RogerBW's Blog

The Pyramid Waltz, Barbara Ann Wright 19 July 2020

2012 fantasy, first of a tetralogy. As far as the court is concerned, Princess Katya spends her time at (both sorts of) venery; in fact she leads a secret band that hunts magic-using enemies of the king. Starbride is a foreigner sent to court to snare a rich lover, but she'd much rather spend her time studying law…

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A Merciful Truth, Kendra Elliot 15 June 2020

2017 romantic mystery, second in the Mercy Kilpatrick series. Someone's been starting fires in the small Oregon town where Mercy grew up and is now trying to rebuild bridges with her family; when the police who turn up in response to the fires start getting shot, the FBI gets involved and puts her on the case.

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These Old Shades, Georgette Heyer 13 June 2020

1926 romance. The evil Duke of Avon, walking through Paris, finds an urchin fleeing from a beating and buys him as a page. But, being who he is, he has plans within plans.

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Rose Cottage, Mary Stewart 15 May 2020

1997 romantic mystery. Kate Herrick was married, then very soon widowed, during the War; a few years later, she travels to her childhood home, to sort out the furniture that'll be sent to her grandmother in Scotland. And to get some papers left in a safe. But they're missing…

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Once Ghosted, Twice Shy, Alyssa Cole 28 April 2020

2019 romance novella in the Reluctant Royals series. Likotse, assistant to Prince Thabiso, met someone amazing while she was briefly in New York last year - but then Fabiola cut things off without explanation, and Likotse's been trying to forget her ever since. Now, by chance, they meet again…

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The Black Moth, Georgette Heyer 22 April 2020

1921 romance, first of Heyer's novels. Six years ago Jack Carstares left England in disgrace, having admitted to cheating at cards. Now in 1751 he's back, and living as a highwayman, leaving the family home to his brother even though his father has died and he's now the rightful Earl; but meanwhile Tracy Belmanoir, the sinister Duke of Andover, has his eyes on beautiful Diana Beauleigh…

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A Duke by Default, Alyssa Cole 14 April 2020 - 4 comments

2018 romance, second in the Reluctant Royals series. Portia Hobbs, former self-indulgent hot mess, has gone to Scotland to apprentice in sword-making.

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Clockwork Secrets: Heavy Fire, Dru Pagliassotti 12 April 2020

2014 steampunk fantasy romance, third in the Clockwork Heart trilogy. Taya and Cristof are on a diplomatic mission to Alzana, trying to prevent a war, when the Alzanan coup is launched, and of course as dubious foreigners they get blamed for the assassination of the royal family…

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Golden in Death, J. D. Robb 08 April 2020

2019 SF/mystery; sixty-first (roughly, or 50th novel, hence presumably the title) of J. D. Robb's In Death series (SF police procedurals). Someone beloved by everyone who knew him is killed by a cunning gas bomb.

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A Bit Too Much Good Work, A. T. Rain 31 March 2020 - 1 comment

2016 science fiction novel, fanfic in the Vorkosigan universe (set around and among the events of Captain Vorpatril's Alliance). The narrative follows Byerly Vorrutyer, agent of Imperial Security, as he negotiates politics, bomb threats, and his personal life.

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Vendetta in Death, J. D. Robb 23 March 2020

2019 SF/mystery; sixtieth (roughly, or 49th novel) of J. D. Robb's In Death series (SF police procedurals). Someone's torturing and killing abusive men.

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Stormy Petrel, Mary Stewart 21 March 2020 - 1 comment

1991 romantic suspense. Rose Fenemore is an English tutor at Cambridge, as well as a poet and author. She takes a cottage on the western Scottish island of Moila to have a writing retreat free of distraction. But why do two young men end up in her living-room one stormy night?

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Clockwork Lies: Iron Wind, Dru Pagliassotti 13 March 2020

2014 steampunk fantasy romance, second in the Clockwork Heart trilogy. Taya, an "icarus" flying courier, is now the wife of the Ondinan ambassador to Mareaux. But between the assassination attempts and the more conventional betrayals, her life is rarely boring. vt Iron Wind.

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A Princess in Theory, Alyssa Cole 08 February 2020

2018 romance. Naledi Smith is studying epidemiology in New York while waitressing to pay the bills, and really doesn't have time for those emails claiming to be from an African prince to whom she was betrothed as a child. But Prince Thabiso is real…

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Vision in White, Nora Roberts 04 February 2020

2009 romance. Mackenzie Elliott and three of her childhood friends run a wedding business, everything from engagement photos to the Big Day. But, inspired by the example of her mother, Mac thinks true love can't be for her…

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Sweep of the Blade, Ilona Andrews 08 January 2020

2019 SF novella in the Innkeeper series. Dina's sister Maud turned down a marriage proposal from the vampire Lord Arland, but she's travelling to his homeworld anyway…

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This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone 28 September 2019

2019 science fiction romance novella. Red and Blue are soldiers on opposite sides in a war that ranges across worlds and up and down the timelines. But then Red finds a letter in the ashes of a battlefield, that reads: Burn Before Reading.

