Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Banned Book Week 2008; pt. 2

American Booksellers Association list of most frequently challenged books.

10 Most Challenged Books of 2007 according to the American Library Association. Website accessed September. 30, 2008

1) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell

2) The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier

3) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes

4) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman

5) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain

6) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker

7) "TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle

8) "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou

9) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris

10) "The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky

September Monthly Synopsis

Over the course of the month, I managed to finish ten books- an amazing amount for me, especially factoring in my archive project. I continue to be desperately behind in the reviews, now I'm 17 titles in arrears. Seven from August and all of September.

Listed in random order.

1. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox; Maggie O’Farrell

2. Dark Curse; Christine Feehan

3. Mindless Eating; Brian Wansink

4. Words in a French Life; Kristin Espinasse

5. Angus, Thongs & Full Frontal Snogging; Louise Rennison

6. Secrets of a Summer Night; Lisa Kleypas

7. It Happened One Autumn; Lisa Kleypas

8. Devil in Winter; Lisa Kleypas

9. Lookin’ Back, Texas; Leanna Ellis

10. The Eye of Jade; Diane Wei Liang

Heart of the Hunter & Heart of the Flame; Tina St. John

Both of these are written by Tina St. John, an author I remembered enjoying from the pre blog era (which feels further in the past than it really is). I found these in the UBS and then they languished in my TBR until I finally rescued them in August. I believe there are actually three in this group, although I’m undecided about whether or not I want to look for the remainder. These were published by Ballantine in 2004 and 2005. These are light paranormal medieval romances, a rarity within the paranormal subgenre. No images for these as I couldn't find any that weren't blurry.

Heart of the Hunter

The first in the group, this one is set in early 1275 England and France. Lady Ariana’s brother has disappeared and she’s received a ransom note demanding she bring her brother’s papers to France. She shows up on London’s docks with a single guard, very little money, no plan and no resources. Her guard is murdered, her money stolen and she hasn’t even set sail. Ariana drove me bananas within the first chapter, but I continued to read because Braedon le Chasseur fascinated me. Needless to say, Braedon rescues Ariana over and over and over. I was intrigued though, by Braedon’s history, by his past, by his scar.
Average but flawed.

Heart of the Flame

Set three months after Heart of the Hunter, Kenrick wants to avenge his friends’, the Greycliffs, death and find a fabled chalice that is a vessel of power. He comes across a gravely wounded young woman named Haven, problem number one was her name, and takes her to his demesne to heal. Once she’s not on death’s doorstep, we’re told Haven has, conveniently, memory problems. Haven can’t remember exactly who and what she is. Kenrick figures he’ll just keep her prisoner until she ‘fesses up, and then doesn’t see why this might be an issue, but he’s sure she’s the key both to the murder and to finding the chalice.
This book was a vast improvement over the first one, for me, because Haven is that rare female character, a villaness with a cause. We watch both Haven and Kenrick change perspective and come together. Their world isn’t as black and white at the end as it was at the beginning.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lookin' Back Texas; Leanna Ellis

Ms. Ellis is a new to me author who is published by B & H Publishing. This is her newest title, a Christian contemporary women’s fiction novel set in a tiny Texas hamlet. This is my first foray into contemporary Christian fiction, and I found my viewpoint as a reader changed a little bit as I read this. When I read secular fiction, the morality of the characters, their viewpoint and their actions is less of a factor. I don’t set morals and ethics aside, but unless there is an egregious event I don’t weigh the characters’ morality. While reading Lookin’ Back Texas, though, that I filtered events and people through the lens of my faith in a way that I wouldn’t otherwise.

The plot is superficially uncomplicated: one sunny California day Suzanne Mullins takes a brief, mysterious phone call from her father, Archie Davidson, who lives out in Luckenbach Texas. Worried and perplexed Suzanne flies back to Texas the next day and shows up on her childhood doorstep unannounced only to find her mother receiving condolence callers offering sympathy for Archie’s death. The dad Suzanne spoke to just the day before. Ms. Ellis plots a tight storyline with quickly developing events that, while are a bit much to swallow in such a short time frame, is also realistic and believable given the setting of such a tiny town.

My impression of Betty Lynne Davidson (Suzanne’s mother) is of an overly controlling, perfectionistic, high strung, manipulative woman who is primarily concerned with her place in the local social strata, secondary to all would be the nurturing of her husband and daughter. While Betty Lynne leads Suzanne around by her heartstrings, Suzanne reverts to her traditional childhood role- mediator. It’s a universal issue, family controversies often lead members back into their childhood roles no matter that they’re adults now and this reversion is less than helpful. Back in Texas Suzanne finds that returning to visit brings to light a secret she herself has papered over and tried very hard to bury. When Mike and Oliver, Suzanne’s husband and son, show up unexpectedly Suzanne’s anxiety ratchets up immeasurably.

The themes of deception, secret keeping, truth and lies and the requirements of duty are tightly woven into the narrative. I was troubled by Ms. Ellis’ choice to have Suzanne fret so much over honoring her father and mother and less over bearing false witness and hypocrisy, specifically in relation to the example Suzanne sets for her son Oliver, but also in relation to her duty to the community of Luckenbach. Scriptures tell us that hypocrites aren’t to be borne and that it is the parents’ responsibility to teach a child faith ethics and morality. Ms. Ellis’ emphasis on taking responsibility for one’s actions and the importance of truth in all things ultimately rings true, even if I found Suzanne’s motivations and actions troubling.

If you throw several large stones consecutively into a pond they will make overlapping ripples and unexpected patterns that travel over the surface of the water. Lookin’ Back Texas is like those ripples- some of it is expected and some of it isn’t. Ms. Ellis has written a tightly plotted, believeable story with characters that one may find hard to like, but who are always human beings whose life journey is both rocky and smooth and, at the end, healing and redemptive. I would be very interested in a future novel with Suzanne and Mike and Oliver if it deals with the fallout from this story.

