Friday, August 31, 2007

Reunion of Revenge by Kathie DeNosky

Thirteen years ago, Nick Daniels had been minutes away from marrying Cheyenne Holbrook when the wedding came to a startling halt. Forced out of town by Cheyenne's powerful, menacing father, Nick vowed to return and seek revenge on the woman he believed had turned on him.

Now, an unexpected inheritance made Nick the owner of a Wyoming ranch — and Cheyenne's boss. All Nick's fantasies for revenge were about to come true. But first he'd have to fight off some other desires. Ones that involved tempting Cheyenne into his bed — and marching her down the aisle once and for all....

You know how my last review said that I very rarely read a series out of order? Well, this is the second book in The Illegitimate Heirs trilogy, and I haven't read the first book!

I hadn't actually heard of this author before I read her. The only reason I did read her was that this book was in a 2-in-1 book with Nalini Singh's Secrets in the Marriage Bed, and I figured that seeing as I had it, I might as well read it and see how it was!

Nick Daniels has recently found out that far from being a man who has to work to make ends meet that he is actually heir to a fortune. His newly acquired grandmother has given him a ranch. Not just any ranch, but the ranch where he grew up, and where the woman he nearly married lived. When he gets to his new home, he is surprised to find the same woman still lives nearby, but now she is his employee as well - a situation that they will both find uncomfortable.

For Cheyenne, having Nick as her new boss is a nightmare, but she has no choice. She has a contract and has to work to be able to look after her disabled father. What Nick doesn't know, is that she has never met another man who she wanted to give herself too so she is still a virgin. When they decide to have a no strings affair, it isn't long before it isn't enough for either of them.

As romances go, this one was not too bad, but the whole "I haven't found anyone I wanted to have sex with for 13 years, but now that you are here I am going to have a full blown affair" thing doesn't really work for me, but other than that it was readable. There was one other twist at the end which I was left shaking my head at as well.

I was however interested enough to find out if the library has the other two books in the trilogy or not (which they do), but wouldn't have been interested enough to have to pay for the books! It's funny really, because this is the second new author I have found to read because their book was in a 2-for-1 deal with Nalini's books! The other one was Maureen Child who I enjoyed reading when I read The Last Reilly Standing.

Rating: 3.5/5

Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters

Meet art historian Vicky Bliss, She is as beautiful as she is brainy--with unassailable courage, insatiable curiosity, and an expertise in lost museum treasures that often leads her into the most dangerous of situations.

A missing masterwork in wood, the last creation of a master carver who died in the violent tumult of the sixteenth century, may be hidden in a medieval German castle in the town of Rothenburg. The prize has called to Vicky Bliss, drawing her and an arrogant male colleague into the forbidding citadel and its dark secrets. But the treasure hunt soon turns deadly. Here, where the blood of the long forgotten damned stains ancient stones, Vicky must face two equally perilous possibilities. Either a powerful supernatural evil inhabits this place. . .or someone frighteningly real is willing to kill for what Vicky is determined to find.

This is the first book in the Vicky Bliss series of mysteries by Elizabeth Peters, who also writes the Amelia Peabody series of mysteries that I have been working my way through over the last year or so. I had already read the second book in the Vicky Bliss series, which is called Street of the Five Moons. It's very unusual for me to read a series out of order, and it is something that caused me to have at least big issue for me in this book. In fact, to say it was an issue is probably an understatement, because it was really distracting as I posted at the time!

We meet Vicky in America, where she is a history instructor at a small town college. She is also involved with another history instructor called Tony, and when they both find out about an important relic, they become competitors in the race to find the priceless religious shrine. They are not the only people searching for the shrine. There is also an avid art collector who has decided that he wants it, and then when they make it to the castle, there are also some other characters who seem to be involved as well. It may end up being more than just a race for the prize - it could be a race for their lives!

The details that are imbued in most Peters' books are here - fantastic settings (in this case a Gothic castle), creepy characters that you really can't be sure are all that bad, but neither are they all that good, lots of details about the object that is being searched for, all set amongst a mad cap plot and pithy dialogue between the main characters.

In the comments of the post that I linked to above where I talked about my frustration about what happened to Tony, Rosario suggested that this book is really a prelude to the series proper. It sets the scene for how Vicky comes to be living in Munich and working for Herr Professor in the next book, and I think I am in agreement with her.

So, while this was a lot of fun, there was still a big but in there for me! If I had read this book first (as I am normally so obsessive about reading in order I would usually do so) I'm sure that I would be rating it higher, but as it is I was very distracted during the reading of the book itself.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, August 30, 2007


This week's Booking Through Thursday question:

There was a widely bruited-about statistic reported last week, stating that 1 in 4 Americans did not read a single book last year. Clearly, we don’t fall into that category, but . . . how many of our friends do? Do you have friends/family who read as much as you do? Or are you the only person you know who has a serious reading habit?

I am lucky in that I am surrounded by a number of readers. The girl I sit next to and I have regular book chats, and there is at least one person at work who comes to have a look at my blog to see what I have been reading if we haven't talked books for a while. My sister likes to read, but she finds it much harder work than I do. Having said that, there are at least two people at work who haven't read a book in the 3 or 4 years that I have known them. We have agreed to disagree, because at least one of those is completely DVD obsessed, whilst I am not!

