Sunday, October 28, 2007

All quiet on the Kleypas front?

I was beginning to think that we were in a permanent ceasefire in the blog rumble that has been going on in romance land! Turns out that I just didn't know that Lisabea had taken matters into her own hands and created a poll for the best Kleypas hero on her blog! There isn't long left to vote, so you need to go over and show your love for Sebastian...err...or the other heroes on her poll soon!

One question though....where's Jack?

If his name was in the list it wouldn't exactly change my vote, but I would at least have to think about it a bit more!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Colleen Gleason contest

Kailana from The Written World is running a fun competition featuring Colleen Gleason.

The details are below.


Running Dates: October 25th-November 15th, 2007

The Name of the Game is Fan Fiction, Art, or Photography

The Details: The object is to write fan fiction, draw a picture, or take a photograph relating to Colleen's two in print novels and her forth-coming one.

The idea is to rewrite a scene that you did not like, add a scene that you wish had been there, or write a scene that you wish will be included in The Bleeding Dusk. And, those are just three ideas, as long as you keep the three novels in mind, you can come up with your own ideas. If you are not up to writing, you can also do something photography or drawing related. The only thing I will be strict about is effort. I am not expecting perfection, and I won't give you word limits or anything like that, but I just want the work to clearly show that you have taken a bit of time for the activity. Any questions, just ask in the comments.

The Prize: A $25 dollar gift certificate to Amazon and a signed copy of The Bleeding Dusk. It will not be an Advanced Reading Copy, it will be an early copy in about January. Keep that in mind.

I hope that people join in! I plan to post all the submissions on my blog, not just the winner. Please don't post your entry in the comments, email it to me at twisted_kingdom_blog AT hotmail DOT com. The most important thing is to have fun and be creative!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Read with Abandon?

This week's Booking Through Thursday question:

Today's suggestion is from Cereal Box Reader
I would enjoy reading a meme about people’s abandoned books. The books that you start but don’t finish say as much about you as the ones you actually read, sometimes because of the books themselves or because of the circumstances that prevent you from finishing. So . . . what books have you abandoned and why?

Well now...this would seem to be a timely question seeing as I have literally just posted about a book that I have given up on this week! As I said in that post, it is very, very rare for me to put a book down with no intention of picking it up again. The only other two books that I can think of where this happened over the last couple of years are The Well by Elizabeth Jolley and Music and Silence by Rose Tremain. Whilst I don't envisage ever picking up The Well again, every now and again I think that maybe the time just wasn't right for Music and Silence and maybe I should give it another go one day because it seems to have the right kind of setting and storyline that I should really love!

Now, if you want to talk about the books that I have started and put down with the intention of picking up again but having not done so yet, that is a whole other question. A couple of examples of those books are Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, Earthly Joys by Philippa Gregory...and lots of others!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Carpentaria by Alexis Wright

Carpentaria is Alexis Wright's second novel, an epic set in the Gulf Country of north-western Queensland.

The novel's portrait of life in the precariously settled coastal town of Desperance, centres on the powerful Phantom family, leader of the Westend Pricklebush people, and its battles with old Joseph Midnight's renegade Eastend mob on the one hand and the white officials of Uptown, and on the neighbouring Gurfurrit mine on the other.

Wright's storytelling is operatic and surreal: a blend of myth and scripture, politics and farce. The novel teems with extraordinary characters - the outcast saviour Elias Smith, the religious zealot Mozzie Fishman, the murderous mayor Bruiser, the moth-ridden Captain Nicoli Finn, the activist Will Phantom, and above all, the rulers of the family, the queen of the rubbish dump and the fish embalming king of time, Angel Day and Normal Phantom - figures of such an intense imagining, they stand like giants in this storm-swept world.

I am torturing myself!

I have pretty much decided that I am going to stop reading this book that I am struggling with. I have been reading it for what feels like an eternity, but in reality is only 5 days. Normally I can read a 500 page book in 3 days - with this one I am only 200 pages in.

What I am struggling with is that I should just return the book, but I can't help but think that I should reborrow it and try again later? I can only think of 3 books that I have put down in the last couple of years with no intention of ever finishing....and each one was a dilemma for me!

It is an added dilemma that this was the winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award which is one of the most illustrious literature award in Australia, so I should like it....right?

So for now, this is a DNF. There's no guarantee that I won't try again at another time.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood

In jazz 1920s Melbourne, the Green Mill is the hottest dance hall in town. But the glamourous Miss Phyrne Fisher finds there are hidden perils in dancing the night away. Like murder, blackmail, young me who vanish. And an overbearing mother whose motives for wanting her sons found looks decidedly suspicious.

Phyrne Fisher's fifth adventure leads to smoke-fill clubs, a dashingly handsome band leader, and some fancy flying indeed across the Australian Alps.

This is the fifth book in the Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood, and follows on from Death at Victoria Dock. Having read this many books in the series, there are a number of things that are a given. Phryne lives a very decadent lifestyle in many ways. There will be handsome young men, there will be some shocking (for the day) behaviour and she will of course find her man!

There were however some differences in this case. The story opens with Phryne dancing the night away at the Green Mill dance hall, at the end of a dance off. Things turn deadly however when one of the remaining dancers is murdered right in the middle of the dance floor it is a bit puzzling as to how it can possibly have been done. There were many witnesses, and no one saw anything. More puzzling is why Phryne's companion for the evening has done a runner!

Whilst solving the murder whilst undertaking a flirtation with one of the band members is on Phryne's agenda, it really is the search for her companion, Charles Freeman that is Phryne's paid assignment. What she find is that the seemingly upright family is full of secrets, and eventually leads her to search for Charles' brother Vic, who has chosen to live high in the Australian Alps as a virtual hermit.

What having Vic living in this location did allow is for Phryne to take her plane and fly up into the Alps, something that I found quite fascinating. The idea that to fly somewhere that takes five or six hours to drive to would have taken two refuels, whilst not surprising I guess, was quite eye opening because we take for granted that you can fly to Sydney in an hour from Melbourne!

This wasn't the strongest of the mysteries so far, but the book was still entertaining enough read. Onto the next one in the series!

Rating 4/5

The Bride Finder by Susan Carroll

Anatole lives on the steep crags of Cornwall, trapped in isolation by his legacy and powers. Surrounded by only a handful of servants and his dogs, he has never ventured far from the thick stone walls of his castle. Now, as part of timeless tradition, Anatole must turn to his former tutor and distant cousin, Septimus Fitzleger, also known as the Bride Finder, a man blessed with the power to find the one woman who is Anatole's destiny.