Image found on Ms. Ellis' website, click link in title above.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's Banned Book Week

This year it's between September 27-October 4. I found the following list on their website (click link in the title above), citation below the list. I noted which ones I've already read. I'm thinking about adding another few to my library request list, perhaps I can find one that's already on the list for the Nobel Challenge I've joined.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck Read this one

The Color Purple, Alice Walker

Ulysses, James Joyce

Beloved, Toni Morrison

The Lord of the Flies, William Golding Read this one

1984, George Orwell Read this one

Lolita, Vladmir Nabokov

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck

Catch-22, Joseph Heller

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner

A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway

Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

Their Eyes were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison Read this one

Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison

Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

Native Son, Richard Wright Read this one

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey

Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway

The Call of the Wild, Jack London Read this one

Go Tell it on the Mountain, James Baldwin Read this one

All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren

The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien Read this one

The Jungle, Upton Sinclair

Lady Chatterley's Lover, DH Lawrence Read this one

A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess

Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut

A Separate Peace, John Knowles Read this one

Women in Love, DH Lawrence

Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller

Rabbit, Run; John Updike

"Banned and or Challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Co," American Library Association, March 29, 2007.
http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/bannedbooksweek/bbwlinks/reasonsbanned.cfm (Accessed September 26, 2008)
Document ID: 367742

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman: Rest in Peace

One of the actors by whom all others will be judged, and one of my favorites, Paul Newman died yesterday at his home. He will be sorely missed, although he will live on through his children and his work for all time. Godspeed Paul & God bless your family in this painful time. Image found on Wikimedia

Friday, September 26, 2008


I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them or return them. All books are traded or returned unless I specifically say I've kept them.


Ladies of Liberty; Cokie Roberts

True Crime

A Bitter Brew, Christine Young


The Pact, Drs. Davis, Jenkins & Hunt

Honeymoon With my Brother, Franz Wisner

Travel Narrative

Honeymoon With my Brother, Franz Wisner

Words in a French Life; Kristin Espinasse


Messiah Interviews; Jerry J. Pollock

Literary Criticism

Beyond Heaving Bosoms; Sarah Wendell & Candy Tan


Outliers; Malcolm Gladwell

Science Fiction & Fantasy


I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them or return them. All books are traded or returned unless I specifically say I've kept them.

Science Fiction

Catch the Lightning, Catherine Asaro Cross indexed in science fiction romance

The Moon's Shadow; Catherine Asaro

Quantum Rose; Catherine Asaro Cross indexed in science fiction romance

The Ruby Dice; Catherine Asaro

A Civil Campaign; Lois McMaster Bujold

Cordelia's Honor, Lois McMaster Bujold

Diplomatic Immunity; Lois McMaster Bujold

Komarr; Lois McMaster Bujold

Miles In Love; Lois McMaster Bujold

Miles,Mutants and Microbes; Lois McMaster Bujold

Miles, Mystery & Mayhem, Lois McMaster Bujold

Young Miles; Lois McMaster Bujold

Hope's Folly; Linnea Sinclair

The Killing of Worlds; Scott Westerfeld

The Risen Empire; Scott Westerfeld


A Crown of Thorns; Avery, Fiona

Minion, L A Banks

Black Jewels Trilogy, Anne Bishop

Daughter of the Blood; Anne Bishop

The Invisible Ring, Anne Bishop

Pillars of the World, Anne Bishop

Tangled Webs; Anne Bishop

The Curse of Chalion, Lois McMaster Bujold

The Hallowed Hunt, Lois McMaster Bujold

Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold

The Sharing Knife: Beguilement; Lois McMaster Bujold

Winterfair Gifts; Lois McMaster Bujold

Scar Night; Alan Campbell

The Magicians Guild; Trudi Canavan

Kushiel's Justice; Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel's Mercy; Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel's Scion, Jacqueline Carey

The Faery Reel, ed. Datlow & Windling

Waifs and Strays, Charles de Lint

American Gods, Neil Gaiman

Good Omens; Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

A Lick of Frost, Laurell K. Hamilton Cross indexed in Erotica

Mistral's Kiss, Laurell K Hamilton Cross indexed in Erotica

The Summer Country, James A. Hetley

The Assassin's Apprentice, Robin Hobb

Silver’s Edge, Anne Kelleher

Silver’s Bane, Anne Kelleher

Shadow of the Lion, Mercedes Lackey

The Wizard of London, Mercedes Lackey

Byzantium; Stephen Lawhead

Solstice Wood, Patricia McKillip

; Something Rich and Strange; McKillip, Patricia

Sunshine, Robin McKinley

Dark Mirror, Juliet Marillier

Melusine; Sarah Monette

Dark Moon Defender; Sharon Shinn

Fortune and Fate; Sharon Shinn

Mystic and Rider; Sharon Shinn

Reader and Raelynx; Sharon Shinn

Summers at Castle Auburn; Sharon Shinn

The Thirteenth House; Sharon Shinn

Wrapt in Crystal; Sharon Shinn

The Shapechanger's Wife, Sharon Shinn

Midwinter; Matthew Sturges

The War of the Flowers; Tad Williams


I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them. All books are traded unless I specifically say I've kept them.

A Lick of Frost, Laurell K. Hamilton Cross indexed in Fantasy

Mistral's Kiss, Laurell K Hamilton Cross indexed in Fantasy\

Passion, Lisa Valdez Cross indexed in historical romance

Diet & Health

I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them or return them. All books are traded or returned unless I specifically say I've kept them.

Skinny Bitch, Freedman and Barnouin

The Skinny; Rayni Joan

In Defense of Food; Michael Pollan

Fat Girl's Guide to Life, Wendy Shanker

Contemporary Fiction

I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade or return them. All books are traded or returned unless I specifically say I've kept them.

P.S. I Love You, Candice Ahern

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society; Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The People of the Book; Geraldine Brooks

Lookin' Back, Texas; Leanna Ellis

Ruby's Slippers; Leanna Ellis

Eat, Pray, Love; Elizabeth Gilbert

Five Quarters of the Orange; Joanne Harris

Skeletons at the Feast; Chris Bohjalian

The Queen of Sleepy Eye; Patti Hill

Turtle Diary, Russell Hoban

This Charming Man; Marian Keyes

City of Joy, Dominique Lapierre

Free Food for Millionaires, Min Jin Lee

The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns; Elizabeth Leiknes

Rooftops of Tehran; Mahbod Seraji

A Rose for the Crown; Anne Easter Smith


I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them. All books are traded unless I specifically say I've kept them.

A Right to be Hostile; McGruder, Aaron Comic Strip

They Call Me Naughty Lola, ed. David Rose "Looking for" singles ads from London Book Review

Mysteries & Thrillers

I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them or return them. All books are traded or returned unless I specifically say I've kept them.


