Monthly Archives: May 2012

Advance Review- Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas

Title:  Dream Lake (Friday Harbor Series)

Genre:  Contemporary Romance/ Paranormal Elements

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, August 2012 (preorder available)

Source: Free for Review from Amazon vine Program

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

Dream Lake takes readers once again to the exquisite setting of Friday Harbor, and tells the story of Zoe Hoffman, an innkeeper who has all but given up on love. She’s a gentle, romantic soul, but has been so hurt in the past that she dare not trust her heart with anyone. Especially not Alex Nolan. Alex is the most haunted of all the Nolan brothers. He drinks to keep his demons at bay and not only has he given up on love, he has never, ever believed in it. Zoe and Alex are oil and water, fire and ice, sunshine and shadow. But sometimes, it takes only a glimmer of light to chase away the dark.

**

This is the Third novel of Lisa Kleypas set in Friday Harbor and it surprised me by the addition of a ghost.  Not a terribly scary ghost, he is just hanging around haunting Sam Nolan’s renovation when Sam’s Brother Alex shows up and the ghost discovers that Alex can see and hear him.  The ghost latches onto Alex and won’t stop haunting him until he helps the ghost find out his name and why he must haunt the renovation.  This is a most entertaining side story to the romance that evolves haltingly between Chef Zoe Hoffman and Alex who is helping her renovate her grandmother’s cottage.

Ms. Kleypas can weave a plotline and develop characters which makes her a favorite read of mine.  This novel was a bit heavy on the tortured hero and the way too sweet and understanding heroine, but in Kleypa’s hands it all meshes into a very readable story with supernatural elements aiding in the quest for a happily-ever-after.  The side story of the ghost was so interesting that I wished for his own book.  The author gave a very credible view of Zoe’s grandmother’s dementia and the care it involved.  All the Nolan brothers make an appearance and add to the story.  This book can be read alone but reading the preceding novels in the series would make it even more enjoyable.

Friday Harbor Series by Lisa Kleypas

1.  Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor (Mark Nolan’s Story)

2.  Rainshadow Road (Sam Nolan’s Story)

3.  Dream Lake (Alex Nolan’s story)

4.  Crystal Cove ( coming in 2013)

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Filed under Book review, Books, Contemporary Romance, Romance

Review- Caroline Bingley by Jennifer Becton

Title:  Caroline Bingley: A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Jennifer Becton

Publisher: CreateSpace

Source: Kindle purchase from Amazon $3.99

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 3.5

Description from amazon.com:

When Charles Bingley and Mr. Darcy made proposals of marriage to the Bennet sisters at the end of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Caroline Bingley was both distressed by her brother’s choice of bride and humiliated by Mr. Darcy’s rejection of her. And she made her objections known.

Now banished from her brother’s household, Caroline must return to her mother’s home in the north of England until she can make amends with both Bennet sisters. Desperate though Caroline may be to return to polite company, she absolutely refuses to apologize to Miss Elizabeth Bennet, and instead, she seeks an alternative route back into society in the form of Mr. William Charlton, heir to a barony.

Through her connections with Mr. Charlton’s sister Lavinia, Caroline begins to infiltrate the household in the hopes of securing the gentleman and his title for herself. However, she must also contend with her vexing emotions regarding Mr. Patrick Rushton, a once-wealthy landowner, and the meddlesome opinions of Mrs. Rosemary Pickersgill, the companion sent by her brother.

When all that Caroline has ever dreamed of attaining–an ancient family name, a title, and a home of her own–is finally within her reach, will she grasp for it even if it means disregarding the workings of her own heart? Or will she cast off the trappings of society and give herself to true love?

**

If you have read Pride and Prejudice or if you have watched any of the many movies made from this classic romance, then you know Caroline Bingley is a snob.  And you may be wondering how she can possibly redeem herself from the manipulations she so enthusiastically has undertaken to bend others to her will.  Jennifer Becton not only delves into the psyche of Caroline, she brings the reader along to wish for and watch hopefully for Caroline’s redemption.

So many Historical Romances focus on the redemption of the hero, in this book we are treated to the redemption of the heroine.  It is not easily won, she does suffer and her distress and pain is felt by the reader.

In this Becton’s second continuation book (the first being Charlotte Collins) she once again brings us into the Regency period without sugar coating the era.  It was a difficult time for women who were treated as property.  There was little choice, either marry or live a life of poverty.  Caroline Bingley did have personal wealth but it was controlled by her brother and if she married it would be controlled by her husband. Either way she would be under the thumb of a man.  The period also embraced the societal structure of the class system and because Caroline’s ancestry was of tradesmen she was obsessed with elevating herself to the upper classes.