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A Merciful Death, Kendra Elliot 07 August 2019

2017 romantic mystery, first in the Mercy Kilpatrick series. Mercy is an FBI agent, but she grew up as a prepper, stocked up on goods and skills for the end of civilisation. Now she's sent back to the small town in Oregon that she left fifteen years ago, where preppers also seem to be the target of the latest murderer.

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A Bachelor Establishment, Isabella Barclay 13 July 2019

2015 Regency romance. Elinor Bascombe, a widow who's been bringing her late wastrel husband's estate back to something like prosperity, meets the wicked Lord Ryde, exiled from the country for decades, and here to raise money from his own neighbouring estate before leaving for good.

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Thornyhold, Mary Stewart 24 May 2019

1988 romantic suspense. After a lonely childhood, Geillis Ramsay finds herself orphaned and the heir to her mother's cousin's house in rural Wiltshire. And perhaps to her magic too.

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Kuzu no Honkai 27 April 2019

2016-2017 romance, seinen manga adaptation in 12 episodes: AniDB, vt "Scum's Wish". High-schoolers Hanabi and Mugi both have hopeless crushes on other people; they become a couple to tide them over until they get what they really want.

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Destination Wedding 19 April 2019

2018 romantic comedy, dir. Victor Levin, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder: IMDb / allmovie. Frank and Lindsay have each been invited to San Luis Obispo for the flashy wedding of someone they don't much like. She's the groom's ex; he's his half-brother; they're both bitter people. Naturally, they meet.

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Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates 17 April 2019

2016 comedy with romantic elements, dir. Jake Szymanski, Zac Efron, Adam DeVine, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza: IMDb / allmovie. Manchild brothers Mike and Dave are told that they can't come to their sister's wedding unless they bring dates (to calm them down and stop them hitting on other women). Not knowing any women, they advertise. Alice and Tatiana, who are just as messed up but in different ways, decide that a free trip to Hawaii is worth a few days of good behaviour…

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Connections in Death, J. D. Robb 27 February 2019

2019 SF/mystery; fifty-ninth (roughly, or 48th novel) of J. D. Robb's In Death series. Lyle had cleaned up and got out of the gang life, and things were starting to look up for him. So when he's found dead of an overdose, Lieutenant Eve Dallas is already suspicious.

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The Dare and the Doctor, Kate Noble 08 January 2019

2016 American Regency romance, third and last of a linked series. Dr Gray conducts an academic correspondence with Miss Babcock, whom he met in passing during the events of the previous book. But when she comes to London to show off her hybrid rose, will they recognise their feelings for each other, or will societal pressures get in the way?

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Miss Goodhue Lives For a Night, Kate Noble 27 December 2018

2016 American Regency romance novella, side story in a linked series. In her youth, Cecilia Goodhue ran off with a wild young man in the direction of Gretna Green; but they were caught, and she learned he was a fortune-hunter; to escape some of the scandal, she lived by the grace of her married sister and became a teacher in a village school. Now, ten years later, her own younger sister has run off with a soldier, and in an attempt to find her she'll meet that man again.

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The Lie and the Lady, Kate Noble 17 December 2018

2015 American Regency romance, second of a linked series. During the deception of the first book, John Turner took on the persona of the Earl of Ashby, and was pursued by Leticia Herzog, fortune-hunting widow of an Austrian Count. When the game was discovered, she fled in public shame. But they each felt a spark for the other, and now they're going to meet again.

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The Game and the Governess, Kate Noble 30 November 2018

2014 American Regency romance, first of a linked series. "Lucky Ned", the Earl of Ashby, refuses to believe his friend and secretary John Turner when Turner tells him that people love his position and wealth more than his person. So Ned proposes that they swap roles while on a business trip, and bets Turner that he can make a woman fall for him even without the trappings of his status. Meanwhile, the governess Phoebe Baker has a particular reason to hate the Earl, whom she has never met…

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Leverage in Death, J. D. Robb 08 October 2018

2018 SF/mystery; fifty-eighth (roughly, or 47th novel) of J. D. Robb's In Death series. Someone wears an explosive vest into a meeting to finalise a corporate merger; Lieutenant Eve Dallas has to find out why he did it, and whether someone else is pulling the strings.