Silent Night; Mary Higgins Clark

Face Down Beside St. Anne's Well, Kathy Lynn Emerson

Mistress of the Art of Death; Ariana Franklin

The Bastard's Tale, Margaret Frazer

The Hunter's Tale, Margaret Frazer

The Sempster's Tale, Margaret Frazer

The Traitor's Tale, Margaret Frazer

The Widow's Tale, Margaret Frazer

A Play of Isaac, Margaret Frazer

Bone of Contention; Susanna Gregory

When Gods Die; CS Harris

Where Serpents Sleep; CS Harris

Why Mermaids Sing; CS Harris

The Draining Lake; Arnaldur Indridason

The Merchant's Partner, Michael Jecks

The Girl of His Dreams; Donna Leon

The Sword of Shame; Medieval Murderers

The Dragon King's Palace, Laura Joh Rowland

The Subtle Serpent, Peter Tremayne

Suffer Little Children, Peter Tremaine

Suffer Little Children, Peter Tremaine

The Subtle Serpent, Peter Tremayne


The Midnight Choir; Gene Kerrigan


The Charlemagne Pursuit; Steve Berry

Romanov Prophecy, Steve Berry

Dirt; Mark LaFlamme

Certain Jeopardy; Cpt. Jeff Struecker & Alton Gansky

Young Adult- All types

I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them or return them. All books are traded or returned unless I specifically say I've kept them.

Fever, 1793; Laurie H. AndersonHistorical Fiction; Set in Philadelphia PA

Ironside, Holly Black Fantasy; fae, set in metro NYC

Tithe, Holly Black Fantasy; fae, set in metro NYC

Valiant, Holly Black Fantasy; fae, set in metro NYC

Faerie Wars, Herbie Brennan Fantasy/Alternate Reality; set in UK, fae

Darkhenge, Catherine Fisher Contemporary Fantasy/Alternate reality, set in UK

Inkheart, Cornelia Funke Intermediate Reader, fantasy

Ithaka, Adele Geras Mythological Ancient Greece

Blood Red Horse, K.M. Grant Historical Fiction, Crusades, set in UK

Green Jasper, K.M. Grant Historical Fiction, Crusades, set in UK

Evernight; Claudia Gray Contemporary coming of age-vampire adventure

Everything on a Waffle; Horvath, Polly Intermediate Reader; Grief, set in Canada

Wildwood Dancing, Juliet Marillier Fairytale, set in Western Balkans or Romania

Hunter's Moon, O.R. Melling Fantasy, fae, set in Ireland

The Summer King, O.R. Melling Fantasy, fae set in Ireland

Angus,Thongs & Full Frontal Snogging; Louise Rennison Chicklet lit, contemporary, set in England

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; J.K. Rowling Fantasy/alternate Reality, set in UK

A College of Magics, C. Stevermer Fantasy, historical Fiction, set in UK

Peep, Scott Westerfeld Horror/Alternate Reality Set in contemporary metro NYC

Sorcery & Cecelia, Wrede & Stevermer
Alternate Reality/Historical Mystery, set in Regency Great Britain

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Contemporary Romance

I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them. All books are traded unless I specifically say I've kept them.

Frisco's Kid, Suzanne Brockmann

Monday, September 22, 2008

Control is an illusion

Ok, so if you've scrolled down the page or visited over the weekend you've seen my "little project." For some reason, unknown even to me, I decided I need to organize my archives by subgenre in addition to the alpha by last name I've always had. No, I don't know what possessed me and now that I've begun I can't stop.

Yesterday afternoon one of the kids asked me, "Are you sure you double checked all of your first year? You might have missed some." At first I was just going to give them a pat, "Of course I double checked my archives. I'm your mother, I'm thorough!" But of course, that's not true. I hadn't checked the archives of my first year. When I began my blog I just nattered on about whatever came into my head. I didn't have a specific format or subject in mind- until my second year. So if I felt like reviewing a book I finished, I did. If I didn't feel like reviewing I merely mentioned the title and the author so that I'd be able to check back later and count them all up or prevent myself from buying multiple copies or whatever.

Fast forward to yesterday. I'd organized and reorganized my lists (which grew and grew like bunnies in the spring). After I'd posted the romance lists and added the links to my sidebar I went through my first year archives. Now, you know I missed plenty. I'm only human after all. Any guesses? One or two or three or five? Ok, I could handle it, but 21?! I nearly fell off my chair laughing at myself. Then I wanted to cry in frustration. By then it was quite late and I was tired, so I took myself off to bed. This morning I went back through the archives again and made lists and notes and all so that tomorrow I can add them to the archives.

When I copied and pasted all of the archives into MS Word, it was 28 pages! And that was before I found the ones I missed. I was surprised and a little intimidated, but I figured it'll make things user friendly. I hope. I still have to create all of the non romance archive lists, fewer titles in total but more lists. It may take the rest of the week before I'm done as I have other things to do during the day. Honest, I don't surf all day. Of course, whatever I want to do has to wait during prime homework time, so that might delay things too. We'll see.

The family has asked me all kinds of other questions, like how many pages in total have you read since you started the blog? How many books in all? I'm not proficient in Excel, like Rosario, so I don't keep those kinds of stats. Maybe I should though. I'm hopeful that once I'm done it'll be easy to keep up with. We shall see.

Meantime I received a packet of books in the mail, so I have those to look forward too as well. The life of a book blogger is never dull.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Romantic Suspense

I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them. All books are traded unless I specifically say I've kept them.

All through the Night; Suzanne Brockmann Christmas book

Force of Nature; Suzanne Brockmann

Black Ice, Anne Stuart

Time Travel Romances

I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them. All books are traded unless I specifically say I've kept them.

Charming the Highlander, Janet Chapman

Much Ado in the Moonlight, Lynn Kurland

My Heart Stood Still, Lynn Kurland

Kiss of the Highlander, Karen Marie Moning Cross indexed in Fae, Fairy & Magical Creatures as well as Historical Romance

Dark Highlander,Karen Marie Moning Cross indexed in Fae, Fairy & Magical Creature

Beyond the Highland Mist, Karen Marie Moning Cross indexed in Fae, Fairy & Magical Creature as well as Historical Romance

Touched by Time, Leane Shawler Cross indexed in Traditional Regency

Sci Fi & Fantasy Romance


I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them or return them. All books are traded or returned unless I specifically say I've kept them.

Science Fiction Romance

Catch the Lightning, Catherine Asaro Cross indexed in science fiction

Quantum Rose; Catherine Asaro Cross indexed in science fiction

Irresistible Forces, Anthology ed. Lois McMaster Bujold, C. Asaro, M.J. Putney, Deb Stover, Jo Beverly, Jennifer Roberson

Hope's Folly; Linnea Sinclair Cross indexed in Science fiction & fantasy

Fantasy Romance

The Kiss of the Snow Queen in The Queen in Winter by Claire Delacroix, et al

Seraphim; Michele Hauf

A Whisper of Spring in The Queen in Winter by Lynn Kurland, et al

A Gift of Wings in The Queen in Winter by Sarah Monette, et al

When Winter Comes in The Queen in Winter by Sharon Shinn, et al

Lord of the Fading Lands; C L Wilson Cross indexed in Fae romance

Paranormal Romances

I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them or return them. All books are traded or returned unless I specifically say I've kept them.