BTW....I've posted a review over at Historical Tapestry, this time for The Tilecutter's Penny by Caiseal Mor.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

'Investigating other people's tragedies and cock-ups and misfortunes was all he knew. He was used to being a voyeur, the outsider looking in, and nothing, but nothing, that anyone did surprised him any more. Yet despite everything he'd seen and done, inside Jackson there remained a belief - a small, battered and bruised belief - that his job was to help people be good rather than punish them for being bad.'

Cambridge is sweltering, during an unusually hot summer. To Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator, the world consists of one accounting sheet - Lost on the left, Found on the right - and the two never seem to balance. His days are full of people clamouring for answers and explanations. A jealous husband suspects his wife. Two spinster sisters make a shocking find. A solicitor investigates an old murder. A nurse has lost her niece; a widow, her cats.

Jackson has never felt at home in Cambridge, and has a failed marriage to prove it. He is forty-five but feels much, much older. He is at that dangerous age when men suddenly notice that they're going to die eventually, inevitably, and there isn't a damn thing they can do about it. Surrounded by death, intrigue and misfortune, his own life is brought sharply into focus.

Ingeniously plotted, full of suspense and heartbreak, CASE HISTORIES is a feat of bravura storytelling that conveys the mysteries of life, its inanities and its hilarities. It is a life-affirming work of profound insight and intelligence.

Jackson Brodie is a former police officer who has set up his own private investigator business. He becomes involved in three old cases, in addition to the one investigation that he already has where he has been enlisted to try and prove that a wife is cheating on her husband. The first case is 20 years old, and involved the disappearance of a 3 year old girl called Olivia Land. The Land family is very strange, and the three remaining older sisters are, what could only be called dysfunctional, and yet can it be that between the three of them, they may be able to provide the key details that will help unlock the mystery of what happened to their younger sister on a hot summer night so many years ago.

The second case has its roots in the apparently open and shut case of a young mother who apparently killed her husband. She asked her sister to look after her young baby, and after serving her time in jail, has now disappeared. Unfortunately the sister has lost track of the daughter and is now trying to track her down.

The third case is over 10 years old, and is about the seemingly random murder of 18 year old Laura Wyre. Her father has never been able to put the death of his beloved daughter behind him, and having collected every scrap of evidence he has been able to find, has asked Jackson to see if he can figure out what happened to her.

Whilst investigating these cases, Jackson also needs to deal with his own personal relationships. His relationship with his ex wife is somewhat hostile, but Jackson is doing his best to be a good father to his young daughter, a task made somewhat more difficult by the fact that Jackson seems to be having a bit of difficulty staying out of trouble at the moment! Jackson is also quite closed off about his past, but in the end some of those events in the past are the very ones that shapes the current Jackson.

Jackson is in many ways the quintessential jaded detective - hard bitten, unable to connect properly with others on many levels, and yet he is also more than that. I guess the word that I am looking for is probably multi faceted.

Woven through the narrative is also the story of a schoolteacher, who has suddenly realised that she is not happy in her life and is getting ready to run to a new life, not for the first time! Which of the cases is she connected to. It makes sense when you read the book, but the other characters are in many ways completely unaware of her.

Whilst this is a mystery book, it is also not a mystery. In some ways it is a character study of the people left behind when crimes are committed. Many of the characters seem to have no other connection other than through Jackson, and yet there are small things that happen in everyday life that also unknowingly connect these people as well. The other interesting thing is that whilst the reader knows the answers to that most basic of questions in any mystery - Who did it? - it is not necessarily the case that the characters have that same resolution.

Overall, quite an intense, but good, read!

Rate 4/5

Other Blogger's Thoughts:

Lou's Pages

Postcards from the Bed by Marian Keyes

'When people ask me what I do for a crust and I tell them that I am a novelist, they immediately assume that my life is a non-stop carousel of lims, television appearances, hair-dos, devoted fans, stalkers and all the glitzy paraphernalia of being a public figure.

It's time to set the record straight.

I write alone, in a darkened bedroom, wearing my PJs, eating bananas, my laptop on a pillow in front of me...'

Her novels are read and adored by millions around the world - now read Marian Keyes's collected pieces: regular bulletins from the bed.

Featuring a wide compilation of Marian's journalism from magazines and newspapers, plus some exclusive, previously unpublished materies, Postcards from the Bed is bursting with funny stories; observations on life, in-laws, weight loss, parties and driving lessons that will keep you utterly gripped - either wincing with recognition or roaring with laughter.

Marian loves shoes and her LTFs (Long-Term Friends), hates estate agents and lost luggage, and she once had a Christmas office party that involved roasting two sheep on a spit, Moroccan style. She's just like you and me...

This is actually the book that I was reading when I had to go and get my car windows fixed, and I did really enjoy it! Sitting in a cafe and in a car window repair shop and laughing out loud was a bit embarrassing but it is worth it.

There are a variety of different stories, some that make you laugh out loud, some that make you think, some that are poignant, and some that are just almost ridiculous! Whether writing whole novels, or short articles for newspapers or magazines, Keyes is always a fantastic read!

Interestingly enough, this book was published under the title Postcards from the Bed here in Australia, with this cover image, but I really struggled to find a picture of it, so I have settled for this one!

Rating 4/5

Sunday, August 26, 2007

All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris

Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has her hands full dealing with every sort of undead and paranormal creature imaginable. And after being betrayed by her longtime vampire love, Sookie must not only deal with a new man in her life-the shapeshifter Quinn-but also contend with the long-planned vampire summit.

The summit is a tense situation. The vampire queen of Louisiana is in a precarious position, her power base weakened by hurricane damage to New Orleans. And there are some vamps who would like to finish what nature started. Soon, Sookie must decide what side she'll stand with. And her choice may mean the difference between survival and all-out catastrophe.

