Friday, December 31, 2010

~Book Review~ Back in Society

Back in Society (The Poor Relation #6)Back in Society by Marion Chesney

My rating: 4 of 5 pearls

~Sixth and final installment in the Poor Relation series~ 3.9 pearls

Lady Jane is titled, beautiful, and the daughter of a peer. However, the abuse she's suffered at her father's hand drives her to the Poor Relation hotel, where she plans to take her own life. In an effort to save her, the owners give her a season. Two suitors vie for her hand; of the two, Jane gravitates toward the one she considers "safe."

As the final book in the series, all the main characters get their happily-ever-afters in this one. Most of the humor in this lies with the owners of the hotel, but it is humorous. Lady Jane's situation is a bit too much to be funny although some of her reactions to the relations are amusing.

All in all, a delightful series and well worth the few hours required to read it. Don't bother if you worry too much about POV switches and "-ly" words.

(In many ways, this story reminds me of Chesney's The Scandalous Lady Wright.)

The Scandalous Lady Wright (A Regency Romance)

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Back in Society (The Poor Relation, Vol 6) (Amazon link)
The Scandalous Lady Wright (A Regency Romance) (Amazon link)

~Book Review~ Colonel Sandhurst to the Rescue

Colonel Sandhurst to the Rescue (The Poor Relation #5)Colonel Sandhurst to the Rescue by Marion Chesney

My rating: 3 of 5 pearls

~Fifth installment in the Poor Relation series~ 3.4 pearls

Colonel Sandhurst, the most dignified and proper elderly gentleman one can imagine, more or less kidnaps a young woman, intending to ransom her for what her father owes the owners of the Poor Relation hotel. The heroine is as sweet and innocent as they come, although we're supposed to believe she's been a tomboy up until right before the story started. I had trouble believing it. Still, the story is amusing, as usual.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

~Book Review~ Sir Philip's Folly

Sir Philip's Folly (The Poor Relation #4)Sir Philip's Folly by Marion Chesney

My rating: 3 of 5 pearls

~Fourth installment in the Poor Relation series~ 3.2 pearls

Another witty book for an entertaining series. The heroine of this book is amusing as she tries to cope with a mother who wants to pass her off as much younger than she actually is. To add some Regency comedy, mother and daughter both want the same man.

As is the case with all the different Regency series that Ms Chesney wrote, much of the focus in this is on the recurring characters. In this series it's the ones who own the Poor Relation hotel, specifically, Sir Philip, whose choice of lady friends offends the rest of the hotel owners.

Warning to clean romance fans: This book is a bit more risqué than most of Ms. Chesney's Regencies, but by no means graphic.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Thursday, December 30, 2010

~Book Review~ Mrs Budley Falls from Grace

Mrs. Budley Falls from Grace (The Poor Relation #3)Mrs. Budley Falls from Grace by Marion Chesney

My rating: 3 of 5 pearls (reviewed Nov 18, 2010)

~Third installment in the Poor Relation series~ 3.4 pearls

Not as funny as the first two books but still quite amusing with a few laugh-out-loud moments. Marion Chesney continues to be an excellent author to pick up if one is looking for a humorous escape.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

~Book Review~ Miss Tonks Takes a Risk

Miss Tonks Takes a Risk (The Poor Relation #2)Miss Tonks Takes a Risk by Marion Chesney

My rating: 4 of 5 pearls (Reviewed Nov 17, 2010)

The second volume in the Poor Relation series, this book is equally innocuous, pleasantly diverting, and a laugh-out-loud type of romance that the first volume is. The hero in this one was especially diverting. Again, an enjoyable way to spend an hour or two.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

~Book Review~ Lady Fortescue Steps Out

Lady Fortescue Steps Out (The Poor Relation #1)Lady Fortescue Steps Out by Marion Chesney

My rating: 4 of 5 pearls (reviewed Nov 17, 2010)

I've read this before and it's a delightful read if you don't care about the whys and wherefores of "correct" writing. If you read strictly for enjoyment, this book is light and amusing, a very pleasant way to spend an hour or two. I laughed out loud more than once. Marion Chesney's books always make me chuckle.

A side note: Although a romance, a LOT of time is spent with characters other than the romantic leads. This is the first book of a six-book series and some time is spent setting up the storyline that stretches through all six books.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

~Book Review~ Rainbird's Revenge

Rainbird's Revenge (A House for the Season, Book 6)Rainbird's Revenge by Marion Chesney

My rating: 3.8 of 5 pearls

~Sixth and final installment in the House for the Season series~

3.8 pearls

Oh, I'd forgotten how much this one makes me chuckle. The hero is pompous and arrogant and the heroine is vain and silly. Truly made for each other. Their head-butting makes me laugh out loud every time I read it.

As for the servants, upon whom this series is focused, they get their happily-ever-afters. All in all, a satisfying end to an entertaining series.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Monday, December 6, 2010

~Book Review~ The Adventuress

The Adventuress (A House for the Season, Book 5)

My rating: 3.6 of 5 pearls 

~Fifth installment in the House for the Season series~ 3.6 pearls 

Entertaining, of course, as usual. The hero and heroine seem to figure a little more prominently in this book than the heroes/heroines in previous books of the series. This could be due to the fact that the heroine is an ex-servant, pretending to be a gentlewoman. 