Bride of the Mist, Christina Skye

The Ruby Ghost; June Calvin Cross referenced in Traditional Regency


A Kiss of Midnight; Lara Adrian

A Kiss of Crimson; Lara Adrian

Dark Celebration, Christine Feehan

Dark Demon, Christine Feehan

Fantasy Lover, Sherilyn Kenyon

Night Pleasures, Sherilyn Kenyon

Kiss of the Night, Sherrilyn Kenyon

Night Play, Sherilyn Kenyon

Seize the Night, Sherilyn Kenyon

Master of the Knight, Angela Knight

The Immortal Hunter; Lynsay Sands

Love Bites, Lynsay Sands

Tall, Dark & Hungry; Lynsay Sands

The Companion, Susan Squires more info here

If Angels Burn; Lynn Viehl

Dark Need; Lynn Viehl

Dark Lover, JR Ward

Lover Awakened; J.R. Ward

Lover Eternal, J R Ward


Immortal Warrior; Lisa Hendrix

Dark Side of the Moon, Sherrilyn Kenyon


Dangerous Tides, Christine Feehan

Oceans of Fire, Christine Feehan

The Dark Lord, Patricia Simpson

Other Paranormal

Have Glass Slipper Will Travel, Lisa Cach

Atlantis Rising; Alyssa Day

Deadly Game, Christine Feehan Psychic Abilities

Do You Believe? Ann Lawrence Supernatural beings

Master of the Knight, Angela Knight

Heart of the Hunter; Tina St. John Cross indexed in medieval romance

Heart of the Flame; Tina St. John Cross indexed in medieval romance

Fae & Magical Creature Romances


I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them or return them. All books are traded unless I specifically say I've kept them.

Listed here are romances in which the primary relationship is between a fae/fairy/magical creature and a human or between two fae. Other titles that have these elements as part of the story are listed separately.

Happily Ever After, Marylyle RogersCross indexed in Historical Romance

Stronger Than Magic; Heather Cullman Cross indexed in Historical Romance

Lord of the Fading Lands; CL Wilson Cross indexed in science Fiction & Fantasy Romance

Fae, etc. as elements of a romance

A Sprinkle of Fairy Dust; Anthology: Bevarly, Crawford, Rogers, Shayne Cross indexed in historical romance

Lavender Blue; Sandra Heath Cross indexed in traditional regency

Marigold's Marriages; Sandra Heath more info
hereCross indexed in traditional regency

Kiss of the Highlander, Karen Marie Moning Cross indexed in Historical Romance & Time Travel

Dark Highlander,Karen Marie Moning Cross indexed in Time Travel

Beyond the Highland Mist, Karen Marie Moning Cross indexed in Historical Romance and Time Travel

Heart of the Sea; Nora Roberts

Jewel of the Sun; Nora Roberts

Tears of the Moon; Nora Roberts

Fairytale/Mythological Romances

I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them. All books are traded unless I specifically say I've kept them.


Retelling or reinterpretation of a fairytale

The Fairy Godmother, Mercedes Lackey

Wildwood Dancing, Juliet Marillier 12 Dancing Princesses


Directly involves or reinterprets a myth or mythology or legend

Goddess of the Rose; P.C. Cast

Goddess of Spring, P C Cast

To Hell With Love; Sherri Erwin

Fatal Attraction, Alicia Fields

Love Underground, Alicia Fields

Fairytale or Mythological Plot Elements, Setting, etc.

Cupid's Mistake; Karen Harbaugh Cross indexed in traditional regency

Fantasy Lover, Sherilyn Kenyon Cross indexed in Vampires, Werecreatures, etc.

Night Pleasures, Sherilyn Kenyon Cross indexed in Vampires, Werecreatures, etc.

Kiss of the Night, Sherrilyn Kenyon Cross indexed in Vampires, Werecreatures, etc.

Night Play, Sherilyn Kenyon Cross indexed in Vampires, Werecreatures, etc.

Seize the Night, Sherilyn Kenyon Cross indexed in Vampires, Werecreatures, etc.

Master of the Knight, Angela Knight Cross indexed in Vampires, Werecreatures, etc.

Fortune's Fool, Mercedes Lackey

One Good Knight, Mercedes Lackey

Traditional Regencies


I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them or return them . All books are traded or returned unless I specifically say I've kept them.

It Happened One Night; Anthology (Balogh, Laurens, D'Alessandro & Hern)

Aunt Dimity and the Duke, Nancy Atherton

Lady Silence, Blair Bancroft

A Noble Resolve, Sara Blayne

Theodora, Sara Blayne

The Devil's Due, Rita Boucher

Her Perfect Earl, Bethany Brooks

The Ruby Ghost; June Calvin Cross indexed in paranormal romance (ghosts)

The Earl's Prize; Nicola Cornick
Lady Scandal, Shannon Donnelly

Under the Kissing Bough, Shannon Donnelly

Love’s Reward, Jean Ross Ewing

Valentine's Change of Heart, Elisabeth Fairchild

A Sister's Quest; JoAnne Ferguson

A Daughter's Destiny; JoAnne Ferguson more info

A Singular Lady, Megan Frampton

Cupid's Mistake; Karen Harbaugh Cross indexed in mythological romance

The Scent of Lilacs, Barbara Hazard

Lavender Blue; Sandra Heath Cross indexed in fae romance

Marigold's Marriages; Sandra Heath more info
here Cross indexed in fae romance

Elizabeth's Mistake; Emily Hendrickson

Lord Nick’s Folly, Emily Hendrickson

Pursuing Priscilla, Emily Hendrickson

Drusilla's Downfall, Emily Hendrickson

Miss Timothy Perseveres, Emily Hendrickson

Tabitha's Tangle, Emily Hendrickson

Miss Haycroft's Suitors, Emily Hendrickson

One Good Turn, Carla Kelly

Lord Draggoner's Wife, Lynn Kerstan

A Bird in Hand, Alison Lane

Birds of a Feather, Allison Lane

Devalls Angel, Alison Lane

The Bedeviled Duke; Judith Lansdowne

Just Impossible, Judith Lansdowne

Just Perfect, Judith Lansdowne

Just in Time; Judith Lansdowne

The Mystery Kiss, Judith Lansdowne

Lord Nightengale's Debut, Judith Landsowne

Lord Nightengale’s Triumph, Judith Lansdowne

Four in Hand; Stephanie Laurens

Lady Leprechaun, Melinda McRae

A Christmas Kiss, Elizabeth Mansfield

The Magnificent Masquerade, Elizabeth Mansfield

Winter Wonderland, Elizabeth Mansfield

A Passionate Endeavor, Sophia Nash

Just Say Yes, Myretta Robens

The Last of the Winter Roses, Jeanne Savery

The Perfect Husband, Jeanne Savery

Touched by Time, Leane Shawler

A Rake's Redemption; Donna Simpson

Moonlight and Mischief, Rhonda Woodward

Medieval Romance

I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them. All books are traded unless I specifically say I've kept them.