Having read all of the Sookie Stackhouse books that are out, I put this one on the hold request list at the library as soon as it came on the catalogue because I was so eager. Having read it, I will definitely read the next book, but I might not be in quite such a hurry.

Once again the book is filled with all the usual suspects - Bill, Eric, Quinn, Sookie and also the Queen of Louisiana and her entourage, and this time they are off to the vampire summit, where Sookie is to use her talents as a telepath to try to find out anything that could help the queen, especially during the trial that she is due to face for the murder of her husband!

This book, in a way that I don't recall happening before in this series, got bogged down in the vampire politics, and there also seemed to be much more death and destruction in this one, particularly towards the end of the novel.

There are as always several possible love interests in this one, but I do wish that this question would be resolved a little more. I don't mind so much the very difficult choice that Sookie has between Eric and Quinn, but I do wish that Bill didn't still get trotted out again and again!

This isn't a book to start reading this series on. I don't think it would make any sense whatsoever if this was the first read for someone new to the series. Overall, I would say that this is one for the fans.

Rating 3.5/5

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of an evil vampire, but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realize their troubles may just be beginning....

Passionate, riveting, and deeply moving, this vampire love saga is well on its way to literary immortality.

Yes, I know....everyone else in the world is currently obsessing on the next book in the series, Eclipse, but I have only just read New Moon (a couple of months ago), and now have to try and put a review together! I took this to Adelaide with me when I went to visit, and it was a nice way to escape from things when interactions with my mother and the ex got a bit much!

Edward decides that it is for the best if he and Bella split up, because when she gets a paper cut on her finger when opening a present on her birthday she is suddenly more than just attractive to her vampire family. Bella is absolutely devastated that Edward has left her, even though she can still "hear" his voice in her heart, and the book is very good at portraying that devastation. The only person who can seem to get through to Bella is her friend Jacob. The only problems are that Jacob has more than just friends feelings for Bella, and, well, he's going through some changes of his own, and these changes mean that he is destined to be the mortal enemies of the vampires.

When Edward finally returns to Bella's life, it is because this time she needs to save him from himself, as he has decided if he can't have Bella then it isn't worth living. What follows is a desperate flight to Europe to find him, and save him before he gives himself up to the powers that be. Bella seems determined that she needs to be turned into a vampire so that they can now be together, but Edward manages to talk her out of it. I guess it is a theme that will continue to be present through the next book in the series as well.

With it's cast of vampires and werewolves, this book is still an enjoyable read, but for me, not quite as compelling as Twilight was. Despite some of the average reviews that are around, I am still very interested in reading Eclipse. Hopefully I will get to it soon.

I do have to say that I love the covers in this series. So simple but beautiful and effective! Not so keen on the UK cover for Twilight but still!

Rating 4/5

Other Bloggers Thoughts:

The Bookworm - Naida

Secrets in the Marriage Bed by Nalini Singh

They were reconciling. That was all Caleb Callaghan could focus on when his estranged wife, Vicki, shared the news of her pregnancy. He was determined that this time, the marriage would succeed, no matter what it took.

But was Vicki’s price too high? She wanted more than his love and support…she demanded honesty between them, starting with his secrets. But there was something in Caleb’s past he could not—would not—share. For the truth would only destroy them.

I am slowly working through Nalini Singh's backlist. So far, the Desire books have been a bit hit and miss, but I have to say that this one was a HIT! I love the idea that this story about a couple who are married, and now need to work through the issues that have caused them to separate and find their happy ever after.

Caleb and Vicki have been separated for two months, when she finds out that she is pregnant. As soon as she tells Caleb, he insists that he must move back into their home and is determined that he is going to do anything he can to put their marriage back together, but she is determined that things will NOT go back to the way they were. Revealing some of the secrets that they have held from each other is possibly a higher price than they expected, but as they work their way through the issues from their past, their underlying love for each other begins to work it's magic.

Vicki is sick of being a trophy wife, and wants to find something useful to do with herself. Caleb is a successful lawyer whose business has in the past kept him working long hours and leaving Vicki to herself. Part of the reason that Caleb has stayed away is that whilst he wants his wife badly, and loves her desperately, she is somewhat frigid towards him in the bedroom, and he feels as though she doesn't like him touching her. For Vicky, she needs to figure out why Caleb is so driven to be successful, but then lets his family walk all over him constantly.

I loved that this was a story that very much focused on two people trying hard to get their lives back on track, and that as they communicated honestly and openly with each other, their relationship became stronger and stronger.

I can't think of too many other romances where the hero and heroine are already married, and now are working their way through their issues. It must be a risk to write one because if the reader doesn't believe that they have dealt with everything there will be a risk that whilst the book ends in a HEA, the couple themselves might not make it forever, but this one was believable to me!

Rating 4.5/5

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Calamity Mum by Diana Palmer

A mum for all calamities...that was what Faulkner Scott's young son wanted. and the motherless twelve year old was determined to appoint Shelly Astor to the post!

I haven't read any Diana Palmer before, but I do have the impression around romance blog land that people either love her or shall we say dislike her intensely!

This was a novella that was included in a 3-in-1 Harlequin Desire book along with Reunion of Revenge by Kathie DeNosky and Secrets in the Marriage Bed by Nalini Singh, but was originally published in 1993. One of the things about contemporary novels is that it is possible that, unless the author is really careful, their novel will date as fashion and the world moves forward. For example, at one point in this novella, the hero, Faulkner Scott, was dressed in white pants, a white jacket, and a royal blue silk shirt....hmmmm....not sure if you would see that around too much these days!

