Happy Labor Day 2014- Go Ahead, take a break

 

construction worker labor day

 

construction worker

 

construction worker nurse

 

construction worker cowboy

 

 

construction worker househusband

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Recent Release Review- Lisette’s List by Susan Vreeland

Title:  Lisette’s ListLisette List

 

 Genre: General Fiction/ Romantic elements

Author: Susan Vreeland

Publisher: Random House, Aug. 26, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: behind closed doors

Description from Amazon.com:

In 1937, young Lisette Roux and her husband, André, move from Paris to a village in Provence to care for André’s grandfather Pascal. Lisette regrets having to give up her dream of becoming a gallery apprentice and longs for the comforts and sophistication of Paris. But as she soon discovers, the hilltop town is rich with unexpected pleasures.

Pascal once worked in the nearby ochre mines and later became a pigment salesman and frame maker; while selling his pigments in Paris, he befriended Pissarro and Cézanne, some of whose paintings he received in trade for his frames. Pascal begins to tutor Lisette in both art and life, allowing her to see his small collection of paintings and the Provençal landscape itself in a new light. Inspired by Pascal’s advice to “Do the important things first,” Lisette begins a list of vows to herself (#4. Learn what makes a painting great). When war breaks out, André goes off to the front, but not before hiding Pascal’s paintings to keep them from the Nazis’ reach.

With German forces spreading across Europe, the sudden fall of Paris, and the rise of Vichy France, Lisette sets out to locate the paintings (#11. Find the paintings in my lifetime). Her search takes her through the stunning French countryside, where she befriends Marc and Bella Chagall, who are in hiding before their flight to America, and acquaints her with the land, her neighbors, and even herself in ways she never dreamed possible. Through joy and tragedy, occupation and liberation, small acts of kindness and great acts of courage, Lisette learns to forgive the past, to live robustly, and to love again.

**

It is always a special treat to pick up a book and learn about something new.  For me it was all about mining and the preparation of ochre from the earth into pigments for painting.  That lesson was wrapped up in the beautiful story of a young bride on the verge of WWII.  The story tells of the hardships the French dealt with during the war, and especially those of this young woman, Lisette, living alone and struggling to get by.  It also touches on the confiscation of paintings by the German’s.  The heart of the story is the hiding of the paintings and Lisette’s pursuit of them.

I have been a fan of Susan Vreeland since reading her book, THE GIRL IN HYASENTH BLUE.  Blue must be a favorite of Ms. Vreeland for she also makes Lisette’s desire a blue dress.  This book is long, 433 pages, it could have been shorter but the length does submerge the reader in the environment of the village in Provence.  The author is especially adept at creating visions of landscape and mood with her lovely prose.

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Recent Release Review- Not Quite A Wife by Mary Jo Putney

Title:  Not Quite A Wife (The Lost Lords)

Not Quite A Wife

 Genre:  Historical Romance

Author: Mary Jo Putney

Publisher: Zebra books, reprint August 26, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Marry in haste, repent at leisure.

James, Lord Kirkland, owns a shipping fleet, half a London gaming house, and is a ruthlessly effective spymaster. He is seldom self-indulgent. . .except when it comes to the gentle, indomitable beauty who was once his wife.

Laurel Herbert gave James her heart as an innocent young girl–until she saw him perform an act of shocking violence before her very eyes. That night she left her husband, and he let her go without a word of protest.

Now, ten years later, a chance encounter turns passionate, with consequences that cannot be ignored. But as they try to rebuild what was broken, they must face common enemies and a very uncommon love. . ..

**

Sometimes a beautiful book cover is just not enough.  So much of this plot just didn’t make any sense to me.  Yes, it might be just me, but hear me out.  We have a young woman who married in haste because both she and her husband found love at first sight. They were ecstatically happy for a year.  Then he kills an intruder in front of her and she decides that he’s a murderer and she leaves him for ten years.  He doesn’t pursue her because he is feeling guilty about the killing.  Here is where I don’t get their reactions: He is killing the guy in self defense so why is she all “he’s a murderer” and why is he feeling guilty?  Spoiler Alert:  Then they get back together under fantastical circumstances where coincidence abounds.  Okay not so much “spoiler” but if you want to read this book I don’t want to spoil it all for you.  There is a very predictable side plot about a former slave girl.  All in all I find Ms. Putney’s command of language to be first rate but this plot was so unbelieveable that I find it impossible to give it a glowing recommendation.

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Release Day Sept 2nd- Review- The Laird by Grace Burrowes

Title: The Laird (book #3, Captive Hearts)

The Laird

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Grace Burrowes

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Sept. 2, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

He left his bride to go to war… After years of soldiering, Michael Brodie returns to his Highland estate to find that the bride he left behind has become a stranger. Brenna is self-sufficient, competent, confident-and furious about Michael’s prolonged absence.

Now his most important battle will be for her heart Brenna is also hurt, bewildered, and tired of fighting for the respect of those around her. Michael left her when she needed him most, and then stayed away even after the war ended. Nonetheless, the young man who abandoned her has come home a wiser, more patient and honorable husband. But if she trusts Michael with the truths she’s been guarding, he’ll have to choose between his wife and everything else he holds dear.