A Knight's Vow; Anthology: Campbell, Kurland, Potter, Simmons

Bewitching, Jill Barnett

Fire Song, Catherine Coulter

Earth Song, C. Coulter

Secret Song, C.Coulter

Warrior's Song, Catherine Coulter

Beauty, Claire Delacroix, more info here

Once A Knight, Christina Dodd

Lord of the Mist; Ann Lawrence

Dark Champion, Kinley MacGregor

Sword of Darkness; Kinley MacGregor

Beyond Temptation, Mary Reed McCall

Heart of the Hunter, Tina St. John Cross indexed in paranormal

Heart of the Flame; Tina St. John Cross indexed in paranormal

The Faery Bride, Lisa Ann Verge

Historical Romance Archive

I do not 'grade' books I read. I either keep them or trade them or return them. All books are traded or returned unless I specifically say I've kept them.

Intimate Enemies, Shana Abe

A Sprinkle of Fairy Dust; Anthology: Bevarly, Crawford, Rogers, Shayne Cross indexed in fae romance

Duke of Sin, Adele Ashworth

Under the Mistletoe, Mary Balogh

The Painted Rose, Birdsell

Lord of Scoundrels; Loretta Chase

Bewitched, Heather Cullman

Stronger Than Magic; Heather Cullman Cross indexed in Fae, Fairy & Magical Creatures

A Well Favored Gentleman; Christina Dodd

Wicked; Shannon Drake

An Invitation to Sin; Suzanne Enoch

Sin & Sensibility, Suzanne Enoch

Devil Takes A Bride, Gaelen Foley

Rebellious Desire, Julie Garwood

The Perfect Rake; Anne Gracie

The Perfect Waltz; Anne Gracie

Seducing the Prince; Patricia Grasso

To Love A Princess; Patricia Grasso

The Bride Sale, Candice Hern

The Sinner; Madeline Hunter

Duchess in Love, Eloisa James

Fool in Love, Eloisa James

Much Ado About You, Eloisa James

The Magnificent Rogue, Iris Johansen

The Wind Dancer, Iris Johansen

Veil of the Night, Lydia Joyce

Into the Wind, Katherine Kingsley

No Greater Love; Katherine Kingsley

Dreaming of You, Lisa Kleypas

Stranger in my Arms; Lisa Kleypas

Rebel Passion; Betina Krahn

Devil's Bride, Stephanie Laurens

Four in Hand; Stephanie Laurens

A Lady of His Own, Stephanie Laurens

A Rake's Vow, Stephanie Laurens

The Duel, Barbara Metzger

Beyond the Highland Mist, Karen Marie Moning Cross indexed in Time Travel and Fae Fairies and Magical Creatures

Kiss of the Highlander, Karen Marie Moning Cross referenced in Time Travel and Fae, Fairies &Magical Creatures

To Tame A Highland Warrior, Karen Marie Moning

The Prisoner; Karen Monk

The Secret Diary of Miss Miranda Cheever; Julia Quinn

When He Was Wicked; Julia Quinn

Above All Others, Karen Ranney

Happily Ever After, Marylyle Rogers Cross indexed in Fae Fairy and Magical Creatures

Hidden Honor; Anne Stuart

To Love A Dark Lord, Anne Stuart

Passion; Lisa Valdeza Cross indexed in erotica

Friday, September 19, 2008

Female Solidarity

I came across this article today. Never mind the title. Go and read it and come back. This post is not an attack on Islam or a commentary about the wearing of different types of veils. Click here to see graphics of the different types of veils. Found on BBC News. Basic information about Islam here.

These ladies just touched my heart today. They sound so lonely. Powerless in even the smallest decisions- to wear a veil or to remain uncovered in their own homes, to walk in their neighborhood unaccompanied, the ability to have their legal testimony equal that of a man (it is my understanding that in some countries a woman's testimony is only fractionally weighted as a man's), the right to vote. Not to have to ask permission for the littlest things- lunch out with a friend, to hold a job. Never mind all of the political problems that separate us, women everywhere should have the same access to food, education, power over their own bodies, equal say in familial and intimate relationships.

It sounds like the only full freedom they have is in their thoughts. I understand that the form of Islam in Saudi Arabia is one of the strictest in the world. But what are the differences between what the faith teaches and what are the cultural norms? Obviously, it is easy to conflate Islam and the culture but they are different. There's so much misunderstanding and misinformation between our countries, I fear there won't be peace until we can breach the walls we have built between each other.

Women here in the US have only had the right to vote since 1920 and the right to own property outright, across the country generally speaking, since 1900. Women's suffrage around the world is still relatively young. Western women ought not be so smug, we've traveled a long hard road to win the freedoms we have. What my daughter takes for granted was once unthinkable. We women need to learn to stand together, not pull each other down.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's Book Blogger Appreciation Week

This is the inaugural year of Book Blogger Appreciation Week. I found out about it too late to nominate anyone, and then forgot to make a note of it, and thus I've missed the first few days. Looks like Amy's is a place to put on your feed reader or your blogroll or both in order to keep up with the suggestions and ideas.

The People of the Book; Geraldine Brooks

Image found on Warren County (IL) Public Library

Published by Viking this year, The People of the Book was written by Geraldine Brooks who recently won the Pulitzer for her previous book March. I’ve not read March mainly due to uncertainty about if I’d be able to set aside my feelings and opinions about the book his character comes from, ie: he’s the dad in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. After I finished this one, though, I think I may borrow March and see just what Ms. Brooks has done with him. I am very very pleased I picked up TPotB. It’s an engrossing story about obsession and deception and preserving history and family expectations. About lies and truth and motivation.