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Dark in Death, J. D. Robb 12 April 2018

2018 SF/mystery; fifty-seventh (roughly, or 46th novel) of J. D. Robb's In Death series. A woman is stabbed while watching Psycho in a cinema; there's no obvious motive for killing her. Homicide Lieutenant Eve Dallas soon discovers roughly what's going on, but it'll still be a long twisty road to catching the killer.

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Secrets in Death, J. D. Robb 10 March 2018 - 1 comment

2017 SF/mystery; fifty-sixth (roughly, or 45th novel) of J. D. Robb's In Death series. Homicide Lieutenant Eve Dallas is out with a colleague when another patron of the bar is cut and bleeds to death in front of her. She may not have much time for gossip journalists, but solving murders is still her job.

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Detect Me, Selma Wolfe 16 February 2018

2013 romance novella. Nikki is an unsuccessful artist in the process of giving up on her dreams by taking a marketing job; Mark is the private detective whose office she walks into by accident. But it seems he needs some help catching an art thief…

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Echoes in Death, J. D. Robb 14 November 2017

2017 SF/mystery; fifty-fifth (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death series. (Or 44th novel, I think. At some point I may renumber these reviews.) On the road on a snowy night, Homicide Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke find a naked, blood-stained and delirious woman who claims to have been attacked by the Devil.

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Apprentice in Death, J. D. Robb 30 September 2017 - 2 comments

2016 SF/mystery; fifty-fourth (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death series. A sniper is shooting people in New York – at random, or with specific targets in mind? Lieutenant Eve Dallas investigates.

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Justice Calling, Annie Bellet 02 February 2017

2014 modern fantasy/romance. Jade Crow runs a comics-and-games shop in Wylde, Idaho, where lots of magical creatures congregate. She's hiding from someone. But she isn't going to be able to stay hidden.

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Akagami no Shirayukihime season 2 27 December 2016

2016 fantasy romance, shoujo manga continuation in 12 episodes as well as an OVA that bridges the two series: AniDB, vt "Snow White with the Red Hair". Shirayuki the herbalist continues to develop her low-key romance with Prince Zen.

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Brotherhood in Death, J. D. Robb 02 August 2016

2016 SF/mystery; fifty-third (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death series. Dennis Mira went to confront his cousin Edward over plans to sell the family house, but found him tied up in a chair; then someone knocked Dennis on the head. Now Edward's missing. Fortunately Dennis is married to Charlotte Mira, police profiler and friend of Lieutenant Eve Dallas.

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The Mad Scientist's Daughter, Cassandra Rose Clarke 29 July 2016 - 3 comments

2013 science fiction/romance. Finn is a robot who looks and acts human; he arrives in young Cat Novak's life as her tutor, and stays as the years pass.

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Wonderment in Death, J. D. Robb 07 June 2016

2015 SF/mystery novella; fifty-second (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death series, published as part of Down the Rabbit Hole, a multi-author anthology of stories loosely inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Apparently Darlene Fitzwilliams fatally stabbed her brother, then jumped off his fifty-second floor balcony. But there's no sign that she was the sort of person who'd do that.

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Devoted in Death, J. D. Robb 29 April 2016

2015 SF/mystery; fifty-first (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death series. Two serial killers have crossed the USA and landed in New York; Lieutenant Eve Dallas tracks them down.

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Ore Monogatari 03 March 2016

2015 romantic comedy, shoujo manga adaptation in 24 episodes: AniDB, vt "My Love Story". Gōda Takeo is a huge guy, clueless but with a good heart; when he saves Yamato Rinko from a groper on the train, they fall in love.

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Akagami no Shirayukihime season 1 19 February 2016

2015 fantasy romance, shoujo manga adaptation in 12 episodes: AniDB, vt "Snow White with the Red Hair". Shirayuki the herbalist flees the unwelcome attentions of the prince of her country, only to meet Zen, the junior prince of the next realm over.

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Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku - My Teenage RomCom SNAFU TOO 20 November 2015

2015 contemporary romance, light novel adaptation, 12 episodes: AniDB. Sequel to 2013's Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru - My Teenage RomCom SNAFU. Cynical loner high school kid and the rest of the Volunteer Club continue to try to help other people and work out their own problems.

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Festive in Death, J. D. Robb 13 November 2015

2014 SF/mystery; forty-ninth (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death series. Just before Christmas, a personal trainer is found in his home, with a nasty head wound and a knife in his chest. He seems to have been a thoroughly nasty person, but for Eve Dallas the homicide cop's job is still the job.

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Clockwork Heart, Dru Pagliassotti 25 July 2015

2008 steampunk fantasy romance. Taya is an icarus, one of the couriers who strap on wings and buoyant metal to carry messages and small packages across the mountainside city of Ondinium. But a mid-air rescue brings her to the attention of the city's leaders.