Madeline Breton is that chosen bride and has come to Cornwall to meet her new husband. I know you are all Anatole St. Leger could ever want, Septimus had told her. And sensible Madeline had begun to dream. But, now that she has reached her strange destination, the dream is diffusing quickly in the shadow of the dark and ominous Castle Leger. Her husband is hardly the gentleman she had envisioned. He looks more like a fierce Celtic warrior, one whose wild, ebony hair and brusque manner hint of stranger, mysterious gifts. What unknown forces are at work at Castle Leger? Why do the servants and the villagers both respect and fear her husband? Anatole knows only too well the legacies that to him have been more curse than gift. But as Madeline embarks on an odyssey both otherworldly and undeniably real, she and her husband fall hopelessly in love - until she also sees the haunting vision of murder in the crystal of the St. Leger sword and vows never to let this dire portent come to pass. Then, into this hypnotic world, a sudden, terrifying enemy emerges to threaten both their lives.

Once every so often a novel comes along that takes your breath away. From its mesmerizing first page to its unforgettable last, Susan Carroll spins a sweeping, spellbinding tale of magic, romance and legend - a beautifully written, utterly gripping epic that illuminates the undying power of love.

Ever since I read the Faire Isle trilogy by this author, I have been intending to read her backlist. So when it was my turn to choose author of the month in the Historical Romance Chat Yahoo group, I chose Susan Carroll, and decided to read the first book in the St Leger trilogy. The main reason for choosing this book was that The Huntress wasn't quite out yet (which I still haven't managed to read) and I wanted to get to her other books in due course anyway.

Straight off the bat, I want to say that I loved this setting - 1800's in a haunted castle in Cornwall - can it be anymore gothic? Add to the setting the fact that the hero is afflicted with a terrible curse, and I am totally there!

When Anatole sends his cousin and bride finder to London to find him a wife he gives him a very strict list of requirements. It's no wonder he didn't recognise his intended because Madeline Breton is pretty much everything he doesn't want in a bride! His dreams have foretold what is to happen and he now can't stop those events from coming to fruition, and it could mean the end of the line for his family!

With a cast of kooky and a little bit spooky characters, lots of paranormal activity (not werewolves and vampires - more ghosts and strange events) and a bit of suspense this was a cracking read.

Of the books that I have read by Susan Carroll so far, I am yet to read a dud. I will definitely be reading more of this trilogy.

Rating: 4.5/5

Othere Blogger's Thoughts:

The Eclectic Reader

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The down side of library books

There is a down side to not buying books.

As a result of the blog war that I mentioned in my last post, I was thinking it would be really nice to skim through both books and just read some of my favourite passages. Only problem is that I borrowed both of those books from the library so I don't have them!

Darn it!

Duck and cover!

It's a blog war!

KristieJ's passion for Derek Craven from Dreaming of You is well known throughout blogland, but chances are that she's met her equal in Sybil who just lurves Sebastian St Vincent from Devil in Winter.

Now the battle lines have been drawn and you have to pick a side!

So....Derek or Sebastian?

I will keep it simple.....Sebastian all the way!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


This week's Booking Through Thursday question:

You may or may not have seen my post at Punctuality Rules Tuesday, about a book I recently bought that had the actual TITLE misspelled on the spine of the book. A glaring typographical error that really (really!) should have been caught. So, using that as a springboard, today’s question: What’s the worst typographical error you’ve ever found in (or on) a book?

I do notice spelling mistakes in books, but not enough to be able to remember so that I can answer this question.

Instead, I thought I would mention one name that I think is spelt incorrectly every time I see it and that is the name of the main character in Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series. On her website, it is very clearly stated that the name is pronounced Fry-knee (as in to rhyme with Briny) but every time I see it I want to pronounce it Fern, which I would think would be spelled Phyrne! One of these days the correct name will stick in my head.

I know...not exactly the intention of the question, but at least I managed to post on time this time. Last week's answer is still sitting in draft!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Booker Prize 2007 Winner

So the winner of the 2007 Man Booker prize was The Gathering by Anne Enright.

This book doesn't seem to be available here at all. Wonder how quickly it will get published here now that it has been declared the winner!

I will have to keep a look out next time I am in the bookstore!

An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer

This review cross posted at Historical Tapestry

IN THE SUMMER OF 1815, with Napolean Bonaparte marching down from the north, Brussels is a whirlwind of parties, balls and soirees. In the swirling social scene surrounding the Duke of Wellington and his noble aides de camp, no one attracts more attention than the beautiful, outrageous young widow Lady Barbara Childe. On their first meeting, dashing Colonel Charles Audley proposes to her, but even their betrothal doesn't calm her wild behavior. Finally, with the Battle of Waterloo raging just miles away, civilians fleeing and the wounded pouring back into the town, Lady Barbara discovers where her heart really lies, and like a true noblewoman, she rises to the occasion, and to the demands of love, life and war...

Just under a year ago I went to the local romance bookstore, and was talking to the girl who worked about authors she recommended. After going through a few different options, she asked me whether I had ever read Georgette Heyer? My response was no, but that I wasn't overly keen to try. After she gushed for about 10 minutes about how fabulous Heyer was, I ended up walking out of the store having bought Venetia. I still haven't read it.

It wasn't so much that I wasn't interested in reading Heyer's books really. It was more that there were so many that I wasn't really sure where to start, and there were so many other books that I KNEW that I wanted to read. Then I was offered An Infamous Army and I figured that it would be just the encouragement I needed to try this author, and then one way or the other I would know whether I wanted to read more or not!

Whatever it was that I was expecting when I started reading this book, it's not what I got! I will confess that I was expecting lots of bodice heaving, and purple prose, but instead what I got was a lovely romance which was set against the much larger portrayal of the Battle of Waterloo. The detail in the book about the movement of troops and the actual battles was impressive, but yet not so overdone that it became monotonous and boring. The colour and pageantry of the various parts of the army that was massing to face Napoleon was impressively depicted and the almost crazed atmosphere of the English in Brussels who seemed to be partying like there was no tomorrow was very finely tuned. The fact that there literally was no tomorrow for many of them only adds to the poignancy of the novel.

The action of the story moved from the ballroom, to the salon, to reviewing the troops and trips on picnics to the countryside adeptly, and yet with all the details about the looming battle and the actual battle, Heyer didn't forget to develop the blooming relationship between our hero and heroine.

I have to confess that at the very beginning of the book I was somewhat concerned at where the journey was going to lead. When Colonel Charles Audley, who works on the staff of the Duke of Wellington, enters into a crowded ballroom and sees the beautiful but somewhat notorious Lady Barbara Childe he instantly falls in love and before too long she is in love with him. Almost immediately, Charles proposes to Babs and she accepts, much to the shock of much of Brussels, including his sister, and to the delight of the gossip mongers, for whom Babs has long been a favourite talking point. Love at first sight....not really my cup of tea.

Babs give Charles a bit of a run around, but her true strength comes to the fore when it is needed as the battle rages. And in the end, it turns out that she is not the only one in her family who might have shocking secrets.

