Stuff and Nonsense: paranormal romance

Showing posts with label paranormal romance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label paranormal romance. Show all posts


Iron & Velvet by Alexis Hall

In an alternate London where magical creatures secretly live amongst humans, a werewolf has been found murdered in the alley behind a vampire night club. Kate Kane, private investigator, is hired to identify the murder or murderers before war breaks out. The vampires blame the mages, the mages claim it wasn't them, and the werewolves are just well pissed. It seems to be a complicated case ... and Kate's sleeping with her (hot lesbian vampire) boss probably isn't helping matters ...

The beginning of the novel was stuffed with so many references to untold backstory that I wondered if I had skipped a book, but I checked twice and, no, Iron & Velvet is definitely the first book in the Kate Kane: Paranormal Investigator series. The repeated references to characters and events I knew nothing about became increasingly irritating and I began to wonder if the book would be a DNF.

However, Kate Kane, snarky violet-eyed half-fairy lesbian with a weakness for femme fatales, began to grow on me a little bit and the world-building, disjointed as it felt, kept being just interesting enough to keep me going. I wanted to know what was going on in the woods at Safernoc Hall and who had initially conjured the toothy tentacled beastie from beyond the stars. Was one of the Princes playing some deep game? Trying to start a war or unseat a rival? Was Werewolf Granny's bite worse than her bark? Would there be a half-fairy, vampire, werewolf ménage à trois? I needed to know.

Iron & Velvet by Alexis Hall (Riptide Publishing, 2013). Kindle edition.


The Ghost and Mrs Muir by R.A. Dick

It was one of those sunny, boisterous March days with great white clouds sailing across the blue skies like gull-rigged galleons, and a wind that blew tiles off roofs and hats off heads, and banged doors and slammed windows. The rude, rough day blew Lucy Muir, vainly attempting to grasp her hat, her handbag, her veil, and her skirts, in her black-gloved hands, out of the station at Whitecliff, across the yard, around the corner into the main street, and into Itchen, Boles, and Coombe, house agents, with such strength that she could only sit breathlessly in the red leather chair and lean on the wide desk that separated her from Mr. Coombe, junior partner, and stare helplessly at him, with no breath left for speaking.

Holy Moses! The commas!

Recently widowed, Lucy Muir is determined to get out from under the thumb of her (well-intentioned but horribly overbearing) in-laws. On impulse she quite cheaply rents a little grey cottage by the sea. Why is Gull Cottage so going so cheap? Well, it’s haunted by its previous owner, Captain Daniel Gregg, who is indignant that everyone believes his thoroughly accidental death was a suicide and that his “— little runt” nephew inherited the property rather than it becoming the rest home for old sea captains it was intended it to be. He’s also not keen terribly on having some woman and her children is his cottage, turning his good bedroom “into a scented boudoir full of frippery and falderals.” Alas for him, Mrs Muir no intention of moving out.

It’s been a decade or more since I saw the film adaptation so I can’t tell you how similar they are to each other – although I’m pretty sure Lucy only had a daughter and not a daughter and a priggish little monster of a son. I also don’t remember anything in the film about the daughter desperately wanting to be a professional dancer – so much so that she was willing to change her name to protect the family’s respectability.

Also, while the Internets tell me The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is Totes Romantic, I am not sure what measuring stick is being used. Yes, there are two feisty people who clearly like each other a great deal while still managing to argue all the time … but their arguments lack flirtatiousness and their mutual liking is more companionable than Romantic. Their influence over each other is certainly positive and, over the decades, they help each other become better people. Frankly, it may be an atypical romance, but it is a still charming one! And the end … so sweet, so sad, so loving! Who needs a typical romance?

R.A. Dick is the (unfortunate) pseudonym of Josephine Leslie, an Irish writer who (Goodreads tells me) also wrote The Devil and Mrs. Devine and Light and Shade. I can’t find any other information about her and have no way of vetting even that little bit. Light and Shade, if it really is her work, is impossible to locate but The Devil and Mrs Devine is available within my state library system and I look forward to reading it because it sounds positively gothick – a beautiful but downtrodden and totes naive heiress runs away from home and falls in with a thoroughly disreputable neighbor who astonishes everyone (including himself) by marrying her.

The Ghost and Mrs Muir by R.A. Dick (Ziff-Davis, 1945)


Heart of Stone by C.E. Murphy

Jogging at midnight through Central Park, public defender Margrit Knight encounters a pale, unseasonably dress man whom she dismisses as just another random New York lunatic ... until he turns up on the morning news as a murder suspect.

Her lunatic, Alban, is a gargoyle – a member of the Old Races who have hidden their existence from humans for centuries while living side by side with them. He has been quietly stalking Margrit for years, but now must reveal himself to her as he needs Margrit's help to prove his innocence.

While the Old Races Who Live Hidden Amongst Us shtick is not particularly original, Murphy’s take on it is well done and I like that she focused on lesser know supernaturals like selkies and gargoyles rather than done-to-death vampires and werewolves. I also like that Margrit starts as an ordinary woman and stays an ordinary woman. No superpowers, no fairy gifts – she gets by purely on grit, intelligence, and courage.

Unfortunately, Alban’s stalking of Margit creeped me out as it seemed more like a symptom of his obsession with his long-lost wife and less like an admirable gesture of love.  Of course, I never liked CBS’s Beauty and the Beast much and would not be pleased to discover Edward Cullen watched me while I slept! However, if you like the idea of a Mysterious Protector/Lover, then you will probably have no problem with Alban's behavior ....

Creepy stalking aside, I thought Heart of Stone was an entertaining afternoon read and I do look forward to reading the next book in the Negotiator series.

Heart of Stone (The Negotiator, Book One) by C.E. Murphy (Luna, 2007)