In this installment, the servants of the house start to realize their dreams might differ somewhat from what they had previously desired. More dimensions for these quirky characters. 

...and my usual warnings to those who have never read Marion Chesney's older Regencies: Do not read these if you are overly critical about the "proper" way to write. Ms Chesney's POV switches sometimes occur within a paragraph and '-ly' words are abundant. If, on the other hand, you only desire to be entertained, Ms Chesney's books are always that. :o) 

Friday, November 26, 2010

~Book Review~ Rake's Progress

Rake's Progress (A House for the Season, Book 4)

My rating: 4.2 of 5 pearls 

~Fourth installment in the House for the Season series~ 4.2 pearls 

Quite typical "rake and reformer" storyline but with Marion Chesney's uniquely entertaining style. This is one of my favorites in this series and always makes me laugh. It is, however, a good bit more risqué than the other stories in the series and probably more so than a good number of Ms Chesney's books. I still consider it "clean" romance (as does my mother), but use your own discretion. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

~Book Review~ The Wicked Godmother

The Wicked Godmother (A House for the Season, Book 3)

My rating: 3.2 of 5 pearls

~Third installment in the House for the Season series~ 3.2 pearls 

Another delightful escape although this one isn't as amusing as the others in the series since the heroine is a bit of an airhead and some of her naïveté is annoying rather than funny. Still, if all you're looking for is a silly romance to kill an hour or two, this is a good one to read.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

~Book Review~ Plain Jane

Plain Jane (A House for the Season, Book 2)

My rating: 3.4 of 5 pearls

~Second installment in the House for the Season series~ 3.4 pearls 

The best thing about this series is the main characters. Even though each book is a romance, there is a different hero/heroine in each who fall in love and move on. The main characters, namely the servants at Number 67 Clarges Street in Regency Mayfair, are delightfully three-dimensional, probably because they are given 6 books in which to develop. 

(This is only the second book but I've read the whole series before, hence the reason I'm able to make the above statement.) 

As for this book in particular, there were moments of laughter, moments of grrr, and moments of give me a break with substantial eye-rolling. Even so, I love Ms Chesney's way of mocking all the ridiculous foibles of Regency England. Truly entertaining but again, definitely not for those who are overly picky about "correct" writing.* 

Watch for more of my Marion Chesney reviews in the coming days. Illness makes me crave silliness. lol

*I purchased this book and was not paid in any way for my review.

~Book Review~ The Miser of Mayfair

The Miser of Mayfair (A House for the Season, Book 1)

My rating: 3.3 of 5 pearls

~First installment in the House for a Season series~ 3.3 pearls

I always get a kick out of how dense the heroine acts in this story. It's entertaining, especially in relation to those around her who are trying to determine if she's really that dense or if she's really very clever. Overall, amusing with a few laugh-out-loud moments. Don't read this if you get uptight about the "correct" way to write. Ms Chesney POV switches within paragraphs.*

There will be more Marion Chesney reviews in the coming days. I've been sick and these books are entertaining without being too intense or emotionally draining. They're also short, around 150 pages each in a mass market paperback size. I've read several already and posted my reviews to Goodreads so I just need to post them again here.

*I purchased this book and my review reflects my personal views. No one paid me in any way for my review.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Caption Contest on Facebook

Some of you probably already know and have probably already entered my facebook caption contest. If so, thank you for being a "fan" (or "liker")! If you haven't heard, here's the news: 

On my facebook author page (formally known as a "fan" page), I am hosting a caption contest to celebrate reaching 200 "likes". Add your clever little line to the funny kitten photo for a chance at a prize. This is a contest open to everyone but the captions must be in English. A winner will be chosen and that winner gets to choose one of my 6 books, in paperback form, for their very own. It can't hurt to try, right? Head on over and check it out. The photo alone is worth the click over, believe me. :o) 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Random Book Giveaway (US only, sorry)

Click on over to my author blog to see how you can enter to win a box of nine randomly chosen books. Many are old school, traditional style romances. US residents only, please. The drawing will take place on Saturday, October 23. 

Happy reading!! :o)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

19 Winners of Sweet Romance

The winners of our sweet romance giveaway have been announced. 130 members entered and 19 won some great prizes. Did you enter? Then head on over to Goodreads to find out if you won. 


Monday, August 30, 2010

~Guest Post~ Author Linda Weaver Clarke: Romance VS Mystery!

Today's post is by historical romance author Linda Weaver Clarke. She is here to talk about her new mystery series, The Adventures of John and Julia Evans and to celebrate the release of her newest mystery, Mayan Intrigue. Take it away, Linda! 

Romance VS Mystery! 

