Best historicals from 2009

Many historical romances caught my eye in 2009 and some have been brilliant reads. I think it’s a difficult genre to do well, with some struggling to find that all to important believability factor which I find essential in making a book memorable and entertaining!

Below are my favorites from 2009, click on the covers for more information.

Dash and Dingo by Catt Ford and Sean Kennedy

In 1934 Henry Percival-Smythe spends most of his time tucked away at Ealing College studying the almost extinct thylacine. A shy and rarely seen creature that has been hunted to the brink of extinction, the thylacine fires Henry’s imagination and he becomes obsessed with cataloging what is left of this strange and unusual animal. When he is given the chance to go into the wilds of Australia and actually see the tiger he is apprehensive and excited. But, in order to do this he has to travel with charismatic Jack “Dingo” Chambers. While on the journey Henry discovers there is more to himself than dusty, old academia and that he not only has a passion for conservation, but also his wayward and wild Australian guide.

DashandDingoLG

Henry was such a great character. He was rather uptight, sheltered and kinda geeky, and considering the time period I felt he was well drawn. His reticent nature was a great foil for Dingo’s brash temperament and this clash made for great tension. Each finding their way, learning about each other and how to deal with their feelings and as a result much late night reading for me. 🙂

The story itself was interesting and part of that was the era it is set in. I sometimes wish there were a few more books written about the 20’s and 30’s in the genre. There is huge potential for that whole forbidden love trope! That the majority of the book is also set in the Antipodes was a huge plus. I think I’ve made mutterings before, about how most published work I read is set in the northern hemisphere. This book felt very familiar and the use of language, setting and over all feel was very entertaining as a reader from this part of the world.

I did feel that Dingo’s family treated his sexuality with incredible acceptance considering the it was set in the 30’s and this required a leap of faith on the readers part. However, as it is fiction and it did not stick out unduly it was not a huge problem. The only other thing I felt could have been tighter were a few of the latter chapters, I got a little impatient with all the ferreting around in the bush. I am an impatient bint though, so that might have just been me and thinking that those boys needed a shower after all that sweaty… hiking.

After reading books from both Catt Ford and Sean Kennedy this year, I felt that both their strengths were very apparent within the book. It was erotic (ZOMG – dream sequence at Dingo’s parents house O-O. Naughty!) and was reasonably faithful to the era it was set in, the world building was vivid, with maybe just the odd bit of mysticism and angst to round it out.

A delightful read with much heart and something quite unique. Move over Indiana!

Check it out here at Dreamspinner Press and ARe.

A Strong Hand by Catt Ford.

Nicholas Sayers, needing money for college, takes a job as assistant to infamous photographer Damian Wolfe. It’s just taking pictures, right? Wrong. While Nick has never questioned what kind of man he is or what he truly wants in life, working for Damian during a BDSM photo shoot opens his eyes to all sorts of sexual possibilities, and many of them include the handsome Mr. Wolfe.
From Dreamspinner Press.

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Loads of angst interspersed with much smex and a young man exploring his burgeoning submissive side, made for a rather entertaining read. Defnitely on the lighter side the of the D/s scale, although one of the scenes in the last third was a little rougher. Nothing you’ll need someone to hold your hand through though!

There was great tension between Nick and Damian, and I especially enjoyed Nick. He was super cute and kinda artsy/emo! I found his character rather appealing and easy to read. He has a bit of that sweet, slightly innocent feel, but with that nice gutsy stuff to balance it out. Spunky, but not annoyingly so.

At times the narrative became a little repetitive with several scenes in quick succession that bore close resemblance to one another. It was mainly the sex scenes and I’m not one to say no to that! But as I was reasonably engrossed in the book, it was not too much of a problem, although it would have read a little more tightly if there’d been less. There were also a couple of other odd revelations about Damian and his past that seemed a little out of place, but I chose to ignore it and carry on.

While there were a few things I had issues with, I did like the story. This is the 2nd book by Catt Ford that I’ve read and I really am enjoying her writing. Sweet, sexy stuff that is worth a look. Check out her books here at Dreamspinner Press.

AND, look at that cover. Is nice. 😀

Shorts.

straightboysSexy jocks playing silly chicken games. A hot read, even if I did have to ignore  the repetitious nature of the writing. The smutty bits were worth it. Evangeline Anderson writes such a good build up that by the time they get there, those boys will have you on the edge of your seat. So to speak… a definite re read for the smex. Str8ght Boys by Evangeline Anderson. Samhain Publishing.

jock dorm 2 bobby michaelsI know a few have been put off with the odd moment of jock strap sniffing in the original Jock Dorm, but it didn’t really bother me too much. I’ve re read that wee gem several times. O-O. This second Jock Dorm novel about Drew and Vince is just as hot, but does not quite have the same impact as the first. The story felt rushed in parts, but I think Bobby Michaels does those first fumbling attempts at sex incredibly well. Jock Dorm – Drew and Vince by Bobby Michaels Loose Id.

Horizons dreamspinnerpressHorizons has got plenty of 5 star ratings so I thought I’d best check it out. While the story begins well and there is some great smex, it was the crying that put me off. I know it’s good to be in touch with your emotions, but harden the fuck up! Maybe I am just a grumpy cow. O-o In saying that, I’d so go back and read the grubby bits cause they were rather good! Horizons by Mickie B. Ashling. Dreamspinner Press.

high line ta chaseHigh Line was another must read apparently; so I did. While I enjoyed the first part of the novel the second half had some issues with pacing. It just did not flow as smoothly. I liked the premise immensely, who doesn’t like hot racing car drivers (Hello Jeremy Clarkson. snerk) and there was lots of lovely angsty emotion too. OK wee read. High Line by T.A. Chase. Samhain Publishing.

extreme bull catt fordCatt Ford was another new author for me. Extreme Bull was ok, but the only ass pounding action here was on the bulls these cowboys were riding. meh. Quite short too and wrapped up a little too smartly. Liked the authors writing despite this, so am definitely going to check out some more of her books. Extreme Bull by Catt Ford. Dreamspinner Press.

epistols at dawnePistols at Dawn started with a hiss and a roar. Quick and cleverly written with witty dialog and characters that had me laughing my ass off, it was snarky and funny and then kinda fell flat for me in the 2nd half. Which I guess was a little disappointing as the 1st half read SOOOOO beautifully. Like blindingly clever!!  Nice characters and loved the long hair. Just wanted more in the ending I think. ePistols at Dawn by Z.A. Maxfield. Samhain Publishing.

I am always on the hunt for good books, comics and manga so share away with anything you’ve been reading lately (with links of course) in the comments. I’d love to hear about them. 🙂

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