Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween



Image found on Flickr.com and was taken by Nate2000

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hug your children tonight

What do you do when your precious little girl tells you she and Friend A went to the guidance department on behalf of Friend B? Friend B's parents are having serious marital troubles, divorce is supposedly pending. Friend B has been threatening suicide. When she explained the situation to me, I just stopped and held her tight, holding her warm, living self tightly against me. Luckily, she's affectionate and she snuggled right in. My heart just ached for her and all of her friends who have tried to cope with this for weeks on their own.

The thing is, Hubby and I have noticed Anime Queen -our precious little girl- has steadily gotten paler and paler and hasn't awakened feeling rested, she's been eating less, etc. over the last few weeks. Finally, last week we started pushing her to take multivitamins and to go to bed earlier in the evening. Initially we attributed this to her academic workload and the stress of a major paper she has been working on.

I feel guilty that I never asked her what else was going on with her and her friends. That is: I've asked her about her buddies and what's going down with them and how they've been, and she's nearly always given us the usual teenage response- single words, mostly things like: fine, ok, busy, etc. Not a hint that she and one or two others were carrying such a serious burden on their young shoulders. As commonly happens, I wonder if I should have, could have, ought to have..

Finally, tonight I called College Student to make plans for this coming weekend. After we chatted she wanted to say hi, so I handed her the phone and told her to be quick about it since it was late and she needed to go to bed. So first thing she says to him is, "Do you remember that situation we discussed? Well. I have more info now." To which I told her she'd need to explain to me too.

Initially she told me it didn't involve anyone in the family but she couldn't break someone's confidence. I reminded her that a) she'd already told College Student and b) if a friend of her was hurt, threatening to hurt someone or do something dangerous she had a moral obligation to tell an adult who could help Friend B. I told her she didn't have to tell me or dad if she felt uncomfortable, but a guidance counselor or one of our priests or someone else..I didn't want her to feel even more pressure than she already does, but I wanted to be sure she shares her burden.

That's when she told me what I've told you. I'm unsure how much detail I need, other than the basic facts I've outlined here. I'm unsure what else she herself can do except continue to try and be a friend to Friend B. Unsurprisingly, Friend B is mad at her and the Friend A. Although, given the nature of teenagers and depression Friend B's sharing of such a heavy and serious burden and simultaneously expecting their silence is equally to be expected and yet is also impossible.

Thank you for listening.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Top 50 Listing

Bookwormom has been listed as a top 50 chick lit blog on Best Online Dating Sites, link in the title above, in the blog section. I have to say I love the subtitle "the love coach: helping nerds date." Emphasis mine. I don't think I've ever made a popular listing before, never mind a top 50. LOL :) There are other romance oriented blogs on their list, although many are much bigger and more popular than mine, so I can't help but wonder how they found me. Ah well, never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I; William Shakespeare

The three witches, casting a spell

Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights hast thirty one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble

Friday, October 24, 2008

Stomach Flu

Strikes Bookwormom Central. Probably off line through the weekend. :(

Thursday, October 23, 2008

All Hail the Biblioburros


Image found on Stralunato.com, un blog de Jacinto Lajas


Click here and read, then come back. I'll wait.

Back now? How great is that? Books really can conquer all- with the help of a determined teacher and some burros. One family trying their darndest to make their corner of the world better for everyone. While we here in the US are wondering about our retirement plans and our mortgages, the rest of the world has more prosaic things to do. Like borrow a book from the biblioburro.


I have emailed the reporter to ask if there is an address available to send donations to. If he is able to provide me with one, I will post again and anyone interested in making donations can contact me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Too pretty to stay indoors

It was absolutely gorgeous today- bright sunshine, breezy, leaves blowing everywhere. I couldn't stay indoors. I wandered around our area doing errands on foot. The library, the grocer, the drug store. Meandered past the rescue station. It's hard to be an obsessed reader 24/7 when fall is outside your window seducing you.