And yet, despite that initial reservation, gradually I found myself fascinated by all the characters, including our lovers. Many of the characters are actual historical figures who were involved in the Battle of Waterloo, and I found myself searching the web looking for websites related to the battle to try and figure out things like exactly how far out of Brussels is Waterloo. I think that if a historical novel that you are reading prompts you to go and find out more information about the events you are reading about, then it's a pretty good sign.

With lively characters, plenty of historical details and a good love story, this is one Heyer that I am definitely glad that I found time to read, and I will be reading more!

Rating 4/5

Thanks to Sourcebooks for the review copy of this book!

Other blogger's thoughts:

Chris @ Book-a-rama

Monday, October 15, 2007

Long Day!

It's been a long one today!

I left work half an hour earlier than I usually do so that I could get my son to basketball training on time, but the trains were bad that I ended up getting to where I pick him up from 10 minutes later than normal! So frustrating, even though it did mean that I got a bit more read of my book!

In other news, I have posted a review of The Observations by Jane Harris over at Historical Tapestry

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Further Under the Duvet by Marian Keyes

Slide further under the duvet, get yourself comfortable and let Marian take you places where you have never been before...

Places like the Irish air-guitar championships, a shopping trip to Bloomingdale's with a difference and Cannes with a chronic case of Villa-itis. Along the way you'll encounter knicker-politics, fake tans, sticky-out ears and passionate love affairs both with make-up and with Toblerones. And of course, agony aunt Mammy Walsh is on hand to solve all your problems.

Hilarious and poignant, Marian's long awaited second volume of journalism and previously unpublished writing, including several short stories, is the modern woman's perfect companion. So put the kettle on and grab that Kit Kat Chunky - everything else will wait.

One thing that you can almost be guaranteed when you read Marian Keyes is that you will be entertained. Whether she is talking about charity trips to remote locations, her love affair with make up, or her husband (affectionately known to the reader as Himself) or fighting her battle against alcholism, Keyes delivers laughs but without sacrificing depth.

Many of the articles in the book were actually originally published in various newspapers and magazines, but there were also some original articles, and some original short stories. The short stories are patchy in places but still readable.

The only bad thing with having now read this collection is that I have read almost everything I can find by this author. I think that my library has one of the anthologies that she contributed to, but that's it! The only other book is No Dress Rehearsal, which doesn't seem to be easy to track down, and doesn't seem to be a full size book either!

Now I guess I will just have to wait patiently for her next book!

Rating 4/5

Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong

Paige Winterbourne is a witch. Not that you'd notice - no warts, no green skin, no cute little wiggle of the nose whenever she casts a spell. No, most of the time she's just a normal 23-year- old girl; works too hard, worries about her weight, wonders if she'll ever find a boyfriend. Okay, so she does have an adopted teenage daughter, Savannah, who wants to raise her black witch of a mother from the dead. And who is being stalked by a telekinetic half-demon and an all-powerful cabal of sorcerers. But other than that, Paige has a really ordinary life. That is, until the neighbours find out who she is, and all hell breaks loose. Literally...

Whoops! Made a mistake! Normally I am pretty careful to ensure that I write a review for an earlier book in a series, before I read the next book, even if that means bumping the earlier book up the review queue, because that way I can be sure that no details from one book slip into my memory of the next book! For some reason though, I didn't realise that I hadn't written this up before I read Industrial Magic. We'll have to see how it goes!

Paige Winterbourne had previously appeared as a secondary character in a couple of the earlier books in this series, but in this book she comes to the fore! Paige is a young witch, who on the death of her mother, has become the coven leader. In addition to this responsibility, she is also bringing up Savannah, a teenage witch. The other witches aren't keen on Savannah because her mother was a black witch, and they are sure that Savannah has some of the same skills. Paige would love to get her teeth into some of the stronger spells that are no longer available to witches, but she knows that the coven will be very unhappy if they found that out!

When Paige is framed for devil worship, a young lawyer by the name of Lucas Cortez enters the picture. Actually, to call Lucas just a lawyer is probably a bit of an understatement. He is also a sorcerer and estranged son of one of the most powerful cabal bosses in the paranormal world. Now, in case you aren't up with your paranormal rules, witches and sorcerers are enemies, and so Paige is determined that Lucas isn't going be become her lawyer, but he has other ideas, and before long the three of them (Paige, Lucas and Savannah) have become a team.

This does cause more issues with the coven and, before long, Paige not only finds herself accused of demon worship, but the coven are not prepared to back her up in any way either. In fact, it seems that they are determined to get her out of town sooner rather than later. Somehow, though, there are others who are part of this whole strange series of events, and they are looking for Savannah. Paige and Lucas must fight to protect Savannah...any way they can.

I did really enjoy this book - the action was fast paced, and there was very definitely a romantic element between Paige and Lucas. I didn't feel the chemistry at first, but by the time I finished this book and then I read Industrial Magic I couldn't imagine the two of them not being together! This series is one that I am determined to keep reading!

Rating 4/5


Finally, today the Prime Minister has announced that the Federal election will be held on November 24. I would say let the games begin, but the games began months ago! We have been having a pretend Federal campaign for months, with promises being made, and general politicking, grandstanding etc.

Friday, October 12, 2007

My Best Friend's Girl by Dorothy Koomson

Kamryn Matika has no responsibilities - one birthday card will change that for ever.... Best friends Kamryn Matika and Adele Brannon thought nothing could come between them - until Adele did the unthinkable and slept with Kamryn's fiance, Nate. Worse still, she got pregnant and had his child. When Kamryn discovered the truth about their betrayal she vowed never to see any of them again. Two years later, Kamryn receives a letter from Adele asking her to visit her in hospital. Adele is dying and begs Kamryn to adopt her daughter, Tegan. With a great job and a hectic social life, the last thing Kamryn needs is a five-year-old to disrupt things. Especially not one who reminds her of Nate. But with no one else to take care of Tegan and Adele fading fast, does she have any other choice? So begins a difficult journey that leads Kamryn towards forgiveness, love, responsibility and, ultimately, a better understanding of herself.

I first heard about this book over at Karen Scott's blog. The review that she wrote was one of those that made me go...I have to read this book now! Yes, it took me 3 months to do so (and a bit longer to get to write this review), but it was definitely worth getting this book out of the library.

The only problem I had was that I started reading it on the train on the way home from work one day, and given that I started crying on the second page that was probably a mistake! I went back to read Karen's review when I got home to see if there was sufficient warning that this was going to be one of those books that made me cry...and there really was! Once I kept reading, in the privacy of my own home, I cried and laughed throughout this book and thoroughly enjoyed my read!

Please don't think that this is a morose or depressing book because it really isn't! The story IS emotional, but there are sufficient moments of joy and humour (and love) to be able to balance out those emotional moments, without trying to undermine the backbone of the novel or resorting to cliches.