The plot seems pretty basic on the face of it: a rare five hundred year old manuscript, an illustrated haggadah (the liturgy of the Seder) has turned up in Sarajevo. The United Nations and the local governments have asked a well known, if young, restorationist to come in and make assessments and, possibly, repairs. Interwoven with the contemporary story are vingnettes of the book’s past. The circumstances under which it was made. Who the artist was who painted the illuminations, and why she did them. How it was hidden the first time. The reader watches over Hanna Heath’s shoulders as she painstakingly, lovingly examines the manuscript, makes notes and discusses her findings with her mentors.

The haggadah’s travels range across the Old World from Spain to Vienna to Sarajevo, just as Hanna’s own life has straggled across Australia, the States and Europe in pursuit of knowledge, in pursuit of physical and metaphorical space between her mother and herself. I loved the vignettes of the haggadah’s creation. All of the different characters who play a role in its creation or preservation illuminate the time and place and condition of the people who possess it. The haggadah traces a small slice of European Jews and their tenuous integration in Christian Europe across history. Like many old and valuable objects, the haggadah has always been at the mercy of political ambition, greed power and persons who feel they have moral superiority over others.

Hanna too is at the mercy of these same forces, and it isn’t pretty. Hanna had me puzzled towards the end. Commonly, people’s identity is closely wrapped with their career. Hanna’s no different. She discovers something about the haggadah that literally causes her to question herself, her training, her very identity. Hanna is so shaken by events she leaves her profession. None of her mother’s forceful character and will seems to have transmitted itself to her. Hanna is unable to overcome childhood feelings of neglect and overshadowing to see her mother’s strength. This too is a common problem, nonetheless I wished very hard that Hanna could grow more.

My problem with how Ms. Brooks deals with this is that Hanna is too accepting, too emotionally needy of a companion thus she doesn’t deeply question people intimately involved in the events that led directly to her change of occupation. And I wanted her to. I was shocked that a woman whose life was so profoundly changed by people and events didn’t question them or rail at them when she had a chance. I felt let down in a way. I had come to really like Hanna quite a bit and I hoped for..more inquisitiveness, more questioning of people important to her and to the book. Even if they didn’t/wouldn’t/couldn’t answer her I would have felt better. Essentially Hanna is an historical investigator, but when it comes to real live people her investigating instincts and training are washed away. I don’t need all of the threads to be wrapped up in a neat bow, I simply feel that Ms. Brooks could have fleshed her out more after such a serious and life altering event.

The People of the Book is loosely based on real events surrounding a haggadah found in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war. I found the narrative enjoyable and engrossing if somewhat flawed. Link to brief article about the actual Sarajevo Haggadah. In depth article of actual relic and its recent history here, free registration necessary to read full contents.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

SeducingthePrince; Patricia Grasso

One of my favorite hero types has always been Russian princes and I usually enjoy Ms. Grasso’s books, so I excitedly snatched this one up. It helped that I’d read another one in this group earlier this year. Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed. Seducing the Prince is a regency published by Zebra in 2005.

I felt Regina Bradford was a modern woman plopped down into a Regency setting. Using familiar nicknames upon introduction into upper society, using a dog to protect herself from her husband’s abuses, she’s a mushroom (merchant’s social climbing offspring) who doesn’t appear to have been taught the etiquette and demeanor expected of upper class women. Which is highly unlikely considering that’s all her father wants for her. Her expectations of how royalty would behave towards her in an extreme circumstance is naive at best. Then there are issues with language and word usage inappropriate for the time and setting. Then there’s the idea that a member of the royal family would marry such a woman. Dally with. Keep as a mistress. Not marry.

I’m very disappointed. As mentioned above I’ve read this author previously and enjoyed her work and I usually enjoy the Russian prince as a hero. Not this time.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pentagon Memorial Dedicated

Pentagon: Sept.11,2001

Pentagon Memorial Sept.11,2008

Images found on Wikimedia

It's my understanding the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial will be open to the public 24 hours a day 7 days a week and is on the Arlington County bike path. At least that's what the newscaster said. We didn't go today. We want to wait until it's a little quieter. Peaceful. Sometime when you can hear the water under the benches. Watch the trees grow. Leaves change.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

New Link Added

Down the left hand column I've added a new blog Mags Across the Pond. Miss Maggie, as we've always called her, is a lovely young lady currently employed in London. The blog, as you'd surmise will detail the adventures of a transplanted young American spreading her wings. Enjoy!

The Secret Diary of Miss Miranda Cheever; Julia Quinn

Image found on Harper Collins

TSDoMMC was published in 2007 by Avon and written by Julia Quinn. The setting is Regency England, and the plot is the classic childhood friends turn lovers. It has been a long while since I’ve read anything by Ms. Quinn. I stopped somewhere in the middle of the Bridgerton series, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, I think, and I haven’t picked her up since then. I remember I was put off by RMB but that’s all. Overall, though, I remember Ms. Quinn as a light touch with a wonderful sense of humor that rings true to her characters. In this, TSDoMMC also rings true. In other ways things didn’t work out so well, unfortunately.

Miranda Cheever has grown up with Olivia Bevelstoke and her family, the Earl and Countess of Rudland. Miranda’s dad is distant and uninvolved with his daughter which behavior worsens when his wife dies. The Bevelstokes easily and happily step in. Miranda develops a huge, huge crush on Olivia’s older brother, called Turner after his courtesy title (as opposed to his actual name, which is Nigel). Turner’s wife has just died while carrying another man’s child. Their marriage has made Turner fiercely unhappy and disillusioned about relationships and women and he can’t bring himself to mourn his wife at all.

Things progress quite rapidly, I must say. Miranda, while always around during her childhood, isn’t actually related to the Bevelstokes. Turner seems to like his brandy of an evening, and well- the situation moves almost immediately into “OMG What am I going to do now?” Olivia and Miranda plot Miranda’s escape to Scotland, aided by Miranda’s father’s habitual obliviousness to his daughter. Olivia figures out that Turner is responsible and tells him where Miranda went. Turner goes up to Scotland and eventually they marry. They adjourn to his estate where her pregnancy proceeds apace and they settle into a reasonably happy routine. Then fate intervenes in the form of a near death childbirth experience. Only when faced with the possiblity of Miranda’s death does Turner accept that he loves her. It reminded me forcefully of Catherine Marshall’s book Christy, wherein Christy must nearly die before the doctor admits his love and tells her.

My biggest problem is that I never felt the author explained why Turner and Miranda loved each other. On her part it seems the reader must accept that the childhood crush explains it all. For Turner it seems that proximity and close relationships among his family and Miranda are to serve as reason enough for him to love her. That and the fact that Miranda and his dead wife are as different as night and day, which Turner realizes. Second problem- Turner’s affection for several nightly brandies goes totally unremarked by Miranda but raised red flags for me. Third problem. The magical ‘virgin’s only time and now I’m pregnant’ fairy comes by. Ms Quinn has been a writer for a long time, I was more than a little surprised to see that particular plotline show up.

