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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Barely a Lady by Eileen Dreyer

Barely a Lady (The Drake's Rakes series)Publisher: Forever
ISBN: 0446542083
Pages: 432 pgs
Genre: Historical Romance-Regency
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Publisher’s Description:
Olivia Grace has secrets that could destroy her. One of the greatest of these is the Earl of Gracechurch, who married and divorced her five years earlier. Abandoned and disgraced, Grace has survived those years at the edge of respectability. Then she stumbles over Jack on the battlefield of Waterloo, and he becomes an even more dangerous secret. For not only is he unconscious, he is clad in an enemy uniform. 

But worse, when Jack finally wakes in Olivia's care, he can't remember how he came to be on a battlefield in Belgium. In fact, he can remember nothing of the last five years. He thinks he and Olivia are still blissfully together. To keep him from being hanged for a traitor, Olivia must pretend she and Jack are still married.
To unearth the real traitors, Olivia and Jack must unravel the truth hidden within his faulty memory. To save themselves and the friends who have given them sanctuary, they must stand against their enemies, even as they both keep their secrets.

In the end, can they risk everything to help Jack recover his lost memories, even though the truth may destroy them both?

My Review:
I am not the type of person to give second chances. Once I have been crossed, I rarely forgive. That being said, this presents a problem because Barely A Lady is all about second chances and forgiveness. Jack divorces a pregnant Livvy because of a misunderstanding. He leaves her on her own to survive as a disgraced woman. How could she have even come close to forgiving him? He chose to believe his cousin over his wife and that, in my humble and unmarried opinion, is unforgivable.His family played a huge role but he still didn’t trust her. Even after that, she chooses to protect and help him when he loses his memory. I don’t know how Livvy forgave him. Somehow, and I mean it as a huge compliment to Eileen Dreyer, even though I could not understand why Livvy and Jack did what they did and behaved the way they do…I still liked both of them and thoroughly enjoyed this book. 

Now, aside from that, I really did like Barely A Lady. I thought that the writing was engaging and the history was woven into the story really well. I also liked most of the characters. Even though I didn’t agree with their actions some of the time, I generally liked them. Jack was sweet even through his pigheadedness. Livvy was smart and strong. She was a heroine with quite a bit of moxy. She survived in a nearly impossible situation on her own. My favorite character, however, was Grace. I know…I know…expected but I love characters that share my name. She wasn’t the typical character and I wanted to know more about her. I can’t wait to read her story in the next book in the series.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Musing Monday (June 28)

What do you think of books that receive a lot of hype? (think of the “Twilight” saga, or “Harry Potter”, or “The Da Vinci Code”). Do you read them? Why, or why not?
I would really like to say no but the best, and most honest, answer I can give is sometimes. I think it depends on the book, the writing and why there is so much hype to begin with.
I like Twilight. I mean, the writing is borderline terrible but Stephenie Meyer created one heck of a gem when she created Edward (and Jasper). I do think that most of the fan fiction is much better both in the characterization and the writing.
I also liked Harry Potter. It was my first foray into YA and I could not put the books down…until the 7th book where she killed Snape.
HATE is not even strong enough of a word for how I feel about The Da Vinci Code. I read a few pages then had to pick up Pride and Prejudice to clean my brain. It was terrible. That book is the perfect example on people picking up on the hype and controversy and running with it.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (June 28)

I had a nice reading week. Free time plus sleepless nights equals reading getting done, I suppose.

I made some changes to the blog this week. First of all, I added the SocialVibe widget to support the American Diabetes Association. It’s an illness that many in my family are afflicted with and always is a cause close to my heart. On a more bloggy note, I changed my review format quite a bit, as you’ll see with the reviews I posted this week. I tried to shorten them up a bit. I thought that I was getting a bit long-winded and we all know how bad it is to be long-winded.

Reviews Posted:
  • The Truth About Delilah Blue-Tish Cohen
  • A Bad Day For Pretty-Sophie Littlefield

Working On Review For:

  • Bride of the Wolf-Susan Krinard
  • Smooth Talking Stranger-Lisa Kleypas
  • Twilight Saga-Stephenie Meyer
  • Out of Eden-Beth Ciotta
  • The Devlin Diary-Christi Phillips

Books Finished:
  • Sweet Tea at Sunrise-Sherryl Woods
  • The Fire Lord’s Lover-Kathryne Kennedy
  • Barely A Lady-Eileen Dreyer

Currently Reading (in order):
  • Touch of Surrender-Rhyannon Byrd
  • The Starlet-Mary McNamara
  • The Poison Diaries-Maryrose Wood
  • Anne Elliot, A New Beginning-Mary Lydon Simonsen
  • The Lies We Told-Diane Chamberlain
  • Anne of Green Gables-L.M. Montgomery (who can resist a visit to Avonlea?)