In closing, I would really encourage you to read Karen's review of this book by clicking on the link above! She has done an excellent job of dissecting the characters and the story - far better than I can possibly do!

This is the only Koomson book that my library has, which is a shame because I would love to read more by this author! Watch out Book Depository here I come!

Rating 4.5/5

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Booker reading update

When the Booker long list was announced, I somewhat recklessly declared that I was going to read the books on the list. When the shortlist was announced, I still hadn't read any of them.

So, now that the announcement of the winner is imminent, I have finally read one of the long list nominees! Go me! I do have two more out from the library, so I might get to them eventually.

Click on the link and you will end up over at Historical Tapestry where you can read my review of Winnie and Wolf by A N Wilson.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Stranger in My Arms by Lisa Kleypas

Lara's had been an arranged marriage to a man who was cold and mostly absent, so when word reached Lady Hawksworth that her husband was lost at sea, she happily gave up her title and position and proceeded to lead an exemplary life as a volunteer at the community orphanage. But suddenly - after over a year - Lara receives word that her husband is alive and on his way home. While Lara couldn't deny that the handsome man who appeared before her resembled her husband in many ways, and knew things that only he could know, the "new" Hunter was attentive and loving in ways he never had been before. Was it possible that her rake of a husband had reformed - or was Lara being seduced by a cunning stranger?

When Lara (who should have been called Saint Lara quite frankly) found out that she was a widow following the death of her husband Hunter in India, she wasn't devastated. Her marriage had been for convenience only with no love or passion. With the new titleholder in the family home and treating her quite shabbily, Lara now spends her time, and what little money she gets caring for the orphans and children in the local town.

On receiving the news that her husband is alive and well, Lara is overwhelmed. It quickly becomes clear that either her husband has had a complete change of heart, or that he is an impostor.

When Hunter's identity is challenged through the court system, Lara is forced to tell whether or not she believes he is who he say he is, or he could end up in jail or worse still...dead.

Unlike many of the novels by Lisa Kleypas, the characters in this novel are almost cartoon like (possibly with the exception of Hunter). Lara is a saint, and the bad guys wouldn't be out of place in one of those over the top kids movies.


Of course, everything ends happily, but one thing I didn't get was why Hunter's mother would confirm that a stranger was her son really! Would the mother of an impostor willingly allow him to take her child's place?

All in all, not one of Kleypas' better efforts but still had some nice parts to it!

Rating 3.5/5

Monday, October 08, 2007

Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

One charming street, so many secrets....
Lydia Goetz has an intriguing new tenant. Colette is a grieving young widow who has rented the apartment above her shop. Lydia's opinionated sister, Margaret, insists Colette is hiding something - and she's right. Colette's past is catching up with her fast and so is the enigmatic man who loves her.

Yet Margaret will soon have secrets of her own when her daughter's life is turned upside down by violence. Is vengeance the answer?

Meanwhile, Alix Townsend is about to marry the man she adores. It should be the happiest time of her life - so why is she breaking out in hives?

Why Lydia starts a new knitting class these women forge new friendships and learn the special art of letting go of your past and grabbing hold of your future.

Funny, sad, touching and true - you'll be so glad you're back on Blossom Street.

Sometimes you just need a little sugar!

I don't read any of Debbie Macomber's other books, but a couple of years ago I read the first book in this series, The Shop on Blossom Street, as part of a group read, and it seems now that I read each new book in the series as they come out.

The action centres around Lydia Goetz's knitting and yarn shop, on Blossom Street and the women who come to the shop to participate in knitting classes. This time the ladies are knitting a prayer shawl. One of the characters, Alix Townsend, was featured in an earlier book in the series, where she was a sullen, rebellious teenage. Now, she is happy, and engaged to a youth minister, Jordan Turner. Whilst she has come a long way from the unhappy young girl that she was, things are getting out of control. Jordan's mother Susan and Alix's friend, Jacqueline are determined to provide a dream wedding for Alix and Jordan...even if it isn't the happy couples idea of a dream wedding. Alix is stressed out to the point of second thoughts and it is going to take something major for things to get back on track.

Another member of the class is Colette Blake. Colette a young widow with a huge secret, and as her past catches up with her in the person of her former boss Christian Dempsey. Whilst she has feelings for him, she can't let herself get closer to him than she already has done. I have to confess that I found this strand of the story quite over the top, but I did love Christian's auntie who comes into the story in the latter half of the book.

The other major storyline in the book featured Lydia's sister Margaret, whose daughter suffered a horrendous carjacking attack, and the whole family was left to pick up the pieces and deal with the consequences. Margaret is a kind of extreme character in terms of her reactions, but mostly they were understandable, just taken a step too far.

The fourth member of the group is Suzanne who is the owner of the new florist that has recently opened in the street, but I was left wondering if maybe there was some storyline edited out of the final cut about Suzanne because she was kind of just there!

I am not a knitter at all, so I guess I don't necessarily feel the same affection for the role of the knitting in the story, but as a group of stories about the strength and power of female friendship, then the three books in the series are a fun read and easy enough to read through in one sitting. Macomber left the ending open enough for at least on more knitting book, and I guess I will be reading it if it comes out!

Rating 4/5

Other Blogger's Thoughts:

Passion for the Page

Isn't this always the way?

I've just checked my library account, and I have 8....yes 8 books to pick up!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes by Jennifer Crusie, Eileen Dreyer and Anne Stuart

You’re invited to spend the weekend with three extraordinary sisters…

When she was sixteen, Dee Fortune kidnapped her two younger sisters and ran from danger. Now twenty-nine, she’s still trying to control her shape-shifting power—no easy task when Danny James shows up one Friday morning with his deadly smile and dangerous questions about the past.
“Dreyer is wickedly clever and witty.”—Booklist

Lizzie is determined to save her family from financial ruin by turning straw into gold; now if she could only stop turning forks into bunnies. Then Elric, a sorcerer, appears one Friday—annoyed with the chaos Lizzie is creating in the universe and in his heart. . . .
“A consummate mistress of her craft, Stuart is a pure pleasure to indulge.”
—Romantic Times Bookreviews

The youngest Miss Fortune, Mare, towers above her sisters but her telekinetic power is dwarfed by their gifts. She spends her days at Value Video!! and her nights contemplating the futility of her existence. But then a gorgeous Value Video!! VP and Mare’s long lost love turn up. . .and they all turn up the heat on a weekend that no Fortune will soon forget!
“Crusie is a master of fast-paced witty dialogue.”—Seattle Times

I can just imagine what the brainstorming sessions would have been like for the three authors involved in this book.

"What's the strangest thing that someone could morph into during sex?"

"A frog"

"No, no...wouldn't it be hysterical if she turned into the guy's mother just as they got hot and heavy?". Lots of mirth and merriment ensues.