As for the story itself, well, it was okay. Shelly Astor is a young society miss who has had to fight her parents tooth and nail to get permission to go to university to study, as she wants to become a social worker. She is therefore about 24, but when she meets Faulkner she lets him think that she is much younger than she really is, and keeps her well to do background to herself.

They meet when Faulkner's son Ben decides that Shelly should become his new mum after befriending her. She is definitely preferably to the woman who appears set to become his evil step mum. Faulkner is a successful and arrogant banker who works hard to provide for his son, but who really is a bit emotionally distant and doesn't know his son all that much.

After Shelly saves Ben's life, Faulkner begins to listen to Shelly, and begins to act on the attraction that he feels for her, but he makes it clear that there can be no future for them because he things she is too young, a virgin, not from the right background, and he doesn't want marriage stop things from going too far! Once he realises exactly who she is, things change and he can't live without her!

As in all novellas where the hero and heroine don't already have an existing relationship of some kind, the getting to know each other, falling in love and living happily ever after happen very quickly. There were a couple of really corny lines, including one after the wedding where Shelly and Faulkner are about to make love for the first time, when he asks her "Do you want me to make you pregnant?" as if he had the power to make it happen, but other than that it was an okay read!

Rating 3.5/5

Thursday, August 23, 2007


This week's Booking Through Thursday question:

Using a suggestion from Erin today:

When growing up did your family share your love of books? If so, did one person get you into reading? And, do you have any family-oriented memories with books and reading? (Family trips to bookstore, reading the same book as a sibling or parent, etc.)

You know, there are many ways that I am different from the rest of my family, and reading is only one of them!

I have no idea if my dad reads at all. I can't remember ever seeing him do so. My mum reads infrequently. My sister likes to read, but she finds it difficult and can read the same book for months. As for my younger brother, well, he reads a bit.

I most certainly can't remember taking family trips to the bookstore or the library, or anything like that. In fact, I can't even remember my mother reading with me for school.

It is one of the things that I am trying to do differently with my son. We often go to the bookstore and library together. When we go to Borders it is more likely to be me whining and saying "Can we go now" than the other way around! Another thing I try to do differently is to take him to exhibitions and museums and art galleries. Some times it works....sometimes it doesn't!

Another contest

This time from Dee and Dee Dish...About Books

The details are as follows:

Want the book? Blog for it! Copy/paste the cover .jpg and the highlighted Cover Copy onto your own blog, and link back here, or post me a comment. I'll list your blogs over on our sidebar. Next Wednesday, the night before I head out to Ohio, I'll have the oldest girl child pick a winner. You'll get my (slightly read) copy of AATHM. To make up for it being slightly read, I'll ask Jenny and Bob to sign it, just for YOU, when I see them on Thursday. NOW BLOG THIS BOOK ALREADY!

I am looking forward to reading this book! And to have a signed copy would be even better!

Book Binge Back to School Contest

The girls at Book Binge have come up with another fab contest!

It's that time again, Dear Readers. Back to school shopping and schedules. Homework and lunch money. Required reading and Algebra. Piece and quiet at home in the morning and crazy afternoons and after school sports and...

Another Book Binge Contest.

Yes, that's right, we here at Book Binge want to celebrate Back To School with another giveaway. But you have to work for it...and it comes with homework.

The Assignment:

Tell us what your favorite read in school was. What book was required reading that you just loved? Something you completely devoured. Or, if you can't think of one, what was the WORST read you had in school?

The Prize:

Leave your answer in the comments or on your own blog with a link and in honor of this being a Back To School contest, we're giving one lucky winner:

The entire Susan Elizabeth Phillips Stars/Bonner Brothers Football Series (Who didn't love a jock in HS? Even if he was an ass, he was still good to look at, right?)


Perfect and Paradise by Judith McNaught (A teacher, in keeping with our theme, and an old High School Flame)


if you're not interested in any of those...2 books of your choice.

The Homework:

We're asking that you do a guest review for Book Binge for at least one of the books (or all of them, if you prefer).


The contest ends Friday, August 31st and the winner will be announced Saturday, September 1st.

Due Date:

Homework review is due no later than two weeks after you receive your package of books (We'll be flexible about this, however, because we know real life intrudes on reading time now and again).

Kick the school year off right. Enter today!

And now for my answer!

I read just about anything I could get my hands on at school, but I do remember getting through every single Jean Plaidy book that my school had in the library in my reading for pleasure! My love for historical fiction started early!

Another book that I vividly remember include The Hobbit, but that was because it was the one time I actually liked the title page that I made for a project! I really don't have an artistic bone in my body, and art was the only subject I ever came close to failing because I hated it! The title page probably wasn't all that good, but at the time I liked it a lot!

My memory is really crap. Other books I do remember reading are Macbeth, a book by Graham Greene, Poor Man's Orange by Ruth Park (a good read set in Australia), The Summer of My German Soldier which I reread and reviewed a couple of years ago. There were loads of others, but I am struggling to remember them!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Which Psy-Changeling Hero is for you?

It's nearly time for Caressed by Ice, the third book in the Psy Changeling series by Nalini Singh, and to celebrate Nalini has made up this quiz, and even better, just by having a go you can win a $50 book voucher! Click here for the full details!

Which Psy-Changeling Hero Is For You?