I'm exhausted now. Regular posting likely to resume tomorrow as scheduled tomorrow unless it's gorgeous like today, in which case I may not be here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

To Any Reader; Robert Louis Stevenson

As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees
So you may see, if you will look
Through the windows of this book
Another child, far, far away,
And in another garden, play.
But do not think you can at all,
By knocking on the window, call
That child to hear you. He intent
Is all on his play business bent.
He does not hear.; he will not look,
Nor yet be lured out of this book.
For, long ago, the truth to say,
He has grown up and gone away,
And it is but a child of air
That lingers in the garden there.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox; Maggie O'Farrell


I found this on the ‘fortunate finds’ new release shelves in my local library back in late summer, although it was published back in 2006 by Harcourt. Ms. O’Farrell is a UK born writer whose other novels have received critical acclaim. Click the link in the title above to go to her website for more details. I was initially attracted by the cover, although the text on the flap intrigued me too. I was reminded, improbably enough, of one of Holly Black’s faerie novels in which an elderly woman has been institutionalized due to perceived instability. Prior to reading Ms. O’FarrelI’s novel this was distant intellectual knowledge as opposed to emotional realization of the potential exploitation of women by the men in their lives.

The plot opens with middle aged Iris Lockheart trying to deal with the news that she has an elderly relative in a mental institution, said institution is closing and the powers that be need Iris’ input into what will happen to Esme Lennox, Iris’ great aunt. It turns out that Esme is Kitty Lennox’s sister, whose very existence Iris’ mother Kitty denied. Kitty claimed to be an only child and of course Iris believed her. Iris becomes attached to Esme and when difficulties arise in getting a bed in another care home, Iris takes Esme to her home for the weekend. The story is superficially easy and the reader is lured into thinking TVAoEL will follow conventional lines. We would be wrong.

TVAoEL is a meditation on revenge (to exact atonement/amends or punishment for a wrong or injuries; Random House College Dictionary, 1st edition) versus vengeance (infliction of injury, harm, humiliation, etc. on a person by another who has been harmed by him; Random House College Dictionary, 1st edition). Ms. O’Farrell brings up questions of justice and mercy, revenge and vengeance, truth and lies in the context of the most intimate family relationships. We learn about men’s incredible legal power over women which effectively infantilized us in the eyes of the law. This power was sanctioned by the state, ie: men in power, and by society at large. Ms. O’Farrell draws us a picture, an emotional portrait, if you will, of the long term consequences this has on one family. Regrets come too late and are too few.

This is easily one of the most powerful and mesmerizing books I’ve ever come across. I read it twice and it was a page turner each time. Likely it is a book I will buy for my home library and will reread for years to come. Very highly recommended.

Image found on Harcourt Books

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Wheels on the Bus



Took the bus home today. OMG, what a ride. The transit center is approximately 10-11 miles away. By car about 15 minutes with average traffic. By bus about 40 minutes with stops in average traffic. Not today though. Today was really bad, even by our standards, and we've lived here 11 years. It took us an hour and a half to get home from the transit center. By the way, these buses are pretty small, carry maybe 40 people or so, so when they're full we're all pretty close. It was actually a fun ride, believe it or not. I mean, listen, I didn't have to drive in all that mess. I'd remembered an umbrella for the spitting rain. I was going home as opposed to going to work.

A few of my fellow passengers had just gotten paid, plans were discussed as to exactly how much beer would be bought as soon as everyone got home. Cell phones rang, "where the hell are you?" or "Traffic is standing still, I'll be there as soon as I can." Toddlers shared Cheerios and bottled water. Sirens wailed and motorcycle cops and ambulances whizzed by going down the road against traffic. A woman carrying a leather briefcase and wearing beautifully stitched shoes shared a seat with a neatly dressed cashier whose long rides on the bus showed in her ability to sleep through all of the chaos and noise.

Two little ones sat on the back steps eating dry cereal and laughing while a nearby young man flirted with a woman surely old enough to be his grandma. The 'boys in the back of the bus' continued to plan their evening's beer consumption, while a man with a beautiful smile complained that the seats were uncomfortable. A woman across from me laughed at him and said, "You just don't have enough cushion, baby. Us womenfolk have plenty of cushion to keep us comfy, don't we hon?" That last bit was addressed to me because I'd burst out laughing.