I have written five historical romance novels but have changed to mystery. The writing process between romance and mystery is quite a change with a completely different mind set. It’s so different from telling a love story. With romance, you plan out the plot around the meeting of a couple. As you write, you develop some sort of charisma between the characters, making the reader feel excited that one day they're going to hit it off and fall in love. You, as the reader, know what the outcome will be. But with a mystery, the reader is in the dark. The author has to come up with a plot that no one knows about until towards the end of the story and hope they haven’t figured it out. In a mystery, you may or may not allow your reader to know who the bad guys are, according to whether it’s just a mystery or mystery suspense. Do you know the difference between a mystery and a mystery suspense novel? In a mystery, when a knock is heard at the door, the reader doesn't know who's behind it. With mystery suspense, the reader knows who's behind the door and yells to the heroine, "Don't open the door!"

Anasazi Intrigue is the first book in a mystery adventure series called “The Adventures of John and Julia Evans.” It’s about a devastating flood that takes out several homes in a small town, the importance of preserving ancient artifacts, and a few puzzling and mysterious events. Julia is a reporter, and when she finds out about a possible poison spill that kills some fish and neighbor's pets, she has a feeling that something isn’t quite right. Before she realizes what is happening, Julia finds out that this incident is much bigger and more dangerous than she thought. With dead fish, a devastating flood, and miscreants chasing John and Julia, they have their hands full.

Artifact theft is a very intriguing subject. That’s why I call it the Intrigue series. In my research, I found that archaeological thievery is becoming more and more of a problem every year. Did you know that looting is only second to selling illegal drugs? While researching the second book in this series, Mayan Intrigue, my eyes were opened to the problems they have in southern Mexico. When an ancient ruin is discovered, it doesn’t take long for thieves to take it apart. The reason why is because the Mayas used astrological alignments when planning their city. Looters have learned the layout of the Mayan cities so they know where to dig. With this knowledge, they can loot a sacred temple in a few days. I also found that artifact theft in Mexico has been taken over by drug dealers from Columbia. In other words, since organized crime has taken over, there is also an increase of violence.

Mayan Intrigue will be released on August 30th and I’m having a week long celebration with a book give-away at my Blog at Mayan Intrigue is about the discovery of a priceless artifact that puts Julia’s life in great danger. While on assignment for the newspaper, John and Julia try to enjoy a romantic vacation among the Mayan ruins, but when Julia accidentally comes upon a couple suspicious men exchanging an item, she quickly turns and leaves but it’s too late. Before John and Julia realize what's going on, they find themselves running for their lives through the jungles of the Yucatan. To read an excerpt from each of my books, you can visit

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

~Book Review~ "The Naked Duke" by Sally MacKenzie

The Naked Duke (Zebra Debut) The Naked Duke by Sally MacKenzie

My rating: 2.6 of 5 pearls

(Reviewed in January 2010) 

Synopsis: The heroine and hero are caught in a compromising position and must marry. Meanwhile, someone is trying to kill him and prevent their marriage. 

My two cents: The book started out rather silly, as other reviewers have pointed out. Then the villain made his memorable debut in a scene that turned my stomach. The hero and heroine were lovely characters and their interactions highly entertaining, but I was too distracted by the nasty, nasty villain to enjoy the romance.

I give this book 2.6 pearls because it was funny at times. I mean, laugh-out-loud, make-everyone-in-the-room-stare-at-you, funny. It was that funny. However, I can't, in good conscience, recommend it to anyone. The villain was way too evil for such a funny romance and the love scenes were quite graphic. While I enjoyed parts of this book, I won't read it again and I probably won't read the rest of the series.

This review is based on the paperback I purchased. I was in no way paid for this review.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

HUGE "Sweet" Romance Giveaway on Goodreads

Every hundred members or so, we hold a giveaway in our Clean Romances group on Goodreads. We've reached the 400 member mark and are celebrating by giving away books. Many group members generously offered prizes for this event, bringing the total number of prizes to 19.

So how do you enter?

First, you have to join Goodreads. It's fun and free. If you are already a member of goodreads, you're halfway there! Then, you have to join the Clean Romances group. Also free. There is a sign-up thread in the group under Contests & Giveaways. Throw your name in the hat and you're all set. Entries will be accepted until 11:59PM (PST), August 31. Winners will be announced September 1st.

Hope to see you there!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Free eBook Download & a Paperback Giveaway

A free eBook anthology of young adult fiction was released today and two of my short stories are in it.

Unlocked is ten tales by nine authors; the only thing that binds them is a "key."

Back cover blurb:

Treachery in old London, a crop circle mystery, and a cyborg punished for gazing at the night sky open this collection of new stories that will intrigue teens and adults alike.

Fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, and fanciful versions of school life--the motif they share is a key. Which key will unlock a mystery, free the trapped, comfort the rejected, or bring new resolve to a boy who has taken a wrong path? What treasures can we discover if we only find the right key?

Assassin's Keeper by Jaimey Grant
Crop Circles by Wendy Swore
Symbiote by Rita J. Webb
Where They Belong by Paige Ray
Survival by Jaimey Grant
Unlocking William by Jeanne Voelker
Shoshanna by K.G. Borland
The Key to a Good Education by Gwendolyn McIntyre
The Bookseller by Katrina Monroe
Her Father's Eyes by S.M. Carrière

To download, visit and click the "download" button.

