Review: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, Book 2) by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night by Deborah HarknessReviewed by Sharon S.

I had heard wonderful things about A Discovery of Witches so when I got an opportunity to review the sequel Shadow of Night I thought, perfect! Unfortunately this is a series that needs to be read in order. Harkness did a great job of catching the reader up on her world building, except for what Daemon are. I still don’t know anything about them and considering one of the main characters in this book, Kit Marlow, is one I would think Harkness would have mentioned more about them. What you don’t get by skipping the first book is the emotional connection to the main couple Diana and Matthew. I can tell it was a passionate and emotionally volatile romance, but without it I wasn’t able to fully appreciate Shadow of Night. I love first person POV, but I found Diana a bit sterile and boring in her account of events. The subject matter is fabulous and I recognize and respect what Harness has accomplished with this book and the series as a whole, but I just didn’t like Diana.

Now, Matthew is whole other story. I love a complex and emotionally damaged paranormal Alpha male. Matthew is a 1500 year old vampire and in this book he must face the past he has never really been able to let go of. He is the perfect blend of powerful, sexy and scary. It is because we only see him through Diana’s eyes that make him so mysterious and absolutely delicious! I plan on reading the first book just to experience more Matthew. Another character I connected too was Matthew’s father Philippe, and watching these two interact was heartbreaking and touching.

I don’t know about A Discovery of Witches, but Shadow of Night is more like a historical, which isn’t my favorite genre. I got tired of Diana’s constant commentary on her surroundings and the ways of Elizabethan period. I do appreciate the effort it took Harkness to weave factual history and her made up world into one story.

I honestly don’t think I can rate this book in a fair manner. If you have read the first one and loved it, then you are going to go nuts over this one. There are tons of surprises that I am sure you won’t see coming (isn’t that mean <G>, but I can’t spoil). If you haven’t read the first book yet, then do so before picking this one up. And lift some weights, because this book is almost 600 pages long! I am going to give the book 3.5 stars when read as a stand-alone.

Rating: ★★★½☆ (as a stand alone novel)

Buy: Shadow of Night: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy)

Audio Review: A Knight in Shining Armor (Montgomery, Book 16) by Jude Deveraux

A Knight in Shining ArmorHeroine: Dougless Montgomery is unhappy but fighting it. She’s determined to make her relationship with a man, who on paper is a great catch. In reality, he’s a douchebag who takes his bitterness about her trust-fund wealth out on her, while pretending he isn’t. He plays just enough of the lover to string her along, but he takes pleasure hurting her feelings and expectations. So is isn’t so surprising to learn, that a romantic trip for two, becomes a miserable nightmare when he insists his daughter tags along, which turns Dougless into the third wheel. Eventually, she snaps on the trip after an encounter with the nasty daughter, and runs weeping into a historic church. Her tears bring to life a man dead 400 years.

Hero: Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck, a sixteenth-century knight, is not pleased to be pulled by magic to stand before a strange weeping woman. She is obviously a witch and he must return home because her trickery is too bizarre to contemplate. He especially wants to get back in time to his rightful place to clear his name of the slander of treason and find out who betrayed him to the Queen. He’s convinced staying near the witch woman will eventually send him back, if he helps cure what ails her. But being close to her and learning about her world change his heart forever.

Review: I really can’t stand it when a heroine stays with a fellow who is so obviously bad for her because she fears societal pressures or being alone. I am really unsympathetic toward her situation because she perpetuated it herself. It felt like a huge portion of the book was spent showcasing just how bad her current boyfriend was before the hero was introduced. Thank goodness Audible’s app has the ability to double and triple time the reading speed.

Once the hero is introduced the story and romance crackle like wild fire and take off just as fast. I loved their interactions, I loved the hero’s attempts to learn and understand modern society, I loved how they plan a future and the magic of time strips it from them. I especially loved when the heroine goes back in time to a point prior to him jumping forward and the hero had to fall for her a second time. Angsty and delicious. So much good stuff happened in the past. I really loved how both parties jumped and learned about the other’s time period and life.

BUT!!!!

Why is it that the hero and heroine do not actually wind up together? I do not care for this look-alike nonsense at all. Very frustrating. Extremely frustrating. Everything was great until “Bam!” Time separates them permanently and that’s it. No more time pretzels to bring the hero forward or the heroine backward. Not cool. It’s not the same, because the hero’s physical twin or reincarnation or whatever does not have the hero’s memories.

Narrator: Steve West, had a great voice. Had to turn the reading speed up though because he reads very slow and precisely. It’s very British in its reading in a good way, especially sped up a bit. I loved his accent.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: A Knight in Shining Armor

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Review: Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer

Beauvallet is one of my top favorite Georgette Heyer romances. It’s one I would recommend for a guy to read because of how daredevil the hero is and how much action and high jinks take place.

Sir Nicholas Beauvallet is a dashing pirate with a rakish charm. He’s the bane of the Spanish empire and good friends with other famous privateers such as Sir Francis Drake. He’s gallant, courageous to the point of foolhardiness, and full of confidence. His ego is adorable because it’s so over-inflated and lighthearted.

Dona Dominica de Rada y Sylva is a gutsy heroine. When captured she steals Beauvallet’s dagger and waves it at his nose. When forced aboard Beauvallet’s ship she snubs him, flirts outrageously with another officer, and ignores him. Obviously she’s just hiding her true feelings—the instantaneous crush, the deepening attraction, the utter fascination. The more she pushes him the more under his spell she falls.

When he promises to win her hand in marriage, she scoffs. Not likely! When he says he’ll pursue her right to her doorstep in the heart of Spain, she laughs. Impossible! When he says, “Risk not!” she begins to hope. But can it be done?

Some of the funniest scenes are Beauvallet flaunting his presence under the Spanish aristocracy and nobody being the wiser. I’m so happy that Heyer kept it in mostly Beauvallet’s point of view because we got to his side of the story and laugh at the supposedly mystical and magical escapes he managed to execute under Spanish noses.

It’s also an unusual historical I feel because of the monarchs and events happening.

Relative Time Period – Tudor:

  • Spanish Inquisition – 1478 to 1834
  • Henri III – 1551 to 1589
  • Elizabeth I 1533 to 1603
  • Phillip II –  1527 to 1598
  • Sir Francis Drake1577 to 1580 – around world trip

The references to the Spanish Inquisition are just cloying and realistic enough to make you shudder with all the “infinite kindness of the church” and whatnot. I’m not an expert of anything, but the way the dialogue happened almost made one think that King Phillip had no idea what truly happened during the churches inquisition sessions. Does anybody know if he did or not?

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Buy: Beauvallet

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