**

In this the third and final book of the Captive Hearts Trilogy, Grace Burrowes has touched on yet  another difficult and disturbing subject, this time that of child molestation and abuse. She approaches the subject with delicacy and understanding as well as discretion. She brings tears to the reader’s eyes at her uncompromising yet sensitive view of the subject. It makes me wonder how she managed to bring so much romance also. But in the hands of this author superbly nuanced characters are developed through elegantly written dialog and deft plotting.

In each of the books in this series the author has introduced plots not often found in romance novels but which, with elegant writing have created a most original series dealing with torture. The torture occurring in war and the torture of abused children. She has helped us to understand the abuser and the abused, be it adult or child.

I highly recommend this book as well as this series for the provocative subject matter and the emotionally satisfying romance.

The Captive Hearts Series:

  1. The Captive
  2. The Traitor
  3. The Laird

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Advance Review-What A Duke Dares by Anna Campbell

Title:  What A Duke Dares

What a Duke Dares

 

 Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Anna Campbell

Publisher: Forever, August 26,2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

What woman in her right mind would say no to marrying the dashing Duke of Sedgemoor? Miss Penelope Thorne, that’s who. She’s known Camden Rothermere since they were children-and she also knows she’d bring nothing but scandal to his name.

Cam can hardly believe Penelope turned down his proposal. But if she wants to run off to the Continent and set the rumor mill ablaze, he can’t stop her. Then her brother’s dying request sends him to bring home the one woman he thought he’d finally gotten over.

The only way they’ll both get back to London without their reputations in tatters is to pretend they’re married during the journey. That means kissing like they mean it and even sharing a bed-until it becomes hard to tell where the game ends and true desire begins . . .

 

**

Where have I been???  Anna Campbell can write a fabulous romance novel and this is the first time I’ve discovered one of her books.  Okay, that’s a lie….I have had another of her books on my TBR pile for like forever, now I can’t wait to read that one.

Cam and Pen’s relationship is just full of unrequited love, at least for Penelope.  Cam seems to think that love is not in his stars and he wants no part of a “love” relationship.  Poor, misguided man.  He falls in love without knowing that is the label to place on it and denies love until it is almost too late for him to save his relationship with Pen.

Delicious! Yup, so yummy you will eat this book up.  One taste isn’t enough.  I have to go and read all of Ms. Campbell’s back list.

 

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Recent Release Review-How The Scoundrel Seduces by Sabrina Jefferies

Title:  How The Scoundrel Seduces (The Dukes Men, book#3)

How The Scoundrel Seduces

 Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Sabrina Jefferies

Publisher: Pocket Books, August 19,2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Investigator Tristan Bonnaud has one aim in life—to make sure that his half-brother George can’t ever ruin his life again. So when the pesky Lady Zoe Keane, the daughter of the Earl of Olivier, shows up demanding that the Duke’s Men find a mysterious gypsy woman, he seizes the opportunity to also hunt for a gypsy friend who knows secrets about George. Tristan doesn’t expect to uncover Lady Zoe’s family secrets, as well…or end up falling for the woman who will risk all to discover the truth.

**

This was action packed and it brought a conclusion to the problems of Dominick and Tristan as well as Zoe. Zoe was a bit headstrong and Tristan seemed incapable of saying “no” and meaning it.  But if all works out then we have to be happy for her stubbornness.  There were some surprises that added to the enjoyment of the story.  Side characters from the previous books made cameo appearances and tied the series together.  While this is book#3, it is a standalone novel. There were hints that Dom might find love in a future book.

Ms. Jefferies brought her usual lusciously romantic, well constructed plot along with characters that speak realistic dialog.  Always true to the time period, she brings it alive with her prose.

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Deet’s Life- Sexy Men, Italian Hand Gestures

Let’s all learn Italian hand gestures via some sexy models from Dolce & Gabbana.  This YouTube vid was introduced to me by those “Two Nerdy History Girls”, Loretta Chase and Isabella Bradford, http://twonerdyhistorygirls.blogspot.com

Now off you go to practice your Italian.

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Regency Era Modes of Transportation

Regency Era Transportation

I read quite a few Regency Era romance novels.  There is always a mention of a horse drawn coach or carriage in every book, since these were the typical mode of transportation for the gentry and aristocracy.  The poor folks had to rely on walking.  Instead of wondering about what these vehicles looked like, I did a little research and thought perhaps you would like to see what they looked like also.  I got these pictures from Google Images and Bing Images, any errors I’m dumping at their feet. :-)

Phaeton- This one was very popular with the rakish fellas because it was so high, a ladder was often needed to get onto the seat,  and it got them noticed.  It also was dangerous, it could easily tip over, that made it attractive to the daredevils.  There was no side protection so mud splatters were to be expected. carriage phaeton

Curricle- Another fashionable carriage for the gentleman.  It was light weight and speedy.carriage curricle