Bloggy Tasks Still To Accomplish:
  • Making my Blogroll
  • Adding all my reviews to Index and fixing their ratings

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

BBAW Entry Post

I have no idea why I am nervous about this but I am. I feel like I am setting my baby free into the world to be judged…which I am. But I am going to try because I was too scared last year and I figure that this year I should wear my big girl dress and man up. Besides, there are so many bloggers out there that I follow like a fangirl and respect, so, I figure I can learn how to be better from them. Anyway, I am crossing my fingers, toes, and shoestrings.

Best Written Blog:
  • Rumor Has It-Jill Mansell
  • The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott-Kelly O’Connor McNees
  • Never Tell Our Business to Strangers-Jennifer Mascia
  • Tempted By A Warrior-Amanda Scott
  • The Masqueraders-Georgette Heyer

Most Eclectic Blog
  • A Certain Wolfish Charm-Lydia Dare
  • Hush, Hush-Becca Fitzpatrick
  • Before I Fall-Lauren Oliver
  • Island of the Swans-Ciji Ware
  • A Bad Day For Pretty-Sophie Littlefield

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Truth About Delilah Blue by Tish Cohen

The Truth About Delilah Blue: A Novel (P.S.)
Publisher: Harper Perennial
ISBN: 006187597X
Pages: 448 pages
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Find The Truth About Delilah Blue at Amazon, Powell's or Indiebound

Publisher’s Description:

Delilah Blue Lovett has always been a bit of an outsider, ever since her father moved her from Toronto to L.A. when she was eight, claiming Delilah's mother no longer wanted to be part of their family. Twenty now and broke, but determined to be an artist like her errant mom, Delilah attends art class for free—by modeling nude at the front of the room, a decision that lifts the veil from her once insular world. While she struggles to find her talent, her father, her only real companion, is beginning to exhibit telltale signs of early-onset Alzheimer's. And her mother, who Delilah always assumed had selfishly abandoned them, is about to reappear with a young daughter in tow . . . and a secret that will change everything. Delilah no longer knows which parent to trust—the only one she can really rely on is the most broken person of all: herself.

In a new novel as witty, sparkling, and poignant as her acclaimed Inside Out Girl, author Tish Cohen uncovers the humor and heart within the most dysfunctional of families.

My Review:

I read The Truth About Delilah Blue in the three hour period from 3-6am when I could not sleep because there had been a spider (black, big and very, very scary—now deceased) in my bedroom and I was too scared to sleep for fear that his compatriots in creepdom would crawl out of cracks in my wall to avenge the sad end of their fellow arachnid. Needless to say, it needed to be an awesome book to distract me and it was. I was distracted, engrossed and I could have cared less if a spider the size of my arm asked me if I wanted to join him for tea and scones. Although that would have been very gentlemanly of the spider.

From the very first page, I fell in love with Lila. She is, to put it quite simply, awesome. She is smart, she is funny, she is engaging, she is everything you want in a heroine. She deals with her father’s mental deterioration from Alzheimer's and the return of her absentee mother along with the revelations about her past that her mother’s return brings with grace and dignity. I must admit that my favorite part was the  semi-sorta romance with Adam, the TA of the art class that she is posing for (what can I say…I’m a romantic). Their flirtation is awkward and tentative but both characters had such great chemistry.  I also enjoyed how Cohen switched between Lila’s and Victor’s point of views. I find that most writers cannot pull this off. The character often become one dimensional and their development is stunted by the constant shifting. But in this one, the shifting only aided in getting insight into both Lila and Victor’s characters.

Needless to say, I highly recommend The Truth About Delilah Blue. The prose is beautiful, the characters are engaging, and Tish Cohen is one heck of an amazing writer.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

A Bad Day For Pretty by Sophie Littlefield

A Bad Day for Pretty: A Crime Novel Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: 0312559755
Pages: 304 pgs
Genre: Mystery
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Publisher’s Description:

Stella Hardesty, avenger of wronged women, is getting cozy with Sheriff "Goat" Jones when a tornado blows none other than Goat’s scheming ex-wife, Brandy, through the front door. Adding to the chaos, the tornado destroys the snack shack at the demolition derby track, pulling up the concrete foundation and unearthing a woman's body. The main suspect in the woman’s murder is Neb Donovan---he laid the foundation, and there's some pretty hard evidence pointing to his guilt. Years ago, Neb's wife asked Stella for help getting him sober. Stella doesn't believe the gentle man could kill anyone, and she promises his frantic wife she'll look into it.

