Stevie Carroll (stevie_carroll) wrote,
Stevie Carroll

Books Read (Part 1 of 2)

It's been far too long since I posted anything here. I blame a week of being ill, followed by a week of horse-sitting and after that a week of mostly being at a conference. In the middle of all that I did manage to read some books (and a short story), and I'm likely to finish reading more today, so here are the details, and a few brief thoughts.

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Seance for a Vampire
by Fred Saberhagen
Published by Titan Books Ltd
Paperback 192 pages
Categories: Crime
ISBN 13: 9781848566774 ISBN 10: 1848566778

When two suspect psychics offer Ambrose Altamont and his wife the opportunity to contact their recently deceased daughter, the wealthy British aristocrat wastes no time in hiring Sherlock Holmes to expose their hoax. He arranges for the celebrated detective and Dr Watson to attend the family's next seance, confident in Holmes' rationalist outlook on the situation. But what starts as cruel mockery becomes deadly reality when young, beautiful Louisa Altamont appears to her parents in the flesh as one of the nosferatu - a vampire! The resulting chaos leaves one of the fraudulent spiritualists dead, Sherlock Holmes missing and Dr Watson alone and mystified. With time running out, Watson has no choice but to summon the only one who might be able to help - Holmes' vampire cousin, Prince Dracula. Alternately narrated by Watson and the charismatic Dracula himself, Seance for a Vampire demonstrates that heroes are sometimes found in the most unlikely places. Saberhagen has recast Bram Stoker's paragon of evil into a noble, witty and chillingly powerful character.

I spotted this in the library, and at first wondered if it was a clever repackaging of Saberhagen's The Holmes-Dracula File, but it seems not. Instead we get a sequel of sorts to that book, as part of a series of books by different authors with their own slants on the Holmes mythos (incidentally it seems that The Holmes-Dracula File was republished around the same time that this one came out so maybe I'll finally get to read that one too).

Saberhagen's Dracula is as witty as ever, and his Watson felt about right too. Definitely worth the impulse-borrow.

Captain's Surrender
by Alex Beecroft
Published by Samhain Publishing Ltd
Paperback 226 pages
Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Adult & Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance
ISBN 13: 9781605047829 ISBN 10: 1605047821

Despite his looks and ambition, Midshipman Joshua Andrews hides urges that, in his world, make him an abomination. Living in fear of exposure, unnecessary risk is something he studiously avoids. Once he sets eyes on the elegant picture of perfection that is Peter Kenyon, though, temptation lures him like the siren call of the sea.

Soon to be promoted to captain, Peter is the darling of the Bermuda garrison, with a string of successes behind him and a suitable bride lined up to share his future. He seems completely out of Joshua’s reach.

Then the two men are forced to serve on a long voyage under a sadistic commander with a mutinous crew. As the tension aboard the vessel heats up, their unexpected friendship intensifies into a passion neither man can rein in.

I've been on a bit of a Samhain buying spree recently, and picked this one up before meeting Alex at the Ely Meet, although we had been chatting online before and during my reading of this one. Ignoring any bias, I liked this a lot. Just the right level of historical detail for me, and no inaccuracies that I could spot. All the characters felt very real, even the minor ones who were killed off all too soon (and Alex knows how much I'd love a prequel about one in particular).
Most definitely recommended.

by Lynne Connolly
Published by Samhain Publishing
Paperback 245 pages
Categories: Historical Romance
ISBN 13: 9781605044231 ISBN 10: 1605044237

Rose Golightly is a country girl who thinks her life will continue on its comfortable course, but a series of events changes that for good. On a visit to the ancestral estate of Hareton Abbey, Richard Kerre, Lord Strang, enters her life. A leader of society, a man known for extravagance in dress and life, Richard is her fate. And she is his.

Richard is to marry a rich, frigid woman in a few weeks, and has deliberately closed his heart to love. Then a coach accident throws his wounded body into Rose’s arms.

With one kiss, Richard and Rose discover in each other the passion they thought they’d never find.

But the accident that brought them together was an act of sabotage. Somewhere, in the rotting hulk of a once beautiful stately home, a murderer is hiding.

Richard and Rose set out to solve the mystery, and find the layers of scandal go deeper than simply determining who is guilty. And that doing the right thing could separate them—forever.

Continuing the theme of Samhain and Historical Romance... I liked this one almost as much as Captain's Surrender, although the background characters didn't stand out as much for me (with one exception, and he can have his own book too). Lots of detail about the location though, making the house almost a character in its own right, and I'm planning on reading more in the series. Of course I may have been less than well when I read it, which never helps with writing a review some time after the fact.

Behind the Mask
by Jacqueline Paige
Published by Amira Books
e-Book, 25,000 words
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN #: 978-1-935348-68-9

In a fit of temper, Gracelyn’s only sister curses her so she’s forgotten the moment anyone turns away from her. Only one thing, an exact moment, can break the curse, but after years of failed attempts, she is forced to accept living her life completely alone.

Her world is calm and predictable until one Halloween night…one costume party…and one masquerading man changes everything.

I was definitely unwell when I read this. At first I thought there might be something a little off with the style, but then I got into the swing of it. A sweet story that didn't make me rush out to find more by the author, but didn't put me off either.

In other news, if you like the idea of a serial novel, go to this post and find out about one that's coming soon.
Tags: ebooks, print books, reviews
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