To go along with that, Wendy Swore, one of the lovely authors/editors of the anthology, is giving away three paperback copies on her blog, Goddess of the Corn

Later, perhaps in September, I'll be hosting my own UNLOCKED giveaway. Besides a paperback copy of the book, I will be giving away a charm bracelet featuring a replica of the key the character, Sable, would have had in my Regency story Assassin's Keeper. I haven't worked out all the details of that giveaway yet but I'll keep you posted. :o)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Currently Reading...and Other Tales of Woe

Disclaimer: Pictures in this post relate to the books I'm enjoying, no woe entailed. Just FYI. :o) 

My "currently reading" list has gotten out of control. Several are nonfiction, research for whatever book I'm writing at the moment, and that's OK. A few are ones I started a long time ago and for one reason or another lost interest. Will I finish them? Yes. I always do. My reading is more effected by my moods than it should be. If I give up, it's only because I'm not in the mood for that particular novel, author, or genre. Some are ones I've recently started and for whatever reason, I'm not into them. Again, probably my mood.

So what am I reading that I'm enjoying?

Margaret's Rematch by Farida Mastek is entertaining and reminds me so much of Jane Austen that I find myself chuckling as I read. The characters are lively and interesting and the Regency picture Ms. Mastek paints is vivid. Am I attached to the characters? In a way, but not as much as I'd like to be. I do care what happens to them but at the same time, I'm not losing sleep over them.

At this point, about 110 pages in, I have one big complaint. The whole concept of this story is a gentleman who falls in love with and ultimately marries (I assume) his late wife's sister. My own Regency research has shown that this was not possible, as the sister-in-law was, by law, considered immediate family even after the wife's death. Now, these marriages were accepted by most but if someone wanted to cause problems for such a couple, they could easily do so. I've been able to suspend disbelief and enjoy the banter between the two MCs but I was hoping for at least a mention of this Regency "quirk" (for lack of a better word). If the topic is not addressed at some point, it's OK. This is still an enjoyable read and I look forward to how it all ends up.

I'm also reading Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I'm only 45 pages in so I'm not sure what I think of it. I loved the movie but it's not often a good idea to read the book after viewing the movie. Ms. Funke is good at painting a picture through the eyes of the preteen MC. I like the aunt and can relate to her in a rather frightening way. Other than that... *shrug*

So that's my reading woes for the moment. I've been trying to break into the YA genre (as a reader) but haven't found a book yet that grabs me and whisks me away. Disappointing, but I wonder if my mood is more to blame. Perhaps I'm just picking up the "wrong" YA book. I'm not sure.

What do you think? Which YA book would you recommend? (Preferably not paranormal...)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

~Year of the Historical~ May: Mr Malcolm's List

I know. It's July and this review is for my May read for the "Year of the Historical" challenge. Shameful, isn't it? You know what's worse? I didn't even finish a historical for June. 

Title: Mr. Malcolm's List 
Author: Suzanne Allain
Genre: Romance/Regency 
Setting: England, 1818 
Rating: 3.8 pearls 
Warnings: NONE 

Synopsis: Mr. Malcolm has a list of requirements for a wife. When one young lady takes offense, she inveigles her school friend, Selena, to play a trick on Malcolm, so he can know how it feels to be judged and found wanting.

My two cents: What an adorable story! I enjoyed the characters' interactions even though I didn't get really attached to them. It's a nice, fluffy story, a pleasant few hours to relax and unwind. The writing style is easy to read and reminiscent of the older, traditional Regencies. This is definitely a story I'd have no problem sharing with my mom or my daughter (when she's interested in romances, that is). Very sweet, G-rated, and fun.

*Review is based on the paperback I purchased from Amazon. The views expressed here are my honest opinions of this work. Making purchases through any Amazon link here will result in me earning a small commission. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Where Did the Month Go?

Wow. I can't believe it's been a month since I lasted posted here. How very lazy of me, to be sure. Well, I 'm here now, to catch you all up on what's been keeping me busy. :o) 

Many of you follow my author blog or know me from various social networking sites. You KNOW what I'm going to say. For those of you who only follow this blog, here's the "secret." My newest Regency romance, Deception, is slated for release from TreasureLine Publishing July 15. To celebrate, my publisher is hosting a contest on the TreasureLine blog, from which one reader will walk away with a hold-in-your-hands copy of Deception. (Look at that cover. Isn't it gorgeous?) 

I started a new blog a few weeks ago, just for Deception. I invite you to follow if you are so inclined. I post historical tidbits specific to the novel, news of events and giveaways, coupons, and anything else Deception related. 

Also coming soon to an e-book site near you is a young adult anthology called Unlocked. Ten stories by nine talented authors and the only thing that ties them together is a key. It is due for release in August as a free download. 

Two of my short stories (Assassin's Keeper and Survival) appear in this book. In fact, Assassin's Keeper opens the whole, leaving it up to me to capture the interest of the YA reader (or the young-at-heart reader). 