Someone suggested a hymn sing and another answered that karaoke would be more fun. More people piled on with grocery bags and strollers. We listened to one woman rant and rave into her cell phone about how her new supervisor is incompetent & etc. etc. etc. until someone finally asked her to be quiet. It began to rain. An SUV driver cut in front of the bus with only inches to spare, prompting irate honking & swearing and much protests of sore backs and necks.

Finally we many of us got off the bus at the same stop, stepping out into the cold breezes and spitting rain. Our own little happy hour was over. Back to payday Friday night, the drugstore, irate girlfriends. Home to cook dinner. Pay bills. Hug your babies. Another shortish walk and I was home again.

BTW- title comes from a children's song that begins, "The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round.."

Image found on Wikimedia

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

National Book Award Nominees

This is only a partial list, full list available at site in the link in the post title. I've read Laurie Halse Anderson and was quite impressed. The finalists will announced in mid November.

Fiction


Aleksandar Hemon, The Lazarus Project

Rachel Kushner, Telex from Cuba

Peter Matthiessen, Shadow Country

Marilynne Robinson, Home

Salvatore Scibona, The End




Young Adult Literature



Laurie Halse Anderson, Chains

Kathi Appelt, The Underneath

Judy Blundell, What I Saw and How I Lied

E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Family Update

West Arlington Covered Bridge



College Student~ Perking along, apparently. Came home twice in September for brief visits. All five of us spent this past weekend in a rustic little cabin (a camp as they say in New England) in a nearby national park with Busy Bee our little niece and my ILs. CS is returning this coming week for his fall break. One of his classes is being taught via what used to be called closed circuit, except it's now on the computer. One of his professors had back surgery and must recuperate at home, so the kids report to a small auditorium and he teaches them from home. Kinda cool, huh?

Anime Queen~ Is now in the 'heavy duty' part of the specialty program she's in. Thank goodness all of last spring's schedule requests went through, so she's taking a regular math class and an easier science instead of physics and advanced chemistry. Math is her weakest subject area, and the program itself is hard enough without stacking the deck against her. She's working a day or two a week at Golden Arches to keep herself trinkets and cell/text money. We've made sure she can go to football games or to the movies on Fridays and she comes to church on Sundays, though. All work and no play makes AQ a stressed young woman. That part of life can wait a few more years. She's a busy girl.

Pianist~ Continues the family tradition of sarcasm, being observant and likewise unable to keep his mouth shut. The result of which being phone calls, "Do you know your son has quite a mouth on him?" Why no actually. I'm just his mother, I don't know a damn thing about him, except that if you don't keep him mentally challenged he'll cause you no end of trouble. Poor child, he's bored to death despite being in the same program as Anime Queen. It's supposed to be one of the best academic programs available to public school kids in our area. One of a very few for middle schoolers as well as high schoolers. Pianist is bored though. And boredom leads to mischief. We shall see how the year progresses. He's a loving and affectionate and attentive young man, and I'm very proud of him. But I'm equally afraid he'll be the death of me yet.

As for the Hubster and I? We're perking along too. He's settling into his new job pretty well. Thank heavens that his career field will have plenty of available jobs for the foreseeable future. Three parishoners at our church have been unemployed for nearly a year. Each is highly skilled in their individual fields, but so far neither has had any luck finding a new employer. I thank the good Lord daily for our tiny little home and Hubby's solid work schedule. Then I pray for all of those who are less fortunate than we are. With the recent Stock Market Crash, version 2.0 I think it may be a while longer before our friends are fully employed.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Day, Canada!







Happy Thanksgiving Day to all our Canadian neighbors! You definitely have the advantage with turkey day on a Monday, I think. Automatic three day weekend! I hope everyone out there had a restful,relaxing weekend celebrating with friends and family.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Where's My Hero; Anthology, Kleypas, Quinn, MacGregor


Where’s My Hero is an anthology of short stories by three of historical romances’ best selling authors: Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn and Kinley MacGregor. It was published by Avon in 2003. The hook is that each hero has been a secondary character in another of the author’s books. I picked it up off of a shelf at a sale by the Friends of the local library. It was cheaper than dirt, but gave me several peaceful and contented hours.