Your Psy/Changeling Hero: Lucas

Tough, dangerous and highly intelligent, the alpha of the DarkRiver leopard pack is a man who will demand everything from his mate. But he will give the same in return. And he will never let go.Find out more about Lucas and the series at
Take this quiz!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith

Is there anything funny about German professors? Throughout the world there are small groups of people who know exactly what the joke is. These are the von Igelphiles, the followers of that most extraordinary German professor, Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld.

This book is a series of short stories that based on the experiences of Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, who is a professor of philology and author of the impressive tome, Portuguese Irregular Verbs, which given it's size has had a variety of uses, including as a step stool for a dentist. With only 200 copies sold, the professor is constantly on the lookout to see if he can find out who among his learned colleagues and friends actually bought a copy.

As with all Alexander McCall Smith books they are a comedy of manners. For example, how do you address a dog when you have just met it, how exactly do you tell a mother that her son might be radioactive?

I actually listened to this book. The audio book was narrated by Hugh Laurie which I am sure added to my enjoyment completely. Whilst the short stories themselves were amusing, I have no doubt that the comic voices and timing of Laurie added an extra level of enjoyment. I guess I will find out when I read the second book in the series!

Rating: 4/5

Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares

With unravelled embroidery and fraying hems, the Travelling Pants are back for one last, glorious summer. Join Ann Brashare's beloved sisterhood once again in a dazzling, fearless novel. It's a summer that will forever change the lives of Lena, Carmen, Bee and Tibby, here and now, past and future, together and apart.

LENA: Immerses herself in her painting and an intoxicating summer fling, fearing the moment she forgets about Kostos will be the moment she sees him again.

CARMEN: Falls under the spell of a sophisticated college friend for whom a theatrical role means everything and the heritage of the Pants means nothing.

BRIDGET: Joins a dig for an ancient city off the coast of Turkey and discovers that her archaeology professor is available in every way except one.

TIBBY: Leaves behind someone she loves, wrongly believing he will stay where she has left him.

Join Ann Brashares beloved sisterhood once again in a dazzling, fearless novel. It's a summer that will forever change the lives of Lena, Carmen, bee and Tibby, here and now, past and future, together and apart.

This is the fourth and final book in the uber successful Travelling Pants series by Ann Brashares. I have reviews on my blog for the second and third books, and it has been interesting to read back through those two previous reviews in preparation for writing this one. In particular, I made comment that the third book felt in many ways like closure to me, so it was with some relief that I enjoyed this book, and didn't feel as though the author was just going through the motions in order to spin the series out to one last book.

Once again, Brashares does a great job of focusing on issues that are prevalent in the target age group, like peer pressure, finding your own identity and young love. This book was however much more sexually suggestive with two characters losing their virginity, a pregnancy scare, a near affair with a married man amongst other things. I therefore whether or not the suggested age group of age 13 plus is too young or not. That really does sound like a mum talking doesn't it!

Brashares once again has her characters travelling all over the place, and again I ask can American kids just up and travel all over the world on a whim? I guess that the four friends are older now but I remember wondering that in previous books as well. I guess the four girls are representative of middle class America, but it still surprises me! Part of that maybe that the fact that I am in Australia where it take so long to get to anywhere else in the world.

Overall, this was a fitting conclusion to the series. With the fate of the pants in doubt it is likely that they have gone onto weave their magic in other girl's lives, which is a really nice parting thought!

Rating 3.5/5

A Match Made in Scandal by Melody Thomas

An obsession that blooms into scandal

Since childhood, Ryan Donally adored Rachel Bailey, though the brilliant, beautiful lass saw him as just another rowdy boy. The years pulled them apart, carrying Rachel to a place of responsibility and respect few women of her time enjoyed ... while Ryan ascended to undreamed-of heights of wealth and success, and bound his heart to another.

Now fate has brought them together once again -- and Rachel sees not the boy she once spurned, but a breathtaking man she desires. Yet Ryan has moved on and is unwilling to forgive, and Rachel hides a secret shame that could destroy everything she has worked for. Then, in one moment of unrestrained passion, the walls between them tumble, and the price they must pay is a marriage neither can afford. But will a sensuous fire too-long resisted bring tragedy ... or will it forge a glorious and undying love?

This is the third book in Melody Thomas' Donally Family series, following on from In My Heart and Must Have Been the Moonlight, and it was once again a good read.

Ryan has always been sweet on Rachel, but it seemed that she was more interested in his older brother. They have been partners for many years, without really having much to do with each other, but when they become rivals instead of partners because of some business decisions that Ryan has made, they begin to see each other in a different light.

With the novel being set in Victorian times, Rachel is a woman struggling to win respect in her chosen field of engineering on her own merits despite the restrictions of the time - and it is a struggle. Many of the plaudits for her schemes have gone to others because her name cannot be the headline name, but she is determined that she will be a success. Unfortunately Ryan's plans have put her own into jeopardy.

Once the two characters get together, the sparks fly, but neither side forgets the end aim even whilst falling in love. When they are forced to become even closer to each other by Ryan's priest brother, they then must decide what really is the most important thing to them.

I really liked Ryan. He was a ruthless business man, and could be quite aloof from most of his family at time, but he did seem to be quite a good father to his young daughter from his first marriage. His first wife had been Rachel's close friend, and that is another difficulty in the growing relationship because Rachel felt somewhat disloyal to her dead friend.

Overall this book was another enjoyable outing from this author. The setting could have almost been contemporary really, with all the mergers and takeovers and things - except for the fact that Rachel couldn't be the open leader of a job.

