Lazy Weekend Reviews #4

In an effort to catch up on reviews and indulge in a lazy weekend, I've rounded up a few of my recent reads for quick reviews below. Included are The Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland and Shadows and Dreams by Alexis Hall.

The Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland

Genre: Historical Fiction

1660, Paris

Claudette’s life is like an ever-revolving stage set. From an impoverished childhood wandering the French countryside with her family’s acting troupe, Claudette finally witnesses her mother's astonishing rise to stardom in Parisian theaters. Working with playwrights Corneille, Molière and Racine, Claudette’s life is culturally rich, but like all in the theatrical world at the time, she's socially scorned.

A series of chance encounters gradually pull Claudette into the alluring orbit of Athénaïs de Montespan, mistress to Louis XIV and reigning "Shadow Queen." Needing someone to safeguard her secrets, Athénaïs offers to hire Claudette as her personal attendant.

Enticed by the promise of riches and respectability, Claudette leaves the world of the theater only to find that court is very much like a stage, with outward shows of loyalty masking more devious intentions. This parallel is not lost on Athénaïs, who fears political enemies are plotting her ruin as young courtesans angle to take the coveted spot in the king's bed.

Indeed, Claudette's "reputable" new position is marked by spying, illicit trysts and titanic power struggles. As Athénaïs, becomes ever more desperate to hold onto the King's favor, innocent love charms move into the realm of deadly Black Magic, and Claudette is forced to consider a move that will put her own life—and the family she loves so dearly—at risk.

Set against the gilded opulence of a newly-constructed Versailles and the War of Theaters, THE SHADOW QUEEN is a seductive, gripping novel about the lure of wealth, the illusion of power, and the increasingly uneasy relationship between two strong-willed women whose actions could shape the future of France.
   I found The Shadow Queen an appealing and entertaining change from what I expected. Historical fiction is either really amazing or really dull for me. This book fell into the former category. The author is liberal with her descriptions and it makes reading the book a very immersing experience.

  The only downsides for were easily overlooked. The title is a bit misleading to those expecting it to be about the Shadow Queen instead of her helper. And there were parts of the story that seemed oddly out of place. But all in all, I thoroughly enjoyed The Shadow Queen and would definitely recommend it to historical fiction fans!

**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review with no compensation.

Shadows & Dreams by Alexis Hall
Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator #2)

Genres: Urban Fantasy, LGBT

Second rule in this line of business: be careful who
you kill.

My name’s Kate Kane. And right now, I don’t know which is more dangerous: my job, or my girlfriend. My job makes me the go-to girl for every supernatural mystery in London. My girlfriend’s an eight-hundred-year-old vampire prince. Honestly, I think it’s probably a tie.

A few weeks ago, I was hired for a simple missing person case. Next thing I know, I’m being arrested for murder, a vampire army is tearing up London, and even my dreams are out to get me. Something ancient, evil, and scary as hell is on the loose and looking for payback. The vampires are in chaos, the werewolves are culling everything, and the Witch Queen can’t protect everyone.

Which means it’s down to me. And all I’ve got to hold back the shadows is a stiff drink, a quirky sidekick, my creepy ex-boyfriend, and the woman who left me for a tech startup. It’s going to be another interesting day.
  There is so much packed into the pages of this book! I didn't read the first book in this series, yet I did not struggle to get into the story. Alexis Hall is a master at inviting you into her world. There are a multitude of things happening in this book. Not  once did I get confused, though. It was a very easy and enjoyable read for me.

  Absolutely amazing is all I can say about Shadows and Dreams. I could gush about this book. Really, you should read it if you love urban fantasy served with a side of sass. Now excuse me while I go track down the first book in this series!

**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review with no compensation.

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