The first novella is the Regency set Against the Odds by Lisa Kleypas. Lydia Craven, daughter of the hero of an earlier Kleypas novel, is betrothed to one Robert Lord Wray, but Dr. Jake Linley, first seen in Someone to Watch Over Me, has always had a tendre for her. Lydia though, wants nothing more than to be a mathematician and a scientist, and a marriage of convenience to Lord Wray suits her just fine. Until Lydia and Jake get locked in Lydia’s father’s wine cellar for several hours during one of the interminable parties leading up to the wedding.

The second novella is Midsummer’s Knight by Kinley MacGregor, set in medieval Europe. Simon of Ravenswood, a secondary character from Master of Desire, has pined after a lady so far, far above his station that Simon impersonated a higher ranking friend and wrote her letters in his friend's name without the knowledge or consent of either party. This is the story of how Simon miraculously wins his lady’s hand in marriage and salvages his friendship.

The third story is also a Regency set pre wedding house party titled A Tale of Two Sisters, written by Julia Quinn. Edward Blydon, Viscount Burwick, is scheduled to marry one Lydia Thornton in three days. Ned was fine with that until he met Lydia’s younger sister Charlotte. *Aside- I know a very nice lady named Charlotte, who has the nicest smile, and while I read this I pictured her as the heroine.* As for Charlotte, she quickly realizes that her sister’s impressions of Ned are most likely wrong and her sister is playing some sort of last minute game. Who will pay the price of Lydia’s scheming, though? And who will win the matrimonial sweepstakes?

Like all anthologies, some are weak and some are strong. I liked the Quinn story most as it showcases her strong sense of humor. The Kleypas story offered a glimpse of the Cravens further along in their marriage, but the MacGregor story didn’t grab me much at all, despite my having enjoyed Master of Desire. Where’s My Hero is an excellent way to spend several hours smiling and laughing.

Image found on Harper Collins

Saturday, October 11, 2008

NaNoWriMo



I'm planning to try it this year. Wish me well. I'm trying to catch up with my posts and reviews on the blog. Trying to do a little preliminary outline and plotting. Hoping to get myself settled into a routine so I can get more accomplished next month. Trying to shut the anxious perfectionist up. Or lock her in the closet.

Words in a French Life; Kristin Espinasse


Ah, yes, to be a stranger in a strange land. A land that zealously guards its language and culture and culinary traditions from external assault. That’s what author Krisin Espinasse has done, you see: she moved to France. Words in a French Life was first published in France in 2004 and 2005, but this is the first U.S. edition, published by Touchstone in 2007. Link above is to Mrs. Espinasse's blog.

In this charming little book Mrs. Espinasse details the French idioms that tripped her up and the chagrin of being rapidly surpassed in vocabulary growth by your infant children. Not to mention struggling to improve her accent or her inablity to correctly learn how the French pronounce their Rrrrrrrrz. Which is a lesson ma mere repeatedly practiced with me until I memorized it and said Rz like a good little pupil. I still remember ma mere laughing at me, saying “No No, Bookwormom, you’re not learning SPANISH!!! The French DO NOT ROLL THEIR Rrrrrzzzzzz.” Golly, those were good lessons. :) Remember maman?

Anyhow, if you’re an armchair traveler or have ever dreamed of moving to a French speaking country or simply want a good source of idioms, this is the book for you. Stories of grocery shopping during which your young son translates labels for you. Trying to drive and translate airport signs simultaneously. That last one? Hard enough to read airport signs when they’re in your native language, never mind from one tongue into another! Why it can be hard to train a child to be bilingual. Getting tripped up with homonyms (words that sound alike but are spelled differently).