I now have the fourth and final book in the series on my bookshelf now, and I look forward to reading it, along with the new series that Melody Thomas is writing!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Blogging Without Obligation

Saw this at Bookies blog, but it originally started at For me personally this means it doesn't matter if I am behind in what I want to post!

Here's the original post!

After coming across what seemed to be the 4000th or so post on someone's blog starting with "I'm sorry I haven't posted in awhile." I decided it is time to rethink what makes a good blog and the expectations that have come to be part of it. I am thinking that no one should utter those words again . . .and with that thought I give you Blogging Without Obligation.

If you feel the same way feel free to grab the logo, make a logo or whatever you would like to do!

I release all the logos, thoughts and words mentioned here about this concept into the public domain. Take the idea and run with it. . .or walk away. It is all good.

* Because you shouldn't have to look at your blog like it is a treadmill.

* Because its okay to just say what you have to say. If that makes for a long post, fine. Short post, fine. Frequent post, fine. Infrequent post, fine.

* Because its okay to not always be enthralled with the sound of your own typing.

* Because sometimes less is more.

* Because only blogging when you feel truly inspired keeps up the integrity of your blog.

* Because they are probably not going to inscribe your stat, link and comment numbers on your tombstone.

* Because for most of us blogging is just a hobby. A way to express yourself and connect with others. You should not have to apologize for lapses in posts. Just take a step back and enjoy life, not everything you do has to be "bloggable".

* Because if you blog without obligation you will naturally keep your blog around longer, because it won't be a chore. Plus, just think you will be doing your part to eradicate post pollution. One post at a time. . .

Reading Challenges

I have a post all written up and ready to post where I take the step of committing to joining up with The Pulitzer Project, but then The Complete Booker came up, and so now I am tempted by two challenges. The dilema is to do either one of them, or just do both. The advantage of the Booker is that there are less books to read, but no time limit on either challenge! Decisions, decisions.

In other news, I have a review of Taj: The Woman and the Wonder by Sandra Wilson up on Historical Tapestry. I'm surprised that there haven't been more books written about the love story that inspired the building of the Taj Mahal.

I had a really busy weekend! This weekend was the baby shower and so we had a friend come over from Adelaide for it, and therefore I had to cook dinner for everyone on Saturday night and then the baby shower on Sunday. I'll write up a post about the baby shower, and the games we played a little later! Unfortunately somebody forgot to take photos even though they took their camera with them specifically to do so! Whoops!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Have I mentioned before.....

....that I really like Diana Norman's books?

I have just posted my review of The Sparks Fly Upwards over at Historical Tapestry, and my next read after I finish this one is going to be The Pirate Queen by her! Lucky she has a backlist that I can glom.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Stephen King - Book defacer!

Story from

Stephen King was accused of defacing books in an Alice Springs bookshop. Apparently he walked into a bookstore in the town, and just started signing copies of his books, but eagle eyed customers thought he was defacing the books and reported him to management! The store manager then managed to track him down in the local supermarket for a chat!


This week's Booking Through Thursday question:

One book at a time? Or more than one? If more, are they different types/genres? Or similar?

(We’re talking recreational reading, here—books for work or school don’t really count since they’re not optional.)

I tend to be reading two books at any given time. Generally, there is the one that I am reading on the train each day, and the one that I read just before going to sleep.

They tend to be completely different genres so that there is no chance of getting the characters from one mixed up with the characters of another. More often that not, the bedtime one is a romance...cliched I know but what can I say.

Occasionally, I will also be listening to audio book in the car as well, but whereas I listened to loads of them when I drove to work, now that I catch the train I don't spend very long in the car most days, so I get to read more!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Reading Challenges

One of the things I decided last year is that I definitely was not going to do any challenges this year because I have enough trouble keeping my library list under control let alone adding other lists to the equation. But I have to say that there was a new one posted today that is very tempting.

It's called The Pulitzer Project, and it's aim is to read all of the Pulitzer Prize winning novels. There is a list off all the winners at the link above, and if we are just looking at recent years, I am not doing too badly, having read 4 out of the last 5 winners, but before that...not so good! I am seriously contemplating joining up!

In other news, I have posted my review of The Temple Dancer by John Speed over at Historical Tapestry.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Captain's Lady by Margaret McPhee

She cannot risk exposure

When dashing Lord Nathaniel Hawke rescues a girl from drowning the last thing he expects is for that same girl to turn up on board his ship - disguised as a boy!

For Miss Georgiana Raithwaite, running away seemed her only escape from a cruel impending marriage. Never did she imagine that her disguise would see her scrubbing decks on the high seas.... in extremely close proximity to Lord Nathaniel Hawke! Forbidden desires taunt and tantalise them on their stormy voyage. But with reputations at stake they must keep their secret...

I had never heard of this author before, but when I was looking to borrow The Mysterious Miss M by Diane Gaston from the library, both of these books cames in a 2-in-1 book, and because of my obsessive nature, and the fact that I need to finish a book I decided to read both books! Once I got started on The Captain's Lady, it was no hardship anyway!

Georgiana Raithwaite is on the verge of becoming engaged, an event that should be one of the happiest occasions in the life of a well bought up young lady. Unfortunately for Georgiana, her soon to be fiance is a man who is completely obsessive and very much a bully. He is determined to have Georgiana, even if it can only be by compromising her during a walk along the river near her home. In order to avoid compromising situation with him, Georgiana throws herself into the river, and has to be saved by her neighbour, Nathaniel Hawke. After spending some time recuperating in his family home, Georgiana returns to her own, only to find that her father will not listen to her, and that she is to be married off as soon as practical. What's a girl to do but run away disguised as a boy. Unfortunately, whilst on the run, she is press ganged, and finds herself in service on Captain Hawke's ship.