I cannot tell you how nervous I am about both of these releases. And so excited! Both books are listed on Goodreads, if you are interested in adding them to your wishlist. 

Happy reading, everyone!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Reminder : Summer Treasure Hunt

Hello, lovely readers!

Just a friendly reminder to check out my author blog for a fun summer contest. Eight prizes have been awarded so far but there are still many, many more to go. Be sure to check out June 24, especially. *wink, wink*

Summer Treasure Hunt : Dig for Clues and Win!
Days 1-7 Winners

Happy hunting!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

This Just In!! (Part 2)

It's always sooooo exciting to get new books in the mail. Today, the lovely UPS man left a largish package at my door and this is what I found in inside:

First, The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I ordered this for a group read in one of my Goodreads groups, Wild Things: YA Grown-Up. Of the two books selected for this month's read, I selected Dashner's Maze Runner because...well, let's be honest. I picked this one because a writer friend of mine got to meet Mr Dashner and pick his brain. I know that's a rather superficial reason but there it is. Oh, the blurb sounds interesting, too. ;o) 

From the flap: 

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is blank.

But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as they could remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, they’ve closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the maze after dark.

The Gladers were expecting Thomas’s arrival. But the next day, a girl springs up—the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might be able to find their way home . . . wherever that may be. But it’s looking more and more as if the maze is unsolvable.

And something about the girl’s arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers—if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.

The second book is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I have heard much praise of this YA novel but I am still slightly leery. Some have said it is rather violent, especially for a YA book. I will give this first in the series a shot, however.

From the flap:

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Third in the stack is probably only of interest to a few but it holds a world of fascination for me. The Intolerable Hulks by Charles Campbell is about shipboard confinement in Britain, 1776-1857. I have a Regency WIP (work-in-progress) that revolves around the hulks of the time.

From the back:

From the time of Queen Anne's reign until the American Revolution, Great Britain followed the practice of transporting as many as a thousand convicts each year to Maryland and Virginia. "Out of sight, out of mind" was an apt adage for this policy. It was a policy that worked well enough until 1776, when the rebellious North American colonies declared their independence and closed their ports to reception of British prison ships. A crisis for the British criminal justice system ensued, leading to a policy of converting old merchantman and, later, deactivated naval vessels, into floating prisons. Thus began the era of the Hulks, a "temporary expedient" that lasted for eighty years. Hardly less feared by the British criminal class than were the gallows, assignment to these deplorable dungeons at anchor became a dreaded purgatory, to be endured for months—sometimes even years—by prisoners destined for eventual transportation to Australia.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer Treasure Hunt Contest

Over on my author blog I posted about a Summer Treasure Hunt contest. Every day for 38 days, a prize will be given away. Many are autographed books (shocking, right?) but some aren't. I teamed up with my brother, the owner of JaysDesign Jewelry, and we are giving away a GREAT prize. Check out June 24 to see what we're giving away to one very fortunate entrant.

Details are in my original post, here. You may enter once for each prize offered, for a total of 38 possible chances to win. 

Hope you take the time to check it out. Happy reading, writing and blogging!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

~Year of the Historical~ March: Moonlight Mist

I finished this several weeks ago but have neglected to post my review. It didn't help that I neglected to finish the book within the month specified. My bad. I do apologize for this. 

Title: Moonlight Mist
Author: Laura London (Sharon and Thomas Curtis)
Genre: Romance
Setting: Regency England (early 1800s) 
Pub Date: 1979
Rating: (3.1 pearls)
Warnings: None

This was a solid 3-pearl, just OK read. The heroine was only 17 and rather annoyingly immature for most of the book. I liked the hero but the story didn't focus much on him. It was a little prosy but common for a book published in '79. I enjoyed it but it's not one I would reread. On the positive side, if you are looking for a non-religious romance that is clean, this one definitely qualifies.

What am I reading for May? 

My current historical read is Suzanne Allain's Mr. Malcolm's List. I'm over halfway and while this isn't a book that constantly has me thinking about it and anxious to get back to it, I definitely find it amusing when I am reading it. Look for my full review at the end of the month. (Or early next month, LOL.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

~Year of the Historical~ April: Mistress of Rome

Title: Mistress of Rome
Author: Kate Quinn
Setting: Rome, 1st century
Rating: 4.3 pearls
Warnings: Graphic violence and abuse, numerous sexual situations; not recommended for readers under 18 (edited to add: at least three f-bombs present)

OK, so I cheated a little. I didn't finish my book for March because I received Kate Quinn's Mistress of Rome and read the first few pages. Then I couldn't stop. I decided it could be my historical read for April. March's post will come later. (I never did like to do things in order...)

Synopsis: Mistress of Rome chronicles the life of Thea, a Jewish slave girl in the 1st century, starting with her life as a young slave to the spiteful Lady Lepida, and ending with her interactions as mistress to Rome's Emperor Domitian.

