April 18, 2014

Book Review: Why Kings Confess by C.S. Harris

So we all know I'm obsessed with Sebastian St. Cyr, right? Because poor Viscount Devlin, he's so dreamy, and conflicted, and his personal life is nuts, and he's so good at beating up bad guys and solving crimes. I'm happy that Sebastian's personal life seems to be on the upswing in recent books though! (For earlier info on the craaaaziness in the St. Cyr family, check out my reviews of What Angels Fear, and What Darkness Brings).

I was superty-duper excited when Shelf Awareness sent me the latest in the series for review. I waited to post it here, since obviously you should all go read it immediately, and it wasn't out for publication yet when I'd first reviewed it. But it's out now! Go swoon over Viscount Devlin to your heart's content, I won't tell.

Novels set during Great Britain's Regency are often romantic, glossing over the difficult nature of life in the early 19th century. Not so C.S. Harris's mysteries. Her Sebastian St. Cyr series--of which Why Kings Confess is the ninth novel--offer a glimpse into the seamy side of Regency life, complete with high infant mortality, brutal living conditions and vicious crimes.

St. Cyr, only surviving son of the Earl of Hendon, can't help getting involved when a Frenchwoman is found wounded in an alley near the body of a Frenchman whose heart was cut from his chest. Though his wife, Hero, is mere days from delivering a breech baby, Sebastian is determined to find out who attacked Alexi Sauvage and murdered Damion Pelletan. He soon realizes Alexi is hiding something, and that they've met before. She was a doctor in the Peninsular War and has no reason to trust him, a former British soldier. Even more interestingly, he discovers Pelletan was in London with a secret delegation sent to broker a peace deal between Britain and Napoleon's France.

Harris brings the politics of the French and British to life, inviting the reader to analyze the real historical figures and to sympathize with both the Bourbons and Napoleon's supporters. In addition to the accurate history and the intriguing mystery, longtime fans of the series will be happy to see new developments in the personal lives of Sebastian and his friends. Why Kings Confess is historical mystery at its finest.

Are you a Sebastian fan too?
Or do you know of other good Regency mysteries?

April 15, 2014

Short & Tweet: What I've Been Reading & What I Want to Read

Quirky Bookworm: Excerpt from Simon Garfield's 'On the Map'

It's only been two weeks since my last short review round-up, but I've read a few more books, and I realized I left one out (poor Marathon Conspiracy). So here are some quick tweet-style reviews of what I've been reading!


On the Map - Not far into this, but loving it already. A history of maps and map-making. #geographynerd

That Summer* - I like to call Lauren Willig "Kate Morton lite". This one's set in 2009, w/flashbacks to pre-Raphaelite artists in Victorian London. #fun

The Marathon Conspiracy* - Murder in classical Athens. Hilarious antics of detective Nicolaos & fiancee Diotima & his little brother Socrates. (Yes, that Socrates).

Mariana - This one's more paranormal/time-travel-y than The Splendour Falls. Still a nice romance. Why don't I have an aunt to leave me a fortune?!

The Illusionists* - About Victorian illusionists: a man with a past, a dwarf, a spunky girl. Odd, but I'm intrigued to see where it goes. #magic

And, here are some of the books next up on my list... whenever I get a chance to get to them! I might try and find a good version of Persuasion on LibriVox - any of you have a favorite narrator?


Venetia - Haven't read this one in 6 or 7 years. Time for a reread! I love Venetia's spunk. And Damerel's swoonworthiness. #iswearitsaword

The Good Suicides* - I liked The Summer of Dead Toys. Looking forward to another dark Spanish mystery. Hoping Detective Hector Salgado has better luck this time.

Persuasion - For the Motherhood + Jane Austen Book Club. (Did you catch our live chat about Mansfield Park? I hate myself on camera, ack!)  

What are YOU reading?

*I have ARCs for review. They aren't actually published yet...

This post contains a few affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Quirky Bookworm! And, I'm planning to link this up with Anne Bogel's Twitterature series! Check it out (but be warned... your TBR list will explode!).