What follows is the story of how Nathaniel and Georgiana come to deal with their growing attraction whilst Nathaniel tries to protect her true identity from the other sailors, and her reputation. Once they reach Gibraltar, Georgiana can once again be once more kitted out as a lady, and travel back to England, appropriately chaperoned of course. But on her return, she will once more meet her former fiance who is none to pleased to learn that he has lost her to Captain Hawke.

Nathaniel is the very epitomy of a gentleman - charming and polite, dashing and handsome, and despite the events outlined above which do make her sound a little silly, Georgiana is a match for him in many ways! The build up of their relationship is very nicely written. I would say that the villain in this piece is completely two dimensionally obsessive and it is for this reason I didn't mark the book any higher.

I certainly won't mind reading any more books by Margaret McPhee, although she doesn't really seem to have much of a net presence or much of a backlist. From what I can tell there is one other book called Mistaken Mistress which was released last year, and a new one called The Wicked Earl out in September. Unfortunately, I don't think my library has either on catalogue.

Rating 4/5

How about a review?

Haven't done one of those for a while!

Maybe later!

Edited to Add: I did it! Unfortunately it is Historical Fiction so it will be up on Historical Tapestry in the next couple of days! Who knows, maybe I can knock out another one tonight!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Storm in a bookstore?

When I was blog hopping this morning, I came across this post at Smart Bitches about a storm that's erupted here in publishing/book distribution circles about having to pay for the right to have books sold at Angus & Robertson, which is one of the main bookstore chains here.

The post links back to the original item on the Sydney Morning Herald website, and reading through the comments was very interesting. I am not qualified to comment in any other way other than the fact that I am a reader. I therefore have no idea whether it is standard industry practice for smaller publishers and distributors to have to pay for the privilege of having their books sold in the bigger bookstores, or whether by boycotting A & R completely readers will possibly not only be harming the company, but also franchisees who sell under the A & R banner but buy stock independently etc. but the letter that was written by A & R does seem to be very overbearing to say the least!

What reading these articles did make me think about is my book buying habits! I can't remember the last time I bought a book from A & R. It must be a couple of years at least. The reason for that is that they never have very good stock. If you want to read anything that is isn't in the top 50, or has been in the top 50 relatively recently, then you can really forget about it! To be fair, I have to say the same of both Collins bookstores and Dymocks, which are the other two main Australian owned (or should I say started out as Australian owned chains). So, if I am not buying from those stores, where do I buy from? Another comment that came up regularly was about supporting Aussie authors, and this is something that I know I must be a bit better at, but I am trying..I really am!

To be honest, when I am looking to buy a book, I will generally end up going to Borders, or I order online, mainly from Book Depository or Boomerang Books. For romance, it will once again be either of those two, or more likely, romance specialists like Rendezvous or Ever After.

In the comments to the SMH article, there were lots of references to really good independent bookstores in Sydney, but I can only think of one here in Melbourne and that is Readings. The problem with Readings is that I don't go to the places where their stores are very regularly. I used to visit Readings in Carlton quite regularly, but that was when I lived only 15 minutes away from there, so it was nothing to wander down to Carlton on a Sunday morning for brunch, and book browsing. The bonus was that there is a Borders and another bookshop that sells books that the bookstores have sent back (can't think what that is called) across the road as well as good coffee and atmosphere!

The truth is that browsing in bookstores doesn't interest me all that much anymore! I know ... sacrilege! If I am going to a bookstore it is usually for something specific. One of the reasons for this is that if you go to the bookstore too regularly you just see the same things over and over again! Another reason for this is that for the most part I know that I will be able to get most books that I want from the library, and the other reason is that I get all my book recommendations from groups and blogs, and I am probably less likely to actually just pick up a book for no reason. Every now and again something catches my eye, but it doesn't happen all that often! I just can't afford to buy 10 books and only really enjoy one of them! I don't have money to spare, especially given that the interest rates just keep going up and up, and so do other expenses.

So, a question for any Melbourne based bloggers. Are there any bookstores that you all would recommend that are good for a visit?

For everyone else, have your book buying habits changed? Do you buy from independent booksellers, or only at the big chains?

And check out this link for a joke letter of demands from a book distributor!

Thursday, August 09, 2007


This week's Booking Through Thursday question:

Do you have multiple copies of any of your books?
If so, why? Absent-mindedness? You love them that much? First Editions for the shelf, but paperbacks to read?
If not, why not? Not enough space? Not enough money? Too sensible to do something so foolish?

At the moment I have two copies of one book, but I think that that is about it! That book is A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole. I bought it a while ago, and then I won a signed copy over on Dear Author so now I have two. I think I have a home for the unsigned copy but I am just waiting to hear for sure!

As for why I don't have more, there are a couple of reasons. I have no room or money to buy on multiple copies, and also I keep a spreadsheet so that I know what books I already own so I don't accidentally buy two!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Booker Prize 2007 Longlist

Wow...I must be more out of it than I thought! I've only heard of two of these (On Chesil Beach and Animal's People)...and read none of them! Off to see which of them are available from the library! (Edited to add: The library has 5, so I've requested one, and will see how we go!)