What I liked: The attention to detail. Sure, the battle scenes were rather graphic but I appreciated Ms Quinn's desire to stay as true to the brutality of the time as possible. There was a lot of sex but it was, thankfully, glossed over for the most part. I appreciated the author's note explaining which parts of the story were fictionalized in order to expand her fictional telling of real events.

What I didn't like: The POV flip-flops. It wasn't even the fact that the story was written in 3rd and 1st. I had no problem with that and I think I was better able to relate to Thea's character by reading her in 1st person. My problem was with Lepida's POV being 1st person, too. The first few times in her POV I was confused and had to go back and remind myself that I wasn't reading Thea in that moment, I was reading Lepida. These 1st person sections are clearly marked with the character's name but I had a little trouble getting used to the switches. (I admit, part of me also did not want to read the vicious Lepida's character as if she was me.)

Who would like this: I don't think it qualifies as a "romance" and I don't believe it really qualifies as "clean." However, readers who, like me, enjoy an occasional tale that doesn't turn history into an unbelievable fantasy, would like this book.

Overall: I loved this book. I was crying by page 9 and cried off and on 'til the end. I'll probably reread it and I eagerly look forward to Ms Quinn's future works. Bottom line, I don't regret paying for this book.

*Disclaimer: I have not been paid in any way, shape or form for this review. I purchased this book and this review is my honest opinion of this work.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

This Just In!!

I received three new books in the mail today. The best part about these books is the fact that each of these authors is a goodreads author. I'm excited to support my fellow goodreads authors!

1. Mr Malcolm's List by Suzanne Allain. I have enjoyed the quirkiness of the author in her blog and on goodreads so I'm sure to enjoy her take on the Regency era. With influences like Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, how can I not?

The blurb (as taken from goodreads):

The Honorable Mr. Malcolm has a secret. This elusive matrimonial prize, long the target of desperate debutantes and their matchmaking mothers, is well known for his fastidiousness. What is not well known is that he has a list of qualifications for his future bride.

Can any woman hope to win the heart of such a hardened critic? Selina Dalton can only try her best. And when she begins to succeed, Jeremy Malcolm is not sure whether he has discovered the perfect woman...

Or the perfect hoax.

2. The Importance of Almack's by Denise Patrick. I've wanted to read this ever since I read a particular review on Amazon. The reviewer was upset that this story lacks graphic love scenes. I immediately added it to my wishlist. It's so hard to find clean romance from current authors!

The blurb (as taken from goodreads):

Banished and disowned for saving a stranger's life...

In Regency England, lineage and vouchers to Almack's are everything, but Pamela Clarkdale has neither. After her father casts her out, she considers herself fortunate to have obtained a position as a companion to an elderly widow.

Kitt Covington has sworn off Almack's and marriage. Why attend one when he has no interest in the other? Guilt, however, is a powerful motivator. Knowing he caused Pamela to be thrown out of her home, he proposes a sham betrothal between them to ease his conscience.

Kitt's offer is tempting and Pamela agrees, with the caveat that the betrothal will disappear at the end of the season. But not only is Pamela refused vouchers to Almack's, her family is scheming to destroy her to protect a secret she doesn't realize she knows. When the twenty-year-old web of lies and deceit begins to unravel, will Pamela and Kitt discover that Almack's isn't really that important after all?

3. Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn. This book promises excitement, adventure, passion, and intrigue in ancient Rome. I am also warned that it can be quite graphic in these areas. Still, I'm looking forward to the read.

This book's official release date was April 6. Amazon shipped me a copy on the 5th and it arrived today, the 7th. How's that for competence? Yeah, Amazon and the USPS!!

The blurb (as taken from goodreads):

First century Rome: a world of depravity, blood, and secrets. The enigmatic Emperor Domitian watches over all, fearing murder from every side . . . except from the woman who fascinates him most.

Thea is a slave girl from Judaea; musical, wary, and passionate. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea and her mistress will become rivals for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome’s newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life – quickly ended when a jealous Lepida tears them apart.

As Lepida goes on to wreak havoc in the life of a new husband and his family, Thea remakes herself as a polished singer for Rome’s aristocrats. Unwittingly, she attracts another admirer in the charismatic Emperor of Rome. But Domitian’s games have a darker side, and Thea finds herself fighting for both soul and sanity. Many have tried to destroy the Emperor: a vengeful gladiator, an upright senator, a tormented soldier, a streetwise child, a Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of the brilliant and ruthless Domitian lies in the hands of one woman: a slave girl who has come to be called the Mistress of Rome . . .

Based on the life and death of one of Rome’s most depraved Emperors.

Friday, March 26, 2010

~Year of the Historical~ February: Crocodile on the Sandbank

First, I know this review is late. I had so much going on in February that I failed to finish the book, let alone review it. This was the planned review for that month, however, so I'm marking this one as February's Year of the Historical review. Thank you for understanding. :o)

Title: Crocodile on the Sandbank
Author: Elizabeth Peters
Setting: Egypt, late 1800s
Genre: Mystery
Rating: 4.8 pearls
Warnings: None.

