My January Reading Log

Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson is a lowkey romance that takes place just before and during World War One. The hero is a surgeon of working-class Scottish origins, the heroine is an aristocratic-class woman who becomes an ambulance driver against her parents’ wishes. Spoiler: her brother is not killed, he is the hero of a sequel. This author knows her stuff up down and sideways, and if you want to see how to write about World War One, read it, OMG. There are details of a surgeon’s duties at a Casualty Clearing Station, and details of how to perform ambulance maintenance. I drooled (not literally) over the nerdtastic bits like that. Also, the romance was realistic and satisfying.

The Escape by Mary Balogh is fourth in the “Survivor’s Club” series about (mostly) army officers who were damaged by the Napoleonic Wars. This one pairs the widow of a self-centered, adulterous officer with a former career officer whose legs were so badly injured he walks with two crutches. He’s desperately in search of something to keep himself busy, and she’s desperate to escape from her dead husband’s oppressive family. They help each other, they find what they need even though it is nothing they ever expected, and they were fun to read about together.

Reparations by Saras_Girl is first in an AU/sequel series in which Harry Potter becomes a Healer and Draco Malfoy specializes in magical addictions treatment. The first story takes place at St. Mungo’s and features several original characters plus Ron, Hermione, and Ginny; there’s a mystery plot which I figured out but was still interesting, and a Harry/Draco romance. What I liked best about this was that I could see Harry taking this path; I have never understood why so many stories have him working as an Auror after the end of the canon series, when I feel it’s more interesting if he has realized there are other paths to defeat the Dark than constantly fighting criminals.

Excultus by Mottlemoth is truly amazing, and I will attempt to recommend it without major spoilers. Set in a futuristic Mystrade slash AU of Sherlock, it features Mycroft Holmes and Greg Lestrade as Scotland Yard detectives trying to track down a murderous vampire cult. The cool part of the worldbuilding is that the vampires, and a host of other “supernatural” creatures, are genetically engineered humans, an idea which I adore and am finding thematically resonant. A violent murder near the beginning turns out to be a vampire kill, but there’s more danger to come, involving the return of a secretive, supremacist cult. The romance plot, entangled in the mystery, is emotionally intense and gets a bit schmoopy, especially when personal secrets are involved; though it’s well written I was far more interested in the mystery plot twists and the lives of the many original characters. Highly recommended.

family means no one gets left behind or forgotten by cosmicocean is a lovely Captain America adopts a bunch of LGBTQIA kids and they live happily ever after story if you need it, and I did.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
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