"And, how about, what if, one of the sisters is trying to transform objects, but every time she tries to do it the only thing that happens is that she makes herself a new pair of shoes?" Hahahaha. "Every woman loves shoes!"

"Wait, wait...what if..." laughing ..... I don't actually know if that's how it really was, but in some ways it felt to me as though the three authors involved in this book were having so much fun thinking about what things could happen, but it just didn't quite translate onto the page. The book was lots of fun, but it wasn't the fantastic ride I wanted, mainly because the characters were swapped around too quickly, and the chapters too long.

I should probably declare right now that I hadn't ever read Anne Stuart or Eileen Dreyer before so I really was reading this for Jennifer Crusie. And I have to admit that I came away from this book thinking that I am not so enthused about her collaborations, after first Don't Look Down, and now this book. (Luckily, since then I have read Agnes and the Hitman (and no, I haven't reviewed it yet) so my faith has been restored somewhat - restored enough to be looking forward to the collaboration that she is currently working on with Lani Diane Rich and Anne Stuart.

My other qualm was that two of the sisters meet, fall in love, and then agree to marry in the space of three days as well as having to defeat evil aunt Xantippe in that time frame as well.

When I read the book, my favourite relationship was between the youngest sister, Mare and her true love. I'm not saying more on this one because there are two possibilities for Mare, but she definitely ended up with the right guy! Now, as I look back though, I did also really like Dee and Danny's relationship. I wasn't so keen on Lizzie and Elrick. He was a bit...pompous..for want of a better word, for me!

So, whilst this book was a fun read, it just didn't meet my expectations. It could well be that my expectations were too high, but still.

Rating 3.5/5

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake by Laurie Brown

She's the only one who can help him

Deverell Thornton, the ninth Earl of Waite, must convince her to come back to his time and foil the plot that would destroy him...

His plea is irresistible

Josie Drummond is a modern career woman, and she doesn't believe time travel is possible, until her overpowering attraction conquers all doubt...

But what will happen when their time runs out?

As a modern woman, thrust back in time to the sparkling social whirlwind of the Regency period, Josephine Drummond must contend with the complex manners and mores of the day, make sure no one discovers her real identity and unmask a dangerous charlatan. And in the end, she must choose between the ghost who captivated her or the man himself, who is clearly determined to sweep her off her feet and shows no mercy when it comes to seduction...

Josie Drummond is a paranormal investigator (not a ghostbuster thank you!) who has been engaged by Lady Amelia to try and prove the existence of a ghost in her ancestral home. The sad fact is that said home is falling down around her ears, and Lady Amelia needs this evidence to be able to try and set up the castle as a themed bed and breakfast and to try and save her home. Of course, Amelia already knows full well that there is a ghost in the castle. He arrives for tea every Thursday at 3pm for tea. It is only as Josie is about to confirm that there is no evidence to suggest that the castle is haunted that Deverell manifests himself to her!

Deverell is a man with a plan. He is going to assist Amelia by transporting Josie back in time to help him expose a fraudulent fortune teller who managed to take most of the family fortune from his mother by holding seances to try and ascertain where the legendary missing family emeralds are.

Of course, a modern career woman would stick out like a sore thumb in the highly regimented world of the Regency ton, and so once Josie agrees to the plan (as ridiculous as the plan is) she is given a crash course in Regency etiquette, in dancing and dining. Never believing that Deverell's time travel plan will work, she suddenly finds herself thrust into a Regency house party. And there is one big distraction. Whilst Josie finds the ghost of Deverell attractive, there is a positive spark between the man Lord Deverell and her. Can she fend off unwelcome suitors who are determined to marry her for her fictional fortune, stop Deverell from being killed in a duel, uncover the charlatans and help to find the missing family jewels??

I did find the education of Josie to be very informative. In so many Regency set books there is mention of the rules, but many of them are just alluded to, so it was fascinating to see the author setting out some of those many rules in a straight forward way.

I have to confess that at first I did struggle to get into this book. I have been reading it for about a week, which is quite slow for me, but I think that had a lot to do with the fact that I have had a lot of distractions over the last couple of weeks or so. Once I sat down with the intention of just reading I was completely drawn into the story, and managed to read the last half of the book in one sitting.

Dev is charming, and definitely rakish, and Josie is a lot of fun. As a modern woman, she is a very good match for Dev. She is happy to banter with him, and to him must have seemed very liberated!

Reading this did make me wonder why don't I read more time travel books? I loved Karen Marie Moning's time travels, and I loved the Outlander series, and yet, I don't seem to recall reading many others! I do have at least one on my bookshelf. Somehow I must try to fit it into the reading schedule!

This book is the first book to be released from Sourcebooks new Casablanca romance line (which is going to include rereleases of some Georgette Heyer novels), and if this is a sign of things to come, then it will be worthwhile keeping an eye out for the books that are released as part of this line. Thanks to Sourcebooks for sending me this book to review!

Rating 4/5

My Surrender by Connie Brockway

Charlotte Nash is the most impulsive of the Nash sisters. Using her position as one of London's most popular and naughty debutantes, she assists English spies in conveying messages that will help them infiltrate Napoleon's inner circle -- and fulfill the mission her father died trying to achieve. But only as a courtesan can she infiltrate London's most notorious gatherings and retrieve a crucial document. Is she ready to take part in a deception that will leave her reputation in shreds? And when Highlander Dand Ross -- a dangerous, disreputable blackguard -- reappears in her life and offers his aid, dare she accept it? The exquisite pleasure she finds in his arms might be worth the price of her surrender, but is the dark Highlander who loves her so passionately really just luring her toward the ultimate betrayal?

This is the third and final book in the Rose Hunter trilogy, following on from My Pleasure, and features the youngest of the Nash girls, Charlotte. Charlotte has always been considered to be just on the right side of too fast, willing to shock the people of the ton with her behaviour, without doing anything quite so rash as compromising herself! It turns out that part of her reason for behaving this way is that she is involved in a spy ring. She's not really in the centre of the ring, but she does find information out and pass it on to others to be used in the defense of the country.

In an effort to step up her usefulness Charlotte is determined to diffuse a very sensitive matter - find some documents that have disappeared and return them to their rightful owner, thus ensuring that there is no great scandal in the royal family. When one of the three men who promised to look after her family following the deaths of her parents reappears in her life, he is sufficiently dangerous enough to be able to help Charlotte gain entry to some of the more notorious and seedy parts of the ton, most specifically a house party in Scotland, but the only way she can do so is to act as though she is Dand's mistress for a period of time. Whilst it may be only an act, her reputation will never recover, and Charlotte must decide if serving her country is worth that risk. Also at risk....her heart, for even if Dand is only pretending to be in love with her, he is a very fine actor! The other question is...exactly which side IS Dand on?

As with the other books in this trilogy, this was an entertaining enough read, but not excellent enough to stick in my mind all that well! Charlotte's brother-in-laws make a brief but memorable cameo at the end of the book, including one of the more interesting final scenes in a book proper (in other words, not including the epilogue!)