Darkmans by Nicola Barker

Self Help by Edward Docx

The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng

The Gathering by Anne Enright

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

Gifted by Nikita Lalwani

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn

Consolation by Michael Redhill

Animal’s People by Indra Sinha

Winnie & Wolf by A N Wilson

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Baby shower games

I am going to be an aunt for the first time towards the end of September, and so in a couple of weeks time I am co-hosting a baby shower. Only problem is, I haven't been to one for years! In fact, the last one I remember going to was for a child who is now about 17 years old!

So my question is this.....Do you know any fun baby shower games that we can play? And what kind of presents do you buy for a baby shower when you don't know whether it is going to be a boy or a girl? And how would those women walk in those shoes if they were real! I can't wear high heels these days and I am not even pregnant!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Settings that capture the imagination

I have today posted a review of a book called The End of Sorrows: a Novel of the Siege of Leningrad in WWII over at Historical Tapestry.

This book was set in Leningrad during WWII when the city was under siege of over 1 million of the 3 million residents died. This is a setting that I have read several books about over the last couple of years since reading The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons, and I am sure to read other books that I come across in the future with this setting as well.

Are there any books that you have read that have sparked your interest in a particular place or time?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Letters!!! We get letters...

This week's Booking Through Thursday question:

Have you ever written an author a fan letter?

Did you get an answer?

Did it spark a conversation? A meeting?

(And, sure, I suppose that e-mails DO count . . . but I’d say no to something like a message board on which the author happens to participate.)

I don't know that I will ever be that great a fan girl, whether we are talking about for books or music. I was never one of those teenage girls who screamed at the sight of A-Ha, or Kids in the Kitchen, or Take That or whoever the hot band of the moment was. I am the same when it comes to authors. I will pimp them to anyone who listens, but I don't really write to them, or anything like that.

I do have a little bit of interaction with a couple of authors not in forums, but that has been more from a commercial transaction type of thing. I also participate in a couple of author forums, so I do have a little interaction there as well!

Maybe I should think about who I would write a letter too!

Stroke of Midnight Anthology

Four of romance's most intriguing authors have come together to create a mesmerizing anthology— unforgettable tales of vampires, shapeshifters, and were-wolves. At the heart of these deeply sensual tales are everyday people facing extraordinary events—men and women thrown together by fate and an irresistible desire. In this world, your eyes can betray you as myth becomes reality, curses are vanquished, and love is the only weapon that can stand in the face of evil. In this world, there is a moment when passion and forbidden desire collide at the... Stroke of Midnight.

I picked up this anthology because it contained the next story in the Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Winter Born by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Two enemy Were-Panthers discover that fate has destined they become lovers. Pandora must learn to trust Dante's foreign nature. But as she slowly succumbs to the truest passion she has ever known, dark forces have already set out to reclaim her...

I'm not really sure why but this DH short story didn't really do anything for me. Pandora is a young were-panther who has just gone into her first heat - a very dangerous time. When she goes to Dragon*Con to try and find Ash to try and be protected from the pack of were-panthers who would take her and basically destroy her life. At the same Dragon*Con are Dante and his 3 brothers, only one of whom is mated. Basically as soon as Dante and Pandora meet each other, they are in bed because they both can't resist their animal instincts, and then they are basically bonded forever, they just have to choose whether or not they want to make their vows. There's a lot of action packed in this story, but just didn't really ever draw me in really.

Born of the Night by Amanda Ashley
When Lady Shanara Montiori is taken hostage, she learns that the rumors about her captor are true. Lord Reyes is afflicted with the dark curse of the werewolf. Still, Shanara can't fight the attraction they both feel. Will their love break the curse-or feed its powerful hold?

I've only read one other novella from Amanda Ashley, and I really didn't like it! This one was better.

Make It Last Forever by L. A. Banks
An innocent mistake forces the beautiful Tara onto a mission to save herself from the dark fate that awaits her. Salvation comes in the form of a seductive biker with a heart of gold. But will surrendering to their ripe attraction unleash a danger even she cannot control?

I haven't read any L. A. Banks before. I read the first chapter of this novella, and thought WTF? I very nearly put the book down at that point because it just seemed such a strange story, but I kept reading, and was glad that I did. In the end this was the best story in the book - mainly because I haven't read a story like it before. Tara is on the point of being turned to vampire, and is trying to get to her Native American grandmother's house to try to stop the turning from happen, but along the way the undead are trying to stop her. Rider is a guardian, but doesn't know it yet, and as he falls in love with Tara, and tries to save her, his life changes.

Red Moon Rising by Lori Handeland
Novelist Maya Alexander's peace is shattered when she is stalked by a Navaho skinwalker who has taken on the guise of a wolf. Her only hope is the mysterious Clay Philips. In his arms, she seeks protection-but as the red moon rises, no one is safe from the danger that lurks nearby...

This one was interesting. Lori Handeland is another new to me author, and I didn't mind her novella. I think it is part of a series, but can't quite figure out where it fits!

The idea that there were Jager-Sucher's (basically paranormal hunters) out there to try and track down paranormal creatures - some of which were ancient creatures, and others created by the Nazis was interesting. Maya was apparently gifted in that she could hear the winds, and Clay has to track down the skinwalker, and protect her, whilst trying to stop himself from falling in love with her, because the last people he loved were killed because of him.

Overall, this was a pretty lacklustre collection, but it does mean that I can now move onto the next book in the Sherrilyn Kenyon series, so that's okay with me!

Rating 3.5/5


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