Synopsis: Miss Amelia Peabody inherits a sizable fortune upon her father's death. Deciding to travel, she goes to Egypt where she falls in love with archeology and decides to stay. Unfortunately, someone seems intent on harming her, or at the very least, frightening her away.

My two cents: I mentioned in an earlier post that I loved this book when I was only a little over halfway through it. That opinion didn't change. At all. I LOVED this book! The main character, from whose 1st person POV we get the entire story, was so fun and interesting. Very much a spinster at 32, Miss Peabody is a no-nonsense type of woman with no high opinion of her looks and no illusions as to what draws men to her after her father's death. Early in her travels, she rescues Evelyn, a young woman who had been taken in by a charlatan and abandoned. Evelyn's character is opposite Peabody's and I think the two personalities play rather well off each other. It was a believable relationship.

Of course, there is a tiny element of romance present. The ladies meet two archeologists with whom they form a rapport...of sorts. I would have liked to see a little more romance but this book is not categorized as such. It was a very minor part of the storyline. Still, it was a wonderful mystery with enough misdirection to keep the reader second-guessing as to the villain's identity.

Overall, 4.8 pearls. I would recommend this to everyone, mystery readers, romance readers and especially those on the lookout for clean reads.

Title: Crocodile on the Sandbank
Author: Elizabeth Peters
Publisher: Fawcett
Orig. Pub Date: March 1976
Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Historical
(The following is for the current printing.)
ISBN: 0445406518
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 272 pages
List price: $7.99US

Rating: 4.8 pearls
Warnings: None.

What am I reading for March?

Another oldie, that's for sure. Moonlight Mist by Laura London, an out-of-print traditional Regency from 1979, coincidentally the year I was born. The pic here is a scan of the book I hold in my hands. It has a list price of $1.50, ISBN 0440154644.

I am halfway through this vintage tome and it is definitely what was popular/common in its time. The heroine is very young (17), the hero is a LOT older (over 30), and it is a little unclear as to why either one falls in love with the other. She is a bit of a headstrong brat and he is unfailingly patient. He'd make a very good father, I think. *cheeky grin*

They are married in the beginning, having been caught in a compromising position. I actually thought that particular scene was entertainingly done. But this is as far as my "currently reading" review can really go. The writing is typical of the decade, I believe. The prose can be rather purple at times and the vast age difference is something I seem to run into often in these older publishings. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I'm enjoying the story.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

~Book Review~ Bloodworth's Bride by Gayle Eden

Title: Bloodworth's Bride
Author: Gayle Eden
Website: Eve's Romance
Publisher: Air Castle Books; January 14, 2009
Genre: Fiction/Romance/Historical/Regency
Format: Kindle Book; 13,536 words
List price: $1.99US
Rating: 3.6 pearls
Warnings: This book contains graphic sexual details.

Synopsis: A young woman who married at 18 must reconcile with her estranged husband after a five-year separation.

What made me buy this book: I read the sample that Amazon provides. I really enjoyed the interaction between the sisters as well as the description of the hero.

My two cents: This is a short story, just over 13k words. I liked it but it was definitely more sexually explicit than I personally care for. However, it was an entertaining read, with characters who were likable, believable, and well-drawn. The storyline was interesting, that of a married couple who reconcile after five years of separation. I think it's a storyline that's been done before but I've never read a story where the goal of both main characters was to make the best of their situation.

The only real complaint I have, other than the explicitness, is the typos present in the Amazon Kindle version of this story. Normally, I can overlook typos with no problem, but this story is very short and I think some of the typos should have been noticed. For example, in one scene, the author uses the word emaciated when she clearly meant to use the word emanated. There was one other time I noticed such a mistake but it wasn't as bad; only one letter was off. Other than that, there were a few issues with punctuation. Unfortunately, it was enough to pull me out of the story.

Overall, I still think this one may be worth a reread at some point. The characters were that likable, in my opinion.

*This review is based on the Amazon Kindle version. I was not paid in any way, shape, or form for this review and it is my honest opinion of this work. I purchased this ebook from the Amazon Kindle Store for $1.99.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Year of the Historical Reading Challenge Update

February was busier than I expected. I finished the fantasy novel I started writing in November '09 and started firing it off for critiques just recently. Halfway through the month, both of my kids came down with icky colds that they inevitably passed on to my husband and me. Then, last week, my father-in-law died unexpectedly and there were many days spent with family and friends mourning the loss. Now, I find that I failed to finish the book I planned for the month of February.

So this post is a "What I'm Reading Now" type of post. I am currently reading Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters. It is a highly amusing tale (told 1st person) of an independent (and independently wealthy) Englishwoman (Victorian) who travels to Egypt for fun and falls in love with archeology. She tells the story with a humorous flair that was unexpected considering this book is of the gothic romance/mystery sort. I understand already, a little over halfway through, why this author is one of my sister-in-law's all-time favorites.

Without even having finished this novel, I already highly recommend it to mystery, gothic, historical, and romance lovers. It is nearly 300 pages of good, clean fun with some romance and mystery thrown in for good measure.