Mrs. Espinasse's joyful book shows the depth and breadth of French culture and outlook from a foreigner's viewpoint. Chapters are thematic and brief and end with a small vocabulary list of helpful phrases.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Bookish thoughts


I've blogged since March 2005. I've posted my thoughts about the books I read since I started. Lately, the majority of my posts are book reviews. Just a few weeks ago I reorganized my archives so they're now accessible by sub genre, although I'm not a librarian so the designations are probably arbitrary by others' standards. They make sense to me, though, so unless you can make a good case for moving something..

Primarily I read for characterization and plot, whether or not something felt right, hung together, and the like. I'm not inclined to dissect themes or to compare and contrast two authors or titles. I try to take each book as it comes to me. I'm most interested in honestly writing about books I read, and I will write what I think good and bad. I have my pet peeves: dialect written out, names, books set in Virginia or New Hampshire, etc. as do we all. I do not grade my books. As far as I'm concerned, readers should be able to make up their mind on their own without my sticking a 'grade' on a book. All of my books are traded or otherwise donated unless I specifically say I've kept it. And even then I've been known to go back through my keeper shelves and trade some of them.

Until three weeks ago, each book I've blogged about has been purchased or borrowed by me. As of today I've only ever received two books to write about from a publisher, both after the release date. I was honest about each book, and did not sugarcoat what I thought simply because someone mailed me a couple of books. That being said: I'm not interested in slamming authors. Writing is a difficult, time consuming labor of love. Authors do the best they can and then they send their babies out into the world to be enjoyed by others.

My contact information's at the bottom of the bar on the left as well as at the bottom of this post. If you find a factual error somewhere or if a link is wrong or broken please email me. Leave me a note in the comments, although I'm not always able to respond quickly to those. I'm willing to read and review books for people if anyone else out there is interested in sending me books. I promise to be honest and forthright and prompt if you give me enough lead time. Deadlines need to discussed several weeks in advance.

Edited to Add:Image found on Wikimedia
Contact me: bookwormomsterATgmail.com


Edited Again- I only do reviews, no interviews or games or contests. Do not email me telling me what you can do for me. Unsolicited materials may not be reviewed.

The Queen of Sleepy Eye; Patti Hill


Author Patti Hill has written a flashback coming of age contemporary novel primarily set in a tiny town in Colorado back in the 1975. Amy and her mom Maria end up in Cordial Colorado after the transmission of their classic 1958 Pontiac Bonnieville dies. The ladies are relocating from Minnesota to California, where Amy has earned a scholarship to Westmont. The summer of 1975 turns out to be a fateful few months for both Amy and her mother. A time of growth and change.

Honestly, I found Maria hard going. I had an intense and visceral dislike of her character which made me reluctant to read The Queen of Sleepy Eye. I liked Amy and the people of Cordial, though, so I kept at it. And I’m glad I did, because, really, this book is about acceptance, making peace with yourself & your past, *ahem, looks into mirror* learning to be less judgemental, the enduring love of family. I remember my overly black and white view of people and the world when I was a teenager, I remember my viewpoint was similar Amy’s at a similar age.

I have struggled with what and how much to say about the plot because I prefer to leave much unsaid so that new readers have surprises waiting for them if they choose to buy or borrow this book. Maria was a teenage mother bringing up a daughter in a time when this was frowned upon much more than today. Amy is a teenager raised by a teenager. And Maria, unlike some young ladies come early to motherhood, Maria doesn’t grow up as much as the reader might hope for. Amy pays a price for her mother’s narcissism and immaturity and scheming. There are moments of insight into human behavior that reveal how much Ms. Hill is able to help us relate to her characters as real people. For example, I thought that Pastor Ted’s words during the little funeral service in the parlor were profound and authentic and touched my heart deeply. Then, too, Father Raymond’s words to Amy regarding the mysterious face in the mirror made me smile in recognition.

As I mentioned above, I did have serious problems with Maria. I found Amy to be naive and smug and condescending in reference to sexual urges and her mother's attempts to prevent Amy from following in her footsteps. Teenage motherhood admittedly isn't the focus of the narrative, but the consequences of Amy's one sexual encounter can be found in many romances and I was disappointed that this was added into the book and then skimmed over. Even so, because the narrative focuses on other aspects of Amy and Maria's coming of age with such precision this is a minor issue.