Former client Chrissy Shaw is now employed at Stella's sewing shop and she helps with the snooping as Stella negotiates the unpredictable Brandy and the dangerously magnetic sheriff.

My Review:

I think everyone comes to a point in their reading career where they want nothing more than a good mystery. This past week, I wanted to read a book that had nothing to do with Jane Austen, romance or YA. A Bad Day For Pretty was the perfect break for me.

A Bad Day For Pretty was a nice summer read. Something that I could take on my porch to enjoy. It had a very light feel to it despite the sort of dark subject matter of domestic violence and murder. This lightness is solely because of Stella. She is a funny and interesting heroine. As she unraveled the mystery, she injected humor into the story.  The other characters felt quite flat to me. I never really could get a handle on any of them. Especially Goat. First of all, his name is Goat…does that really happen in real life and if it does, can I meet this man named Goat? Other than that, I felt I missed some of the development of his character. This is probably because I missed the first book in the series and am jumping in at the middle.

I did eventually get into the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. I will have to go back and pick up the first book (A Bad Day for Sorry )

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Musing Monday (June 21st)

Name your top 2-3 favorite genres (the ones you read most from).
 I am generally an “all genre” type of person. I will read anything. That being said, I do have preferences.
Romance is one of my favorite genres. I know is sounds cheesy but there is nothing better than a good romance. I love all kinds of romance. Regencies, Westerns, Paranormal…all of them. The only ones I tend to avoid are the Thriller and Mystery romances. My birthday present to myself is 60 romance books…Stupid, I know but it’s what I want.
Young Adult is, perhaps, my favorite genre. There is so much you could do with a YA book. I tend to gravitate toward the romance and paranormal end of it but almost every YA book I have ever picked up has been good.
As always, suggestions in either of these genres are completely welcome.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sunday Salon (June 19)

I have been quite remiss lately in posting any memes. I don’t know why…laziness, ennui, procrastination. It could be any one of these things. I think one of the main ones is that I have been trying to find a new direction for this blog. I have become dissatisfied with my reviews lately. Maybe I am being overly critical of myself but I think I needed a change and needed about a week to figure it out.

Speaking of changes, I also changed back to a star rating system. The grading system worked for a while but I got bored….like usual. I made pretty blue stars to rate with during my attempt to dominate GIMP—I have been trying to make a blog button. I have been so far unsuccessful. It’s not so much the making of the button anymore but the finding of the image to use. Stock photos just aren’t working for me or maybe I am not looking in the right place.
Reviews Posted:

The Wolf Next Door-Lydia Dare

A Cottage by the Sea-Ciji Ware
Working On Review For:

A Bad Day For Pretty-Sophie Littlefield

Bride of the Wolf-Susan Krinard

Smooth Talking Stranger-Lisa Kleypas

Twilight Saga-Stephenie Meyer

Out of Eden-Beth Ciotta

The Devlin Diary-Christi Phillips
Currently Reading:

The Fire Lord's Lover-Kathryne Kennedy

The Truth About Delilah Blue-Tish Cohen

The Poison Diaries-Maryrose Wood

Anne Elliot, A New Beginning-Mary Lydon Simonsen

The Starlet-Mary McNamara

Sweet Tea at Sunrise-Sherryl Woods

A Cottage by the Sea by Ciji Ware

A Cottage by the SeaPublisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 140222270X
Pages: 544 pgs
Genre: Romance-Contemporary
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

 Publisher's Description:
One woman, one man, one shared fate...

A remote cottage on the wild coast of Cornwall sounded to Blythe Barton Stowe like the perfect escape from the pain and humiliation of recent events in her Hollywood life. But soon she seems to be reliving a centuries-old tragedy, and the handsome owner of the shabby manor house on the hill appears vitally entwined in her destiny. As they unearth one shocking family secret after another, Blythe is forced to conclude that her intriguing neighbor is more than just an impecunious British gentleman bent on saving his ancestral home. And the impeccably honorable Lucas Teague begins to see Blythe as a lifeline in an otherwise bleak existence.