Overall, I rated all three of the books in this trilogy the same, being 4/5. When I read back the reviews for the first two books, I noted that I was a bit hazy on the details of those as well because I was (as always) behind, behind, behind on my reviews! Maybe if I had written all three reviews sooner, I might have been better able to compose my thoughts as to why I rated them that highly. I obviously pretty much enjoyed them at the time of reading! Oh well.

I do have other books by this author on my TBR list, but I am not sure about how much of a hurry I will be in to read them. Anyone have any must read Brockway recommendations?

Rating 4/5

High Noon by Nora Roberts

Police Lieutenant Phoebe MacNamara found her calling at an early age when an unstable man broke into her family's home, trapping and terrorising them for hours. Now she's Savannah's top hostage negotiator, defusing powder-keg situations and has a talent for knowing when to give in - and when to jump in and take action. It's satisfying work - and sometimes those skills come in handy at home dealing with her precocious seven-year-old, Carly, and her agoraphobic mother, still traumatised by the break-in after all these years.

It's exactly that heady combination of steely courage and sensitivity that first attracts Duncan Swift to Phoebe. After watching her talk one of his employees off of a roof ledge, he is committed to keeping this intriguing, take-charge woman in his life. She's used to working solo, but Phoebe's finding that no amount of negotiation can keep Duncan at arm's length.

But not everyone is enamoured of Phoebe's charms. And when she's grabbed by an unseen assailant and brutally assaulted in her own police station, Phoebe can't help but be deeply shaken. Then threatening messages show up on her doorstep. Phoebe must discover just how this dangerous stalker is before he starts targeting her family to get to her...

I will start off this post by saying that I don't usually read Romantic Suspense on the whole. This is only my third book in this sub genre this year (if you don't count the In Death books because I can never really figure out what to classify them as!).

Phoebe MacNamara is the top hostage negotiator in the Savannah Police Department. She works hard, and when she isn't working, she is the glue that holds her family together. Not only is she a single mum to 7 year old Carly, but her household also includes her agoraphobic mother Essie, her surrogate aunt Ava and her brother and his wife. She doesn't have time for complications like relationships thank you very much.

When she meets Duncan Swift after talking a former employee of his from jumping off the roof, a relationship is exactly what she gets, but not without trying to complicate matters, for both valid and not necessarily quite so valid reasons. Duncan appears to just be a charming and handsome guy. He runs a couple of bars, used to be a cab driver, until he got lucky and won the lottery...big time. Initially he appears to just be floating around a little bit - playing at being a pub owner, driving a flash car, living a champagne lifestyle, but Duncan is someone who listens to people, who is always on the lookout for projects that can challenge him but also enrich the lives of others, especially those of his "adopted" family!

When Phoebe is assaulted at work, it is Duncan that she calls, only belatedly realising how nice it is to have someone she can rely on, as opposed to always being the person that other people rely on all the time. When strange things start happening to Phoebe, small things initially, she doesn't see the signs, but in the end she realises that there is something more sinister afoot, and her family is right in the firing line. Now she must scramble to try to figure out who it is that is targeting her before it is too late.

The relationship between Phoebe and Duncan (and Carly) was sweet, and totally believable. It was interesting that the author chose not to have a lot of conflict between the two of main characters, instead allowing the external events (which were tumultuous enough!) to provide the drama in the story. Very well done!

All of the characters were well developed and definitely three dimensional. No cookie cutter characters here! There are also some truly gruesome scenes included in this cookie cutter scenes either, but this is definitely a strength of the book.

Overall this was a good story! I still have a load of Nora Roberts' back list (both under that name and JD Robb) to work my way through as I wait for her next release in November!

Rating 4/5

What's going on?

I am contemplating not one, not two but three rereads! Now I know that there are a lot of people out there who do lots of rereads, but I am not one of them. So far this year I haven't reread any books, and in all of last year I only reread one book, and that was a book that I had originally read in high school.

So what's prompted this?

Well, the girls over a Book Binge started it! Their Hero of the Month for October is the delicious Cam Quinn from Sea Swept by Nora Roberts. This was the first book by Nora Roberts that I read, and I just absolutely loved it! I ended up reading all four books in the Chesapeake Bay series in the space of about two weeks. As much as I really liked the other Quinn boys, it was Cam who captured my heart! And despite the fact that I still have a gazillion other Nora books that I haven't read yet, I am thinking that it won't hurt to have a little visit with Cam! Anna is a very lucky girl!

The second book that I am contemplating rereading is Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Oprah has just chosen it as her next book club pick. I was originally introduced to Marquez through the Oprah book club when she chose One Hundred Years of Solitude a few years ago. Since then, every now and again, I read another book by this author. He is an author that I probably would never have chosen to read by myself, but I did love Love in the Time of Cholera. I am thinking about rereading this one, and maybe it's time to try a new Marquez.

The third book is His Majesty's Dragon(Temeraire) by Naomi Novik. One of the groups that I am a member of has this book scheduled as their book of the month for January. Discussion starts January 10, and I am thinking that, since I enjoyed it so much the first time, I might need to reacquaint myself with the book before discussion starts. Such a chore! In the meantime, I am hoping to receive Empire of Ivory sometime in the next couple of weeks!

By the way, have you been to visit Sybil's blog today? Her guest blogger is one of my fave historical romance authors...Lisa Kleypas. There's some really fun posts, and a couple of scrummy excerpts. I hope Mine Till Midnight gets here soon!

Friday, October 05, 2007

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan's last thirty years - from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding - that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives - the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness - are inextricably from the history playing out around them.

Propelled by the same storytelling instinct that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once a remarkable chronicle of three decades of Afghan history and a deeply moving account of family and friendship. It is a striking, heart-wrenching novel of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love - a stunning accomplishment.

After the phenomenal success of Khaled Hosseini's debut novel, The Kite Runner, there must have been a fair amount of pressure on the author to come up with another winner. Luckily, he succeeded! In fact, in my opinion, his second book is better than the first! Of course, now I am looking forward to his next book....already! No pressure! LOL!!

A Thousand Splendid Suns focuses on two women. The first is Mariam. She is the illegitimate daughter of a successful businessman. Whilst she does get to spend time with her father, she is kept isolated from his real family. When her mother dies when Mariam is 15, she is married off to Rasheed, a man who is 25 years older than her and a widower. As the years pass by and Mariam fails to get pregnant, Rasheed becomes increasingly violent and hateful toward her. However, when after being married to Mariam for 18 years, Rasheed marries again, this time to the beautiful young Laila who is only 14 years of age, Mariam is determined to protect her status as first wife, and turns her bitterness and spite towards the young girl.