Ms. Quinn’s signature sense of humor does shine through in several episodes. I liked the affection between Miranda and Olivia, and Olivia’s loyalty to her even in what could possibly have been a giant scandal for both families. I was glad that Turner wasn’t the kind of man who paints all women with the same brush as that of his dead wife.

Maybe these things aren’t enough to bother you. I finished TSDoMMC and enjoyed it quite a lot. I found I’ve missed Ms. Quinn’s voice and work. Yes, there were parts that didn’t sit quite right with me, but overall TSDoMMCwas worth the time.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sunday in DC

Both images found on Wikimedia; image of Ben's Chili Bowl taken by Ben Schumin.

Yesterday was the last day the Afghanistan exhibit was open in the East Building of the National Gallery of Art on the Mall up in DC. We took Metro since we also wanted to try the locally famous Ben's Chili Bowl chili half smokes.

The exhibit was crowded, as one would expect to find on the last day, but it was nice to see all of the kids wandering around with little quiz booklets hunting up answers. The only irritating problem was all of the old folks who need new glasses and a brush up with Miss Manners. It seems that if you have an old grey head you're automatically absolved of all behavior faux pas, including standing directly in front of exhibits less than two inches away from the glass for as long as you damn well please. And heaven forfend anyone might say excuse me. The exhibit moves to San Francisco, then Houston and finally NYC.

The jewelry was delicate and often finely detailed. Set with some local jewels, notably lapis lazuli and carnelian. Some of the hair ornaments? I'd buy replicas. They are unique. You could see the Indian and Chinese influences. I was amazed that such small pieces survived a harsh climate and nomadic life and burial. It makes me sad that the Taliban has been running amok over there destroying the Afghanis cultural artifacts- not to mention the people. These priceless objects have been saved twice at least in recent decades. Once they return, will they remain so?

Ben's was crowded too, but everyone there was on their best behavior despite the huge line, the incredible crowding and the din of 70's disco music that my hubby says was James Brown. We all had a great time, except AQ who ordered the chili instead of her better tolerated grilled cheese. She didn't like the chili all that much, poor thing. She can be finicky. I had an all beef dog & fries- no chili. I've had awful reflux recently & I didn't want to risk it on the long ride back home. Pianist gulped his chili drenched half smoke in record time, prompting Hubby to tell him he could have another one if he was willing to wait in line again. LOL No dice.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Yesterday was our twenty first anniversary. Hubby had to work all day and I had a million errands to run, but the evening was all ours. Ours and Tropical Storm Hannah's that is. There was a guy in a top hat and jacket on the dock who had a couple of card tables with various glasses filled with liquid and played a very accurate version of Ode to Joy to huge applause. It was amazing how fast his fingers flew around the rims of the glasses and how accurately they were tuned. The crystal rings quite clearly and carried out over the water easily. I did wonder, though, if he'd end up with blisters on his fingers. ;)

You see, our favorite anniversary tradition is to take a tour boat up the Potomac to the docks in Georgetown and back down to Virginia. We never stay up there. The restaurants are too chichi for my taste and we rarely drink anymore. And the shopping is too expensive. So we always come straight back. Usually we have dinner out somewhere in Old Town. This year was fish and chips-very pedestrian I know, but this place always has fresh caught fish. The fish place was pretty quiet, it was early (just after 6 pm). Thank goodness. It gets really loud in there when its busy.
And ice cream (bananas on the rum from B&J is FAB! BTW) after the cruise.

The cruise was quiet too. The hurricane predictions may have kept the tourists away, although the river was peaceful. It spitted (spat?!) rain steadily the whole time we were out, about an hour and half or so. The sky grew heavier and heavier with clouds as we motored north up the Potomac so we couldn't see the sunset. The steel grey clouds were perfect to watch the planes taking off and landing at the airport. The planes' lights are brighter against the dark clouds, helping you pick them out faster. They fly in and out right over the river, the lights glitter and shine on the water growing and shrinking like shadows across a lawn over the daytime. The new bridge between Maryland and Virginia has white lights strung across the edge, from a distance at night it looks like a pearl necklace flung from one shore to another. There's another bridge between Maryland and DC that has intense sapphire blue lights barely visible as we passed up the left fork. Very noticeable on the dark water.

So as we eat our ice cream we wander up the hill toward the parking deck where we'd left the car and the steady spitting rain gradually grew heavier and heavier. We decided no music this year since the forecasters were calling for high winds and heavy rain and the kids were home alone. Just as we pulled out of the deck the heavens opened and torrents and buckets of water poured down. We finished our little evening out on the river just in time.

BTW, if Maman or Lovely Sister reads this- the beautiful embroidered rose colored dress you altered for me fit perfectly! Thank you!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thursday 13#48~ Family Update

Thirteen Things about Bookwormom

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Thursday 13 originated here. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! Click link in the title above to go to a list of other Thirteeners, compiled by Technorati. If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in the comments. It’s easy and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well. I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things.
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

1. Anime Queen & Pianist started the new school year Tuesday past.

2. I was amused to discover that higher functioning calculators can be hacked. Kids add games LOL 0__0 and notes. IT smarties (like Pianist & College Student) know how to hide the notes from the teachers even when the teachers take the calculators & ‘clear them’. Kids are feral, I swear. You always have to stay one step ahead.

3. As the kids age, the supply lists get shorter although the dollar value rises. Figures.

4. College Student was here for a flying overnight visit. We needed Pianist’s bike returned from Grandmere’s and the CS needed $$$.

5. Anime Queen’s schedule is messed up. She has two seventh periods and no third. She emailed the necessary folks Thursday last and they expect to see her first thing Tuesday morning.

6. Staying with Anime Queen she will continue to work one evening and one afternoon a week, making sure to leave Friday nights free for football and basketball games and sleepovers.

7. The Pianist has decided to join the robotics team at school this year. Maybe this will bleed off some of his need to hack every single electronic or technology related item he can lay his hands on. Hopefully.

8. I’m thinking about taking a bellydance class late this fall. There’s a group nearby whose instructors are Egyptian & have a good reputation. It’ll be a problem trying to fit it into the transportation grid here at Bookwormom Central, but I’m hopeful.

