is on sale for $2.99 as an ebook and should be easy to find if you're interested. :D

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  10. Oh I have the Mammoth book of paranormal romance - yay! lol I've only ever read Meljean's story in it though. I'll have to drag it back out and read these others - thanks!

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  11. Oh Tracy, you have that book! I wish I'd bought it at the time, but at this point I've read quite a few of those stories here and there and have decided to give it a rest... lol! I hope you enjoy these.

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  12. Hi, thanks for the nice review!

    I found this when I was trying to track something down, and googled myself.

    The reason I was googling myself -- I just discovered that these books are now available as ebooks and I'm trying to find which formats they're in other than Kindle and Nook.

    Since I'd told at least ten people that there were no plans to have them come out as ebooks, I figured I should spread the news that I was wrong!

    So far I've found them on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

    Anyway, thanks again! This makes my day--a few months later.

    Last bit of self promo, I have another book that was part of the trilogy but I self published. That's Someone to Cherish. It's an ebook.

    Kate (who also writes as Summer Devon.)

    P.S. Edith Layton wrote a couple of NYC set historical romances that are great.They're long out of print but who knows? Maybe they'll show up as ebooks too.

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  13. Okay, I lied about the end of promo. I forgot to mention there's a NYC detective in that third book, Someone to Cherish.

    That story is a reprint of an ebook called The Rat Catcher, which was free.

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  14. Miss Rothwell, I'm so glad you enjoyed the review. I enjoyed the book, and so did a few others as you can see by the comments above. :)

    Thank you so much for the heads up, both on the fact that these wonderful books are now available in ebook format, and that there's also a third book available. That's wonderful news for the readers interested in getting their hands on these books. I will let them know.

    Oh and I will certainly look up your Edith Layton recommendations.

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  15. OMG That's great news!! Thanks for letting us know, Kate!

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  16. LOL ames! I'm SO glad you saw this news... I was going to send you an email. *g*

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  17. Well I was really jealous that you gave Nath a copy of Somebody to Love until she promised to send it to me when she was done reading it. LOL But now I don't need to wait!

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  18. I'm glad Kate came back to comment. She reminds me that I have Someone to Cherish on my Kindle and I really must get around to reading that!

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