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Laggies 10 April 2015

2014, dir. Lynn Shelton, Keira Knightley, Chloë Grace Moretz; IMDb / allmovie

Megan is approaching thirty, but her career and personality more or less went on hold when she left high school ten years ago. One night, as she's fleeing from an unwanted marriage proposal and other complications, some high-school kids ask her to buy them beer, and she gets on with Annika better than with her own peers. Things move on from there. vt Say When in the UK and Ireland.

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Obsession in Death, J. D. Robb 26 March 2015

2015 SF/mystery; fiftieth (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death series. At the end of 2060, Homicide Lieutenant Eve Dallas comes up against a new threat: a murderer who's such a fan that he's killing people who've offended Dallas. And there are a lot of them.

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Wanderlust, Ann Aguirre 11 February 2015

2008 SF/romance, second in the Grimspace series. In the previous book, Sirantha Jax was instrumental in bringing down the evil corporation that ran everything. But nature abhors a power vacuum.

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Grimspace, Ann Aguirre 12 January 2015

2008 SF/romance. Sirantha Jax is a jumper, one of the rare humans who can navigate FTL ships through grimspace. But her ship crashed, her pilot/lover died (along with everyone else on board), and she may be going mad.

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Heaven's Queen, Rachel Bach 08 January 2015 - 2 comments

2014 SF; sequel to Honour's Knight. With most of the powers in the known universe arrayed against her, Devi is still infected with the virus that could solve everything (or bring it all crashing down).

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Honour's Knight, Rachel Bach 27 December 2014 - 1 comment

2014 SF; sequel to Fortune's Pawn. Devi is now security chief on the tramp space-freighter she signed on with, but clearly something very strange is going on.

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Sliding Doors 05 December 2014 - 1 comment

1998, dir. Peter Howitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, John Hannah: IMDb / allmovie

A woman just fired from her job does, or does not, catch a particular Underground train, and does, or does not, catch her boyfriend in bed with another woman; her life diverges from that point, and we see both halves.

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Seeking a Friend for the End of the World 14 October 2014

2012, dir. Lorene Scafaria, Steve Carell, Keira Knightley: IMDb / allmovie

The world will be hit by an asteroid in three weeks, and there's nothing more that can be done about it. Dodge and his neighbour Penny set out to get him to his high school sweetheart, and her to her family in England.

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Firebrand, Ankaret Wells 06 September 2014

Self-published industrial fantasy romance. The relict of a bishop inherits her mother's great airship, and tries to avoid becoming the mistress of the Emperor.

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Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou 18 August 2014

2014, 12 episodes: AniDB; also known as The Kawai Complex Guide to Manners and Hostel Behavior.

Romantic comedy; high school boy lives in boarding-house with a variety of Characters, one of whom is a cute female bookworm.

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The Lunchbox 15 July 2014 - 2 comments

2013, "Dabba", dir. Ritesh Batra, Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur: IMDb / allmovie

An old-fashioned epistolary romance, conducted via notes passed in a lunchbox. Plot discussion, which may be considered to include spoilers, follows.

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The Young Lady from Paris, Joan Aiken 05 July 2014

In the late 1850s, Ellen Paget is employed as a governess in Paris.

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Tamara Drewe 15 May 2014

2010, dir. Stephen Frears, Gemma Arterton, Luke Evans: IMDb / allmovie

Tamara Drewe, formerly the ugly duckling and now a glamorous journalist, returns to the village where she grew up… and everything is upended.

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Safety Not Guaranteed 10 April 2014 - 1 comment

2012, dir. Colin Trevorrow, Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass: IMDb / allmovie

A journalist and two interns, trying for a human-interest story, interview a man who's placed an advertisement for a companion in time travel.

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Concealed in Death, J. D. Robb 08 April 2014 - 2 comments

Concealed in Death is the forty-eighth story of J. D. Robb's In Death series, and a huge improvement on its immediate predecessor Thankless in Death. It drops many of the science-fictional trappings of the setting to deliver a powerful and well-told story.

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Fortune's Pawn, Rachel Bach 16 February 2014

First of a projected trilogy. I learned about it from a half-chapter free sample in the back of Ancillary Justice.

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Mirror Mirror, J. D. Robb and others 02 February 2014

I picked up this collection of novellas for the Robb story, as I was clearly intended to. All the stories here are loosely based on, or more properly inspired by, fairy stories (something of a coincidence given the Elemental Masters series I've also been reading).

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Thankless in Death, J. D. Robb 17 January 2014 - 2 comments

Thankless in Death is the forty-sixth of J. D. Robb's In Death series. It's also, for me, the first disappointment.

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