But is the unbridled attraction they're experiencing a dangerous distraction, or could it be strong enough to transcend the insurmountable complexities of time and place...?

My Review:
I am a huge fan of historical fiction novels that are more than simply historical. I tend to get bored when it is that straightforward. It usually must be mixed with another genre for me to be interested for more than a couple of minutes. A Cottage by the Sea was perfect. It was a mix of historical fiction, romance and even a bit of paranormal.

Blythe Barton Stowe, a Hollywood production designer in the midst of a divorce, moves to Cornwall and becomes a tenant of Lucas Teague, a widower who was dealing with his grief and the financial issues attached to Barton Manor. Blythe and Lucas quickly form a connection both in their personal lives and well as their professional. Blythe is also granted visions of her ancestors when she touches Lucas’ family tree. She witnesses firsthand her ancestor Blythe’s (let’s call her Ye Olde Blythe, shall we?) rejection of Kit in favor of his brother Ennis and the devastation that resulted.

There were so many things that I loved about this book. I really loved most of the characters. The only ones that I wanted to slam over the head with a mallet were  Ye Olde Blythe, Ennis and Chloe. Luke and Modern Blythe were just charming and their chemistry was amazing. Ware also weaved between the two time periods really well. There were no abrupt transitions between time periods. Sometimes that can be quite jarring.  I also loved the setting.  Cornwall is one of my fantasy vacations. A Cottage by the Sea also made me want to read a Daphne du Maurier novel really badly. She is one of those authors I have always wanted to read but never have (there are many of those).
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bloggiesta Finish Line

This year’s Bloggiesta was such a good thing for me and my blog. I have read so many books this year but my ability to review has been severely lacking. During Bloggiesta, I was a little lax in posting because I was trying to remember what I read resulting in me rereading most of the books that I had already read in order to review them.

Now to the things I almost accomplished but didn’t. I drafted index pages for my review index. I have yet to put anything in them but I will.  I also compiled an author list for my Author Index but have yet to draft a page for it. I started the process of making a button but everything I make is just too plain and quite boring. I will keep working on all of these things as time allows.

Also my meme will start this Friday, so keep an eye out for it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Wolf Next Door by Lydia Dare

The Wolf Next DoorPublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402236964
Pages: 416 pgs
Genre: Romance-Paranormal-Shapeshifter
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Publisher’s Description:
They can't even be in the same room together...

Ever since their failed elopement years ago, Prisca Hawthorne has taunted, insulted, and in every way tried to push him away. If only her heart didn't break every time Lord William Westfield left her...
But staying apart is even worse...

Lord William throws himself into drinking, gambling, and debauchery and pretends not to care about Prisca at all. But when he returns to find a rival werewolf vying for her hand, he'll stop at nothing to claim the woman who should have been his all along.

Can Prisca forgive the unforgivable, or are the moon-crossed lovers going to be forced into a battle of wills that could be fatal?

My Review:
I have been raving about how awesome this series is from the moment I finished the first books. I try to avoid writing gushy, fangirl reviews for them but I just can’t help myself. I am a fangirl for this series and I must admit it and live with it. The writing is just so good and the characters are excellent. It is most definitely difficult for me not to love this series and every book in it.

I loved Priscia in the previous books. She is strong, intelligent, extremely stubborn and strong willed. She is also quite funny. He choice of wedding attire had me chuckling (and inspired) when her brothers tricked her and Will into marriage.  Will comes in a close second to Simon as my favorite brother. He is sometimes quite the blockhead when it comes to Priscia but  he means well (as most idiotic men do). He was not as gruff as Simon nor as suave as Ben but he was a nice middle ground. Oddly enough, I also liked the bad guy, too. Dashiel Thorpe was the werewolf with a control issue. He did not seem like a bad guy at all to me. As a matter of fact, I rather liked him a lot.

The one thing I loved about this book that most people will really dislike is that Priscia was really unwilling to forgive Will for most of the book.  She was a bit unreasonable when it came to Will. It was a misunderstanding and maybe she should have listened to Will but I could understand why she didn’t. I find that usually the heroine forgives the hero within two chapters and it gets really frustrating. I would have made him suffer for a bit and I expect the same of my heroines.

Needless to say, I liked this book quite a bit. It was the perfect continuation of this series and I can’t wait for the next one (about Dashiel Thorpe—I hope there will be one about Oliver as well).
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

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