Laila, at 14, had grown up in the home of two academics, or at least her mother had been academic until she was forced to return to the home. Now, with her mother's attention constantly on the welfare of her two older brothers who are both soldiers of the jihad, Laila spends her days with her best friend Tariq. As the war intensifies, Tariq is forced to leave Afghanistan, and Laila behind. Shortly afterwards, Laila is orphaned, and she is taken in to Rasheed's home, and then is married to him despite the difference in age.

Laila becomes the favoured wife, and Mariam is forced to basically serve her, thus further fostering the bitterness between them, but the relationship finally begins to change when Laila gives birth to a baby boy - the pride and joy of Rasheed's life. A daughter follows, but by this time Rasheed has become increasingly violent towards both women. Hosseini is not afraid to show how violent and controlling Rasheed is, and it is a stark contrast to some of the more fairytale like elements of the end of the story.

The other image that has remained in my mind long after I put the book down, is that shown when Laila goes to the hospital to give birth. The doctor is supposed to remain in her burka during delivery and there are basically no drugs available. Whilst even in the modern world, childbirth is not 100% safe, the conditions described were completely scary to me!

The two women become each other's family, something that Mariam had long ago given up hope of ever having, and they become determined to escape from the maniacal Rasheed, only to be caught and punished. The re entrance of a person from the past into the lives of the little family, provides some hope, but to try to escape means that life will change forever for everyone involved.

Where Hosseini excels is that he manages to create such strong characters and situations between the characters and yet, still manages to provide the details that give the bigger picture of what is happening Afghanistan as a whole. We see Afghanistan under Russian rule, under Taliban rule, when the war lords take over Kabul and start fighting with each other, without ever losing hope that thing can get better, both for some of our characters, and for Afghanistan as a whole.

It is another fascinating read from an author who is definitely a must read.

Rating 4.5/5

Other Blogger's Thoughts:

The Inside Cover

So Many Books, So Little Time
Hidden Side of a Leaf
Blue Archipelago

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Josephine B trilogy by Sandra Gulland

Just a quick post to say that I have posted a review of The Last Great Dance on Earth by Sandra Gulland over at Historical Tapestry. This was a really enjoyable trilogy, so come on over and have a read.

Up and down day

I have had a very strange day in some ways.

Firstly, my mother left after having spent the last three weeks here. I haven't said much about her being here because I wasn't sure if she would read my blog when it comes up as my start up page or not. She was pretty well behaved...for her....although there were a few occasions when I could have wrung her neck! My son is overjoyed that the TV won't be permanently stuck on the news now!

Secondly, I went to a funeral today. I think that the last funeral I went to was probably 25 years ago. This was the 30 year old daughter of a pretty good friend of mine. She died from a heroin overdose last week, leaving behind four children varying in age from 18 months to 9 years. It was actually quite a difficult experience as there had been many issues over the years with mental health issues and drug use, and there were definitely some strange moments both during and after the funeral. The most overwhelming thought for me though was....what a waste. Those poor kids are going to grow up without a mother as a result of sad.

After going back to the house for coffee for half an hour or so, I actually went shopping, and managed to start my Christmas shopping for this year. Yes, you read right! Normally I don't start Christmas shopping until at least December, but there were such good deals on console games that I couldn't not buy any!

While I was out shopping, I bought a new brand of hand cream but I don't really think I like it! It feels okay now that I have had it on for an hour, but before that it seemed quite tacky and sticky. Not sure whether I will force myself to finish the tube and then go look for another brand, or whether I will just give up on this one.

So, now I sit here in my quiet house, able to fully relax for the first time in 3 weeks! Phew! I'm off to read!


This week's Booking Through Thursday question:

Do you have “issues” with too much profanity or overly explicit (ahem) “romantic” scenes in books? Or do you take them in stride? Have issues like these ever caused you to close a book? Or do you go looking for more exactly like them? (grin)

Well, given how much romance I read, the answer to that question is definitely "no issues here". Having said that, I think that I do have a couple of limits. For example, I haven't read any erotica before and there really have only been a couple of erotica books that I have ever been tempted by so I guess I am not likely to read any anytime soon. Similarly, I am not particularly fussed by profanity, although it does depend on the context that it is used in!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

David Golder by Irene Nemirovsky

In 1929, 26-year-old Irène Némirovsky shot to fame in France with the publication of her first novel David Golder. At the time, only the most prescient would have predicted the events that led to her extraordinary final novel Suite Française and her death at Auschwitz. Yet the clues are there in this astonishingly mature story of an elderly Jewish businessman who has sold his soul.

Golder is a superb creation. Born into poverty on the Black Sea, he has clawed his way to fabulous wealth by speculating on gold and oil. When the novel opens, he is at work in his magnificent Parisian apartment while his wife and beloved daughter, Joy, spend his money at their villa in Biarritz. But Golder’s security is fragile. For years he has defended his business interests from cut-throat competitors. Now his health is beginning to show the strain. As his body betrays him, so too do his wife and child, leaving him to decide which to pursue: revenge or altruism?

Available for the first time since 1930, David Golder is a page-turningly chilling and brilliant portrait of the frenzied capitalism of the 1920s and a universal parable about the mirage of wealth.

Like most other readers out there, I first heard of Irene Nemirovsky when Suite Francaise was published. Now it seems that the publishers are cashing in on the popularity of that book, er....I mean taking the opportunity to let us become acquainted with some of the author's earlier books that originally propelled her to fame in France in the late 1920s and 1930s.

David Golder is a self made man. He started out living in a small town on the Black Sea, dirt poor, but determined to make something of himself, regardless of how many people he must trample on his way to top. And he has. He is now one of richest men in Paris, married to a beautiful socialite wife, with a beautiful socialite daughter. He is however unhappy, and when things start to go wrong with his health, and he is no longer unable to wheel and deal, the money runs out, and it is suddenly clear to Golder just how alone he really is. Even his wife and daughter desert him to a degree. When he needs to make just one more deal, his life comes full circle as he once again finds himself in that same small town on the Black Sea.

A lot of the characters in this book are not particularly likable, but Nemirovsky does give them shades of unlikeability and a certain depth that keeps you interested and reading. It also doesn't hurt that the book is quite short meaning that it is a somewhat concise study of a man who appears to have everything, but may well in fact have nothing worth having!

The version I read was beautifully presented as a small hardcover book, and it even had one of those ribbons that you can use to mark your page that you don't often see any more . It was such a pleasant surprise when I realised that it was there, and despite the fact that it is a really small thing about the quality of the presentation, it did enhance my enjoyment of this book! Yes....I know....small things and all that!

Having now read two of her books, it seems to me that the authors personal story remains more compelling than her books, even though her books are definitely readable. I was interested to read somewhere the other day that they have discovered another unpublished work by this author called The Fire in the Blood, and that it is going to be published shortly. It goes almost without saying that I have my name down on the request list!