I am so glad I finishedThe Queen of Sleepy Eye. Ms. Hill holds a mirror up to the reader and sometimes we aren’t always comfortable with what we see. Other times the images warm your heart and hold out hope and love. Ms. Hill has written a perceptive and touching book that may just help readers think twice.

Image found on B & H Publishing

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

New link added

I added a new link I found over on My Friend Amy. It's a new site called Here be (Book) Reviews. It's a book review blog aggregator- a metablog. You can sign up for the feed and add your book blog to the roll.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Atlantis Rising; Alyssa Day


The Warriors of Poseidon series by Alyssa Day (aka Alesia Holliday) begins with this book, which was put out in March 2007 by Berkley. They're paranormal action adventure romances featuring Atlanteans. They remind me of Melanie Jackson's Wildside series, although these are harder edged with more explicit sex and violence. The ones I have are on the shorter side, 284 pages each versus 370+ pages each for the books I usually read. The next book is due to be released in June of 2009, which is about nine months or so later than originally scheduled due to Ms. Day's serious illness.

The plot should be familiar to those who read paranormal romances: psychically gifted heroine meets supernaturally gifted hero, who may or may not be quite human. The sexual sparks fly, they have a few encounters with the requisite baddies, one or the other of them must sacrifice something before they can be together. In this instance the world Ms. Day has built is a unique alternate reality world where the things that go bump in the night are real and are infiltrating the government for their own nefarious purposes. Not alot of angst, the heroine stands on her own two feet and makes her own decisions much of the time. The overarching plot has the potential to carry the seies quite a while should the author and publisher decide to do so. I certainly hope so.

This was a quick enjoyable read with fast pacing and a world sufficiently different from ours that I was able to suspend reality, despite the fact that they're set in Virginia Beach VA , one of our old stomping grounds while we were in college. Oh so many years ago. :) I find that I've kept the second one in my TBR while I'm waiting for the newest one. Why? It's a treat I want to save for a day when I really need a book I know will be a good, enjoyable read.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Banned book Week, pt. 3



Versus



"Children deprived of words become school dropouts; dropouts deprived of hope behave delinquently. Amateur censors blame delinquency on reading immoral books and magazines, when in fact, the inability to read anything is the basic trouble."
~ Peter S. Jennison

Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime." ~Potter Stewart

"You have not converted a man because you have silenced him." ~John Morley

Obscenity is not a quality inherent in a book or picture, but is solely and exclusively a contribution of the reading mind, and hence cannot be defined in terms of the qualities of a book or picture." ~Theodore Schroeder

The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame." ~Oscar Wilde

Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education." ~Alfred Whitney


Every burned book enlightens the world." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson



Images found on Wikimedia.org

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Sinner; Madeline Hunter


I’ve only read two other Madeline Hunter novels, both of those medievals- quite a while ago at that. They were both the kind of books that made me sigh at the end and feel ‘all’s well with the world’ so to speak. Ms. Hunter has a reputation of depth and characterization, the two things I most look for in romances. I found both of those things in this novel. The Sinner is a British set historical, exact time setting I couldn’t determine, but seems to be Regency or reasonably close to it. It is part of a five book group, all of which have two word titles The _______.

Dante Duclairc is the epitome of the phrase wine women and song. Only, he’s a little off key just now due to being out of breath running from his creditors. To his credit, Dante prefers to either: run to France or to go to debtor’s prison rather than ask his older brother for another advance- a big one. Fleur Monley is running from her male relatives. They are threatening her with a legally imposed guardianship due to mental instability. You see, Fleur wants to spend her inheritances as she wishes and the potential guardian, naturally, disagrees. Dante and Fleur aren’t strangers, a few years ago she and Dante’s older brother nearly became betrothed. After Dante gets thrown into the clink, he was caught while helping Fleur, she proposes a marriage of convenience. No sex, and he has to live only off of an allowance she’ll have written into the legal papers. Naturally Dante agrees. I mean, what red blooded man wouldn’t? Jail or freedom and money.