So what are you reading now?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

~Year of the Historical~ January: "Four In Hand" by Stephanie Laurens

Setting: Regency England (early 1800s)
Genre: Romance

Synopsis: A rakish duke acquires not one but four beautiful wards, the eldest of whom he decides to seduce.

My two cents: I'm given to understand that this is a re-release of one of Ms Laurens's older Regencies. I also read numerous reviews of this book before deciding to purchase it. Some readers were dissatisfied with the lack of graphic sex in the story. I am the opposite. I was able to enjoy the story because the love scenes were far less graphic than is the norm in historical romance novels. (Some really finicky readers might have a problem with this book being called a "clean" romance, however, because there was premarital sex and a few sexual situations, but I would still categorize it as such.)

I tend to like my Regencies to have a little more substance than this one can boast but it was still an entertaining read. The characters were amusing; I smiled through the whole book. However, I think the focus being so much on four couples rather than one made it hard to really connect with any of them.

Title: Four in Hand
Author: Stephanie Laurens
Publisher: HQN
Genre: Fiction/Romance/Historical
ISBN: 0373773099
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
List price: $7.99US
Rating: 4 pearls
Warnings: None, really, but as I mentioned before, some may still have issues with the sexual situations.

Friday, January 29, 2010

~Book Review~ "The Sister Pact" by Cami Checketts

Synopsis: Two sisters, one is injured and in a coma from which it doesn't seem she'll wake and the other is suspected of being the one to have hurt her. While Allie sleeps, Savvy must try to determine who attacked her. Helping Savvy is Noah, the detective who suspects she is the culprit.

My two cents: This book had its funny moments, its scary moments and its "awwwww!" moments. I enjoyed each of the characters, most of whom had at least one scene told from their POV. I do like books where I get to see what all the main characters are thinking, instead of just the hero/heroine, as is the case with most romances.

I admit, I was first drawn to this book when I read a scene from the POV of the antagonist. But I felt it might have added to the suspense if I hadn't known from page 1 (literally) who the villain was. While the suspense was definitely there, it was the frustrated, "I-can't-believe-he's-standing-right-next-to-you-and-you-don't-know-it's-him!" kind rather than the edge-of-your-seat, "I-wonder-what's-going-to-happen-next" kind. (My apologies for my overuse of hyphens.)

Overall, it was a pretty good read. I would recommend this to anyone who likes a clean contemporary romance with a touch of suspense.

Title: The Sister Pact
Author: Cami Checketts
Blog: Cami's Books
Publisher: Bonneville Books
Genre: Fiction/Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 1599552671
Format: Paperback, 240 pages
List price: $15.99US (on sale at Amazon now for $12.47)
Rating: 3.8 pearls
Warnings: NONE

*This review is based on the paperback received for free from the publisher at the author's request. My apologies to Ms Checketts and her publisher for my delay in posting this review.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Year of the Historical : Reading Challenge for 2010

I wish I had been informed of this earlier! What a fun challenge for me! I am still going to give it a shot even though January is almost over. This is great since I've been focusing a lot on nonfiction lately rather than the historical romance that I love so much.

Here are the rules as I understand them:
  1. Sign up for the challenge at the original blog post (not mine).
  2. Read one book per month. A grand total of 12 in the year.
  3. Anything historical applies but it must be historical: young adult, romance, fiction, thrillers, mysteries, etc. Make sure it is set prior to the present day. (I like Regencies, LOL.)
  4. They can be re-reads, new reads, or new-to-you-but-old reads.
  5. Post a review at the end of the month for the book you read that meets the criteria for this challenge. Make sure the review is marked in some way to signify that it is for this challenge. For example, I will label mine ~Year of the Historical~ {month & book title}.
  6. No nonfiction, biographies or reference books. This is a straight-up fiction challenge.
I think that covers everything. I am currently reading a Stephanie Laurens Regency and I can probably get it done before February but the review might be a bit late.

Happy reading, writing and blogging!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

~Book Review~ "The Crown of Anavrea" by Rachel Rossano

Synopsis: A slave woman helps an outlaw escape capture and travels with him to the only place he knows he'll be safe. He gives her her freedom in exchange for her assistance.

My two cents: I loved this story! It was short at only 109 e-book pages (80 paperback) and every time I was forced to walk away from it, all I wanted to do was come back and finish it. I found the hero and heroine easy to like. Neither one was by any means perfect; they were both realistic and believable. The tale is fast-paced yet takes place over the course of many weeks. Any love scenes are completely vague, making this a suitable read for young adults.

Despite the novella length of this tale, the characters are well developed. I would have liked to have had more story, more detail in regard to their struggle, both internal and external. I wanted to spend more time with them.

*Review based on e-book provided free by the author.

Title: The Crown of Anavrea
Author: Rachel Rossano
Publisher: PublishAmerica
Genre: Fiction/Romance/Fantasy
Format: Paperback, 79 pages
List price: $16.95US
Format reviewed: e-book, 109 pages (not currently avl for purchase)
Rating: 4.3 pearls
Warnings: NONE


Blog Widget by LinkWithin