Rating 4/5

Monday, October 01, 2007

Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood

There are some things that Phryne Fisher finds intolerable. Having her windscreen shattered by a bullet as she is driving past Melbourne's Victoria Dock, for instance, or discovering that bullets from the same gun have entered the body of a beautiful seventeen year old. Not to mention the ruin of her fur and lingerie as she holds the dying, bleeding boy.

Outraged by these crimes against property (and the senseless waste of human life), Phryne swears she will track down the young man killer's, and in doing so stumbles across the plans for a bank robbery and possible massacre. Phryne delves into life among the Trotskyites, tattoo parlours, pubs and spiritualist halls of 1920s Melbourne. There she discovers Peter - the battle-scarred, sexy, Slavic ex-anarchist - who she turns to for comfort and information. But then her beloved maid Dot is kidnapped and nothing can distract Phryne from revenge.

I have a confession to make. I finished this book so long ago, and know that I really liked it when I read it, but don't know how much of the storyline that I can remember. I am trying to catch up on reviews, but then I keep on finishing more books than I review!

I guess one thing about mystery series as well is that there is an element of sameness in the stories in the series - it is in the detail that the plot gets the individuality to distinguish one book from on another, but I think that the back cover blurb shows just how detailed the plot for this one really is!

The books that I have read in this series so far have all been good, and I would recommend them! I promise to do better...I really do!

Part of the reason for really enjoying this series is its Melbourne locations. It's a fairly safe bet to say that Phryne wouldn't recognise Victoria Dock as it is today!

Rating: 4/5

First Look Books

I have just posted my review of Silver Wattle by Belinda Alexandra over at Historical Tapestry. This is the third book that I have received through the First Look program run by Harper Collins Australia (I believe that other countries have similar programs as well). All of the books I have received to review have been historical fiction, although that is in part my preference because I haven't applied to received any of the non historical fiction books that have been on offer. So far though, I haven't had any stinkers, which is always a good thing!

Never Seduce a Scoundrel by Sabrina Jeffries

Bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries's enticing new series introduces the spirited graduates of Mrs. Harris's School for Young Ladies — unconventional heiresses who are more than matches for society's most irresistible rogues....

"Be careful, Amelia — you know how reckless you can be!"

— Mrs. Charlotte Harris, headmistress

Lady Amelia Plume has many admirers — it's too bad they're all fortune hunters and fops who can't provide the exotic adventures she seeks. But the ballrooms of Mayfair have become much more appealing since the arrival of Major Lucas Winter, an American with a dark past and a dangerous air. Lucas is brash, arrogant — and scandalously tempting. Every thrilling kiss sparks hotter desire, yet Amelia suspects that Lucas has a hidden motive in wooing her. And she intends to discover it, by any means necessary....

This is the first book in current series by Sabrina Jeffries which will feature young ladies who have attended Miss Harris' school that has been nicknamed The School for Heiresses. I do like this as a set up for a series - much better than having a series with a brother, three sisters and two cousins or whatever! It gives the author a chance to write stories about completely different characters, and really only have the loosest of connections between them, without losing the cohesiveness of the series. The School for Heiresses anthology that I read earlier this year demonstrated this flexibility really well.

Lady Amelia Plume is desperate for adventure, but when it comes along in the form of Major Lucas Winter, could it be more adventure than she can cope with? I did like this book, but as I sit here trying to figure out why, I'm not sure I can say why.

We'll start with a couple of things - initially I really liked the interactions between Amelia and Lucas. Their repartee was witty, and yet still manages to be serious and fun at the same time. I liked Lucas' tortured past which used a little known episode of English-American history as the basis (well not for him, just the way it's written), and his reactions to certain situations made perfect sense!

I didn't mind Amelia either. She seemed quite intelligent, although she could turn on the giggly society maiden at will when necessary as well!

I liked the set up that was done for at least one more book down the track, although I am hopeful that Mrs Harris gets to fall in love with her faithful letter writer/source of information! Can I just say I have been waiting for the book that is next in this series for me since I read the Royal Brotherhood books. Saying so is completely irrelevant to this review, but that's okay!

But...and there is a but....I am not 100% sure about a couple of things that happened in this book! Firstly, there was the whole obsessive suitor routine. It kind of built up for a little bit, and then was solved. Other than ensuring that our hero and heroine got from point A to point B, that whole aspect of the plot was kind of unnecessary. The second one was one of the major scenes in the book towards the end of it between Lucas and Amelia that was very intense, but maybe a bit too cold and calculated on both sides for most of the scene that I am not sure was really necessary.

If it wasn't for those two scenes I would probably have given this 4.5/5 but instead I am marking it down to 4.

I am definitely looking forward to the next book though...wait...I already said that!

Rating 4/5

Desktop Free View meme

Darla has tagged me for the Desktop Free View meme that is going around! It's easy to do so here we go!

It's my the Twelve Apostles a couple of years ago. Actually it's probably time I updated it!

Here's how you play:

A. Upon receiving this tag, immediately perform a screen capture of your desktop. It is best that no icons be deleted before the screen capture so as to add to the element of fun. You can do a screen capture by going to your desktop and pressing the Print Scrn key (located on the right side of the F12 key). Open a graphics program (like Picture Manager, Paint, or Photoshop) and do a Paste (CTRL + V).If you wish, you can “edit” the image, before saving it.

B. Post the picture in your blog. You can also give a short explanation on the look of your desktop just below it if you want. You can explain why you preferred such look or why is it full of icons. Things like that.

C. Tag five of your friends and ask them to give you a Free View of their desktop as well.

D. Add your name to this list of Free Viewers with a link pointing directly to your Desktop Free View post to promote it to succeeding participants.

So, I am going to tag:


The list of Free Viewers so far is:

Catch up

First things first - I have a new review up at Historical Tapestry for The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - really good book!

Been really busy for the last couple of weeks, spending lots of time at my sister's getting to cuddle with my nephew who is now 11 days old. Because of the baby, my mother has been here....................

Yesterday, it was photo day and lamb day. My goodness, I hate having my photo taken, mainly because when I look at photos I see how other people see me, as opposed to how I see myself when I look in the mirror - and believe me there is a big difference!

After photos, we had roast lamb, which in some ways was unfortunate even though it tasted good, because I had invited some people around for dinner, and I was cooking lamb tagine - two lots of lamb in one day!

This weekend here has all been about sport. There is the Rugby Union World Cup that is on in France at the moment, and then on Saturday the AFL grand final was played and won. Well....more precisely Geelong absolutely thrashed Port Adelaide by 20 goals. Not exactly a great game to watch. Then, on Sunday night, the Rugby League grand final was on and the Melbourne Storm beat the Manley Sea Eagles. Go Storm!!!

This week I have a week off. One of the things I am wanting to do is write a few reviews, but then again, until my guest goes home, who knows how much time I am going to have for doing what I want.