The Sinner is unique because Ms. Hunter reveals both strands of the story: one, the legal status of women at that time and the lengths they and their loved ones had to go to secure their individual and joint rights and wishes, and two: showing the evolving relationship between two people coming into a marriage without truly knowing each other. There are the typical twists and turns and revelations as would be common in anyone facing such a situation regardless of era. As P.G. Wodehouse wrote in one of his masterpieces, “there are wheels within wheels within wheels.” What I appreciated the most, though, is the dialogue between Fleur and Dante. They talked to each other as best they could. Ms. Hunter did not use the ‘big misunderstanding’ short cut that others might have.

In one way I regret missing out on so many of Ms. Hunter’s works, then again, it means that I’ve plenty of backlist to hunt for. Either way, I’ve started looking for Ms. Hunter’s other books at the UBS. I relished every word in The Sinner and it will live on my keeper shelf. Her newest book is Secrets of Surrender which is the thrid book in the Rothwell series (click link at the end of the first paragraph for more information).

Image found on Amazon.com

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Thursday 13# - Book title story


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!






I found this meme over on Galley Cat, the book industry blog. The idea is to take book titles and arrange them in story format. For today's purposes, ie: Thursday 13, I used thirteen books to make a story. All titles taken out of my TBR bookcase. Each underlined section is a different title.


The perfect kiss beguiled a gentleman by any other name to distraction. Heaven forbids her secret fantasy of one night of sin and magic at midnight, but she dreams anyway. Once a bride she cherished the madcap marriage that gave them shimmering spendor and a perfect love.


Authors listed in the same order as in the story above:

1. Anne Gracie

2. Alice Borchardt

3. Kasey Michaels

4. Stephanie Laurens

5. Karen Ranney

6. Galen Foley

7. Galen Foley

8. Sandra Heath

9. Shari Anton

10. Elizabeth Thornton

11. Allson Lane

12. Roberta Gellis

13. Karen Ranney

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Passion; Lisa Valdez


As far as I can tell Passion is Ms. Valdez’ only romance, the sequel titled Patience is “coming soon” but Passion was published in July 2005. I can’t find information about the second title (as of the date I posted this review). Perplexingly, she lists an ISBN & an excerpt (for Patience) but Berkley’s parent, Penguin Group, has no information available on their site. It’s too bad because I like this book and might buy more if it does indeed get published.

I think I’d probably put Ms. Valdez in the same category as Robin Schone, erotic historical romance. My initial reaction to Passion was “they didn’t have sex like that back then!” After I got over myself though, I remembered that most people think their generation invented sex from the ground up. Much like my twelve year old son is totally grossed out by Cialis commercials. Old people simply don’t have sex, except to conceive children and then only in the missionary position, once per child, etc. etc. I laughed at myself. I mean I had to.

The plot that enfolds all of this hot sex? A young widow meets a man at the Crystal Palace in London and they become um..friends with benefits. I found the scenario wherein they become lovers farfetched, but I just went with it. They continue this relationship until complications involving blackmail, betrothal and the fact that the protagonists discover they’re caught within a ‘six degrees of separation’ situation. Unfortunately the author takes a well known Romanceland shortcut whereby the hero’s magical, prodigious love making skills and penis size impregnates the previously infertile heroine. It is certainly implied that because the hero can make her orgasm she became pregnant.

Ms. Valdez did an exemplary job sucking me in to her story. It wasn’t until afterwards that the problems started bubbling up. One, as mentioned above, the situation in which they initially have sex was farfetched for me. Two, the hero insists on “battering the door to her womb” (p.116) which considering his “ten and a half inches of hard flesh” (p. 112) sounds incredibly painful even taking into consideration Ms. Valdez’ use of the Aphrodite and Haephestus metaphor. Three, there’s the sudden resolution of Passion’s infertility via orgasms.

The list sounds bad, I know, but none of these things bothered me until after I read the book. Ms. Valdez wrote a fascinating, titillating story that sucked me in from the beginning. She got me to initially overlook a whole bunch of plot and story problems un favor of discovering what happens to Passion and Mark. I can’t wait for Patience’s story.

Image found on Fantastic Fiction