9. Why is kids never want to cook anything until after you’ve just finished cleaning?

10. Pianist has steady money coming in. He gets paid to iron his father’s shirts. $2 a shirt, which is .30 more than the dry cleaner down the street, but without the noxious fumes. The caveat? If we decide he hasn’t done a good enough job he has to redo it for free, which he thinks is a crock but I didn’t budge. No money for a crappy job, pal. Deal. Anyone who knows me knows I refuse to iron, so he’ll have regular cash money.

11. One of College Student’s golden arches coworkers is a freshie downstate where he attends school. He saw her crossing the parking lot a few days ago.

12. Hubby has returned to school too, with what has to be one of the most burned out humanities professors ever. Gave everyone a huge lecture about being ‘grownups’ now in ‘real school’. This to a weekend class with mostly working and/or older students. Grammar and punctuation count. Don’t ask stupid questions. Blah blah blah. Jeez. Way to get things off on a good foot. He’s already decided he’s gonna let her have it with both barrels on the survey later in the course.
13. Speaking of Hubby , this is his last year. God willing and the creek don’t rise, he’ll graduate next May

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Lord of Scoundrels; Loretta Chase

Image found on Fantastic Fiction

I’ve had this on my shelves for a long time. It sat there and taunted me regularly. I guess I’m a little jaded as a romance reader. Lord of Scoundrels has won quite a few reader polls around the Romanceland blogoshere. And I’m always suspicious of poll winning or award winning books. Plus I buy books and then bury them in my TBR as a matter of course anyway. So between my usual behaviors and my inherent suspicion LoS sat and sat and sat. OK. I admit it. I was wrong. There, are you happy now?

Plot is the usual: bad evil rake meets refreshing young(ish) thing who finally cracks his hardened outer shell and helps him set his inner honorable and loving self free. Set in Paris in 1828. Except that this book is the real deal. It’s easily one of the best historical romances I’ve read in a long time. Lord of Scoundrels is a character study of two individuals despite the fact that both of them are, in fact, common types easliy found in Romanceland everywhere.

Dominick Ballister, Marquess of Dain is a real bad guy who initially really doesn’t care. Due to traumatic experiences in school and a cold, emotionally unavailable father Dain has had to make his own way since early childhood. The difference between intellectual knowledge of emotions and actually experiencing said emotions makes him uncomfortable. Luckily Dain’s surliness and studied nonchalance is matched by Jessica’s charm and wit and determination.

Miss Jessica Trent has been summoned to Paris, by the servants no less, to rescue her brainless brother from himself. Again. It appears she's inherited all of the common sense in the family. Between her personality, having to cope with Brainless Brother, her age (an on the shelf spinster at 27) and an innate ability to see through Dain's facade ensures she isn't put off by Dain's antics as others of her class have been. Jess is observant, funny and calm and isn't easily discomposed by Dain's attitude or initial behavior.

Their adventures range across Paris to London to Dartmoor involving exorcising the past, learning monumental patience, and becoming responsible for a freer future for yourself and your family.

The hilarious and sharp tongued Mrs. Giggles gave this a 99! Keeper. One of the best.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

This Charming Man; Marian Keyes

Image found on Har per Collins

This Charming Man is a new release, published this year by William Morrow. Ms. Keyes is a well known UK based author who has a large backlist. I will say up front that TCM turned out to be a DNF for me. Between the cover image, the description on the flap and the content, I felt very mislead. Both cover and flap portrayed an upbeat positive story about women overcoming adversity, but I came away feeling outraged and sad and depressed. I’m very disappointed as this would have been my first Marian Keyes title. Leaving it unfinished left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm fully aware that both chick lit and women's fiction deal with serious topics and I'm not averse to reading them. I simply prefer not to be blindsided. When I'm looking forward to light & frothy that's what I want. I don't want a sneak attack, so to speak.

Honestly, I expected it to be about bonding and finding the strength to overcome hardship. Between my perception, right or wrong, that Ms. Keyes’ works were more along the lines of lighter chick lit or women’s fiction and the bright yellow (which equals cheerful in my mind) cover I thought the tone and treatment would be lighter. So I was unprepared for the abuse recovery issues the book is built around. Very unprepared. Physical abuse and the recovery from it isn’t a theme I would pick up on a whim. Bonding and overcoming obstacles? Certainly. The book was faced out on the new title shelf and I was drawn in by the cheerful cover and Ms. Keyes’ good reputation. I read the flap, which drops vague hints, but reading it, I felt deceived.

The story is written about several women whose lives have been profoundly affected by a well known Irish politician who has what Americans might call a ‘good old boy’ reputation.Yet this is a man who thinks nothing of manipulating, shaming, humiliating, raping and, yes, physically abusing the women who have the misfortune to become involved with him. That so many women have been sucked in by his false front is sad and threatening. That these women suffer from post traumatic stress disorders and abuse alcohol among other problems won’t surprise anyone. Ms. Keyes’ point that abuse knows no social, class, religious, political or economic boundaries is taken.

I had one or two other problems, but comparatively speaking they were minor and ordinarily probably wouldn’t have prevented me from finishing This Charming Man. I felt the prose was stilted because I missed articles such as ‘the’ and ‘a’ and ‘that’. I'm aware that grammar and word usage is different in British English, but this is the first time reading such a book I felt the prose was stilted. Even though one of the women is written as a fashion stylist, the constant brand dropping annoyed me. The other problem is that the last Irish set novel I read, Cecelia Ahern’s P.S. I Love You, also had a serious theme (grief, loss and moving on) and felt heavy in parts. I wanted something light and upbeat this time.

So, it was high summer when I tried to read this. Warm and sunny and happy. The book didn’t match my mood or outlook or what I was in a mind to read. It has little or nothing to do with Ms. Keyes. In the future I will do more research before buying or borrowing a Marian Keyes novel.

Monday, September 01, 2008

August Synopsis

As mentioned in the July synopsis, I'm a month behind on my reading reviews. :( I plan to keep slogging ahead and eventually I'll catch up. Hopefully. As it is, at least I'm making progress towards my annual reading goal. The tortoise won, right?? These are listed in no particular order.

1. People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks

2. Miss Perfect, Loretta Chase

3. The Sinner, Madeline Hunter

4. Heart of the Hunter, Tina St. John

5. Heart of the Flame, Tina St. John

6. Atlantis Rising, Alyssa Day

7. Where’s My Hero; Quinn, Kleypas, MacGregor

8. The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever, Julia Quinn

9. Sins of the Night, Sherrilynn Kenyon

10. Passion, Lisa Valdez

DNFs and/or Wallbangers

1.Seducing the Prince, Patricia Grasso

2. Cherished, Elizabeth Thornton

3. To Hell With Love~ Sherri Erwin