Barouche- A popular summer carriage for the wealthy. It had a hood over one of the seats.carriage barouche

Landau- This one came in at the end of the Regency Era.  It was expensive and very showy, perfect for being seen in the park. (although to my mind not as elegant as the Barouche)Carriage CLassicLandau1

 

Town Coach- Similar to a Landau but with a hard roof.  It was also called a ‘Closed Carriage”.  The nobility often put their coat of arms on the door.carriage Town coach

Mail Coach- this needs little explanation.  It traveled the roads delivering the mail across England and those who wished to travel  from one place to another could purchase a seat.carriage mail coach

 Dog Cart- It was not a cart pulled by dogs.  It was a carriage used on estates that could hold the hunting dogs being transported to a hunt.carriage dog cart

Hackney Coach- The taxi cab of London in the 1800’s.carriage Hackney-coach,_about_1800

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Kindle Book Review- A Passionate Affair With A Total Stranger by Lucy Robinson

Title:  A Passionate Love Affair With a Total Stranger

A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger

 Genre: Contemporary Romance/Chick-Lit

Author:  Lucy Robinson

Publisher: Notting Hill Press

Source: Purchase, Kindle $3.99

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

Charley Lambert has worked hard at creating a perfect life. She has an aspirational flat, a job of international significance and a very good pair of legs, thanks to a rigorous health and fitness regime. Best of all, her boss has asked her out after seven years’ hard flirting and a covert fumble in a cleaning cupboard. 
Then she breaks her leg in three places, watches her boss propose to someone else and – horror – is forced to hand over her job to her nasty deputy. Charley, a certified workaholic, fears that she will go mad. 
Dangerously bored, she starts helping people who are talentless at internet dating. Then William arrives in her inbox and rocks her world. Helpless, she watches herself fall in love with him and discovers she’s not who she thought she was. 
 But can she turn her back on her old life – all for a total stranger?

**

This is Chick-Lit the way it should always be written; funny, sweet, angst-ridden, character driven and full of romance.  I read this over 400 page book in one day.  I could not put it down.  I became so entwined in the lives of Charley, John, Sam, Hailey and the Lambert family that I had to stay up all night to see them safely to the end of the book.  All but one made it that far.  Take this one along on your August vacation for an entertaining beach read.

It is set in England, written by a British author, so there is a plethora of British Slang, or as my Oxford English Dictionary calls most of it “vulgar British slang”.  So you don’t have to run to the dictionary here is a brief list:

Slapper- A promiscuous woman

Muff- A woman’s genitals

Fitties-( I couldn’t find a definition of this anywhere.)

Slag- A Promiscuous woman

Wanker- A contemptible person

Buggered- Extremely tired

Skive- Avoid work or duty by staying away or leaving early.

Pash- A brief infatuation.

(Let’s not hold it against the author for that truly awful book cover.  Inside is what really counts.)

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Recent Release Review- The Traitor by Grace Burrowes

Title:  The Traitor (Bk #2, Captive Hearts)

The Traitor

 Genre:  Historical Romance

Author: Grace Burrowes

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Aug 5, 2014

Source:  Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

The past will overtake him… Abandoned in France since boyhood, despite being heir to an English barony, Sebastian St. Clair makes impossible choices to survive a tour of duty in the French Army. He returns to England hoping for the peaceful life of a country gentleman, though old enemies insist on challenging him on the field of honor, one after another.

But this time, he will not fight alone… Millicent Danforth desperately needs her position as companion to the Traitor Baron’s aunt, but grieves to learn that Sebastian must continually fight a war long over. As Sebastian and Milly explore their growing passion, they uncover a plot that will cost Sebastian his life and his honor, unless he does battle once more-this time in the name of love.

**

In this Ms. Burrowes second offering in her Captive Hearts Series she examines the toll that war takes on those forced into doing unspeakable tasks. Sebastian, is English born but was raised in France where he is conscripted into the French army. He is not totally unsympathetic to his English upbringing and although he is tasked with interrogating captured English officers he devises ways to get some information from them while keeping them alive. But his methods are still torture for the officers. At wars end they are, one after another, challenging him to duels.

There is an evil villain behind the duels. He wants to see Sebastian dead, fearing Sebastian will tell about his criminal dealings during the war.

Millicent, has issues to deal with, but is in love with Sebastian and works diligently for his survival.

Once again Grace Burrowes delivers a mesmerizing story filled with romance, danger and action. She takes a character that we perhaps should loathe and with wisdom and finesse makes us cheer for his good outcome. His valet/bodyguard Michael Brodie is somewhat mysterious and there are some surprises offered concerning him. He is also the subject of the third book in this series, coming in September. We are introduced to Sebastian in the first book of the series (THE CAPTIVE) but this is a standalone novel. However, this is one of the best series of the year so I encourage you to start with The Captive.

Captive Hearts Series

  1. The CaptiveDeet’s Review of THE CAPTIVE
  2. The Traitor
  3. The Laird (Sept. 2014)

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