Becton is an extraordinary writer who kept me riveted to this story.  Her characters are realistic and very well drawn.  She shows how misguided Caroline can be and how those who care for her try to show her the reality of her life.  It is often frustrating to see Caroline’s persistence.

This book is well written and the romance well done.  I felt like cheering for Caroline Bingley’s redemption and her happily ever after.  Don’t misunderstand, she doesn’t change totally.  She becomes self-aware, and she allows herself to follow her heart instead of her misguided social climbing.

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Extra- Today is National Wine Day– Yay!

According to blogger John-Byron Hopkins ( http://foodimentary.com/2012/05/25/may-25-national-wine-day/ ) today is National Wine Day……  Isn’t everyday?

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Review-Charlotte Collins by Jennifer Becton

Title: Charlotte Collins: A Continuation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Jennifer Becton

Publisher: CreateSpace, 2010

Source: Free from Kindle, now $3.99 (paperback $11.10)

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 3.5

Description from amazon.com:

When Charlotte Lucas married Mr. Collins in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, she believed herself to be fortunate indeed. Her nuptials gained her a comfortable home and financial security. If she acquired these things at the expense of true love, it did not matter one whit. To Charlotte, love in marriage was nothing more than a pleasant coincidence.

As the years of her marriage dragged by, Charlotte began to question her idea of love as she suffered continual embarrassment at her husband’s simpering and fawning manners. When Mr. Collins dies, finally relieving everyone of his tedious conversation, she must work feverishly to secure her income and home. She gives no further thought to the prospect of love until her flighty sister Maria begs her to act as her chaperone in place of their ailing parents. Hoping to prevent Maria from also entering an unhappy union, Charlotte agrees, and they are quickly thrust into a world of country dances, dinner parties, and marriageable gentlemen.

But when an unprincipled gentleman compromises Charlotte’s reputation, her romantic thoughts disappear at the prospect of losing her independence. As she struggles to extricate herself from her slander, her situation reveals both the nature of each gentleman and of true love.

**

This book was offered for free on Kindle for a short time.  I’m happy I picked it up because I might have hesitated if I was required to pay the $3.99 price since I was totally unfamiliar with this author.  This is a self published book and it goes to prove that fabulous writers are now self publishing.

I have read several Pride and Prejudice sequels, some I have enjoyed and some not so much.  This one is the very best I have ever read.  The characters are well developed and we are treated to an in depth look at Regency morals and mores.  No regency era author I have read made me feel the impact of societal customs like this novel.  We are thrown into the time of Jane Austen and we experience the fear and impact of what ostracizing society can do to individuals, especially women of that time.  There is romance but it is totally in keeping with the times where the touch of a hand was considered an erotic encroachment and where seductive looks could mean public downfall.

I cannot praise this book highly enough.  It was a total delight to read.  Jennifer Becton has another sequel currently available (Caroline Bingley )and I shall spend the $3.99 for it happily.

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Filed under Book review, Books, Historical Romance, Kindle, Romance

Extra- How fast do you read?

Here is a little fun test from Staples to see how fast you read.  Keep going to each “next page” for interesting information.  I confess, I’m a slo-o-ow reader.  I’m not even going to tell you how slow.  It is because I cherish every word.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

http://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/marketing/technology-research-centers/ereaders/speed-reader/index.html

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Wild Wednesday- Deet’s Favorite Library ever…this week/ and the best online bookclub

In the past I have treated you to views of librarys around the world.  Today I’m taking you on a field trip to a library in the good ole USA.  It is the Brentwood Public Library in Tennesee.  They have the best children’s area I have ever seen in a library and I’m sure you will agree with me when you see the pictures below.  But that’s not all, they have online book clubs in all genres that just blew me away.  Their website is for this is unbelieveable.  First lets look at the photos of the Story Time Room.

For even more photos of this wonderful fantasyland go here:

https://picasaweb.google.com/105028674445402546389/ChildrenSDepartment?feat=flashalbum#5644501518576856146

Now about that book club….This website just blew me away.  I signed up to read a Mary Jo Putney book from the romance book club but as you can see there are multiple genres available.

Update 5/23/2012 , 9am:  OOP’s sorry this URL was left out of the original post so I’m adding it now:

http://www.supportlibrary.com/nt/landing.cfm?x=1127&menu=bccarousel&submenu=bcsignup

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Review- The Governess Affair: a novella by Courtney Milan

Title:  The Governess Affair: a novella

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Courtney Milan

Publisher: Kindle digital 2012

Source: $.99 purchase for Kindle

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

The start of a new series from New York Times bestselling author Courtney Milan…

She will not give up.

Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position. Unable to find new work, she’s demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke. But it’s not the duke she fears. It’s his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont. The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke’s dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn’t stand a chance. But she can’t stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.

He cannot give in.

Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke. When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at the office. Unfortunately, fair means don’t work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can’t bear to use foul ones. But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone. He’ll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…

The Governess Affair is a novella of about 33,000 words.

**

I am a fan of Courtney Milan and that is why I decided to read this novella.  I usually don’t like novellas as well as a full length novels because the shortened format leaves little time to develop characters and relationships.  Somehow in this novella Ms. Milan worked her magic and those two usual stumbling blocks were overcome totally.  The characterizations were spot on and the relationship bloomed.  This is a prequel to a new series and I look forward to reading it.  There is a tease at the end of this novella as to the subject of the first in the series.  I highly recommend this novella and Ms Milan’s other novels.

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Review- The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Title: The Age of Miracles

Genre: General Fiction/Apocalyptic

Author: Karen Thompson Walker

Publisher: Random House,June 26 2012

Source: Free for review from Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: 3

Description from amazon.com:

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.

**

I was disappointed,  because my expectations were of a more adventurous novel.  This is a slow developing story of the end of the world through the eyes of eleven year old, Julia.  The author captures this point of view very well.  We believe an adolescent is telling this story.  Nothing much moves along fast as the earth slows its rotation.  Life continues with sometimes drastic adaptations but it continues.  People surrounding Julia continue to act as people have always acted, caring, hating, worrying, philandering, obsessing and sometimes just being confusing.  The ending was even more of a disappointment since the author used an actual event that happened a few decades ago as if it was new to her world. I know that sounds vague but I don’t want to add any spoilers to this review.  The writing was good, but I struggled to stay with the story that just seemed to repeat itself.

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Wild Wednesday- Uncanny Hottie Look-Alikes

Do you believe in reincarnation?  Well these photos make me think it just might be possible, right down to genes.  I’m having a Twilight Zone moment.  Are you as impressed as I am?  Not to mention…okay I’ll mention…these guys are HOT both from the olden days to the present!

Samuel Butler, 1858 & Sacha Baron Cohen

 

 

John Allan, 1870, criminal & Jake Gyllenhaall

 

James Stark, actor, 1850 &  Michael Fassbinder (Remember him?)

 

Edward Steichein, photographer, 1917 & Aiden Quinn

 

Alexander H. Turnbull 1891  & Keanu Reeves

I got to browsing over at Tumblr and found these very interesting combos and had to reblog.  You can go there and see  these plus more just click here:  http://mydaguerreotypeboyfriend.tumblr.com/

 

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Filed under History, sexy man, Wowsa Wednesday Sexy Man

Review- Along Came a Duke by Elizabeth Boyle

Title:  Along Came a Duke(Bk #1, Rhymes With Love series)

Genre:  Historical Romance

Author: Elizabeth Boyle

Publisher:  Avon, May 29, 2012

Source: Free for review from Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

“A young lady with a fortune is subject to all sorts of untoward attentions by the worst sort of vagrants.” Aunt Allegra

A lesson Tabitha Timmons, a penniless spinster, has never needed to heed. That is, until she is left a vast fortune payable only upon her marriage to the very respectable Mr. Barkworth—a match that offers little chance of discovering exactly what her aunt means by “untoward attentions.”

But the same can’t be said when the Duke of Preston happens along Tabitha’s path. He spies a rebellious streak in her that matches his own and he makes it his mission to save her from such a passionless match, interfering in her life at every turn. All too soon, Preston—whose very name spells ruin—has Tabitha caught between the good fortune that guarantees her security, and his kiss, which promises an entirely different kind of happily-ever-after.

**

Tabatha is trying desperately to hold onto her dignity and virginity until she is forced to forgo both.  Preston is a Duke without very much decorum (but really when you are a Duke you pretty much do what you will).  All manner of faux pas ensue to foul up plans which keep us turning pages and every once in awhile laughing out loud.

This is a fun, light, predictable, but most enjoyable read.  There is not much new in this book.  We get rakish aristocrats, prim-proper country lasses, vile villains and snooty society so we have all the makings of a true regency style romance novel and Ms. Boyle does write it well.  This is a fine escape read and since it is the first in a series we can look forward